We take some of the biggest lies and misconceptions around veganism and tackle them head on
“How do you know someone is vegan?” Ho ho ho. “Don’t worry – they will tell you.” Ha ha ha. For many vegans this unfunny – and thoroughly unoriginal – joke is the bane of their existence. Partly because they have heard it a gazillion (or maybe even more) times, and partly because it simply isn’t true.
The idea that vegans somehow ‘shove’ their beliefs down everyone else’s collective throats is a common one. But just how true is it? Ok, we all know (ok, might have been) an overbearing vegan at some point. But this tends to be a short lived phase that a few people go through, and is generally fired by passion and commitment rather than a desire to put other people down.
In the main though, is it really true that vegans shove their beliefs down other people’s throats – or would it be fairer to say it is the other way round?
Look at it like this: in the five minute drive to my nearest supermarket, I am assaulted by the images of dead animals on around six billboards and bus shelters – generally in the form of adverts for burger outlets, or supermarkets. I haven’t sought out these images, and yet there they are in (in)glorious technicolour, promoting a meat-eating lifestyle and proclaiming its goodness.
Once I get into the supermarket, I usually have a quick reprieve from the animal products, as I walk round the fruit and veg. But then comes the worst aisles – the meat and dairy ones. Perhaps there is even a fresh fish counter. The corpses of sentient creatures, each one with his or her own wants, desires, and fears, literally laid out in slabs before me. It doesn’t get much better round the rest of the shop.
And I’m shoving my beliefs down your throat?
Many vegans are quite quiet about their lifestyle, I know I was when I first transitioned. I would often refuse food many times, until finally explaining why, only to be greeted with eye rolls and THAT joke.
The fact is, we are so brainwashed into thinking it’s normal to abuse and exploit animals, that not doing so is considered worthy of derision. Standing up against it is considered ‘preaching’ – in other words, if you’re disagreeing with the masses, you will often be asked to keep quiet. Perhaps it’s not that vegans are too preachy, it’s just that what they say is too uncomfortable for many people to handle.