Reading this story, I was instantly angered because I have been on the receiving end of this sort of negativity in the past and it can have a really negative impact on you. But, before I dive into my own feelings, let me tell you the jist of the story.
Amy, a 17 year old girl from Michigan, Detroit, recently shared a recipe in a Vegan group online for tofurky that she was super fond of. She also happens not to be vegetarian or vegan. A member of the group contacted her privately to praise her recipe and began engaging with her in a pleasant manner. After discovering that she was not a vegan or vegetarian, the pleasantries ended. Ana explained that she simply disliked the texture and flavour of actual meat and preferred the tofu / soy versions instead. This is where things get nasty.
This individual then proceeds to sling accusations and engage Ana in a very entitled and self righteous way. Accusing her of appropriating the vegan culture for her own benefit, stealing food from the people who it is intended for, and threatening to have the group remove her. She changed tune so abruptly once she discovered that Ana simply disliked meat and that it was not for ethical reasons. While I appreciate her passion I suppose, you guys know that I'm about to tear her up right?
This form of extremism is in my opinion, the reason that vegans have such a bad reputation. As I mentioned before, I've received comment from a vegan whom I believe has the right intentions, but the wrong approach. Attacking people, criticizing, insulting etc., these things work against the message you're sending. People reject opinions especially if they feel threatened or attacked, so how does this help?
Now, here's the kicker. A vegan or vegetarian or anyone who claims to care for animals, should do just that. They should care so much about animals that they recognize and celebrate ANY kind of change someone makes. Should someone decided to do Meat Free Mondays, celebrate the fact that they are leaving animals off of their plates one day a week. Someone stops wearing fur / leather, celebrate the fact that they are no longer contributing to the horrors of the industry. Someone who truly cares for animals should be jumping at the opportunity to celebrate any kind of victory.
In this case, Ana has abandoned meat in favour of tofu. Whether they're doing it for ethical reasons or not, the fact is, they're leaving animals off of their plate. This is an opportunity to politely educate. Plant the seed of why you yourself are a vegetarian / vegan. This is an opportunity to make someone feel good about their choices. Any other kind of reaction is entirely against what a real animal lover would want.
Look, what this boils down to is we must celebrate every victory if it benefits animals. Going vegan or vegetarian should make you personally happy but it should never make you feel like you can be critical of someone else. It should never make you feel like you're better than anyone. If those are the feelings you're after, you don't really care about animals at all.
What do you guys think?
Hey y'all! I'm Jonathan, and I'm the creator of the Happy Veg blog! I've been cooking now for about 8 years, and I'm obsessed with creating vegetarian recipes that everyone can make and love. I'm also obsessed with animals & travel. Thanks for visiting the blog and have a great day xo