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The hostile response that vegetarians and vegans experience

I recently had lunch with a group of people including one young woman who was a vegan. She said that she often received negative, even hostile, receptions from people she worked with or others in social settings when they found out she was a vegan, even though she was not a proselytizer about it and even if she mentioned it only in passing during casual conversation and it was relevant to the conversation.

I had noticed this before. For some reason, some omnivores seem to view vegetarians and vegans as a threat to their own values and often try to convince them that meat eating is better for them. Playwright George Bernard Shaw, a vegetarian who lived a very long and healthy life, amusingly described this odd response (quoted in Bernard Shaw: His Life and Personality by Hesketh Pearson (1961), p. 171):

When a man of normal habits is ill, everyone hastens to assure him that he is going to recover. When a vegetarian is ill (which fortunately very seldom happens), everyone assures him that he is going to die, and that they told him so, and that it serves him right. They implore him to take at least a little gravy, so as to give himself a chance of lasting out the night. They tell him awful stories of cases just like his own which ended fatally after indescribable torments; and when he tremblingly inquires whether the victims were not hardened meat-eaters, they tell him he must not talk, as it is not good for him.

Some people tell vegans that human beings have evolved as omnivores and thus eating meat is ‘natural’, and that vegans and vegetarians are therefore going against nature. Others argue that a healthy diet requires some meat products, and that a vegan diet runs the risk of not providing some essential nutrients. Yet others argue that plants also have feelings and that eating them is as bad as eating meat. Yet others try to find contradictions in the vegan lifestyle, by arguing that if they are to be consistent, they should not wear leather products or use insect sprays or antibiotics, since these also harm living things.

All these arguments are unconvincing.

It is true that humans have evolved as omnivores in that our bodies are capable of extracting nutrients from animal products, but that does not mean that being an omnivore is the preferred state. Just because something occurs in nature does not automatically make it desirable. Our evolutionary history has resulted in many features (the ability to use violence to satisfy our needs, for example) that we try to suppress in the name of civilized behavior.

It is true that being a vegan requires closer attention to what one eats to make sure that all the required nutrients (such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids) are in one’s diet but these can be easily dealt with by taking supplements if one does not want to go through the bother of carefully balancing one’s meals. While some studies indicate that there can be negative health risks of a vegan diet, the consensus is that a vegetarian diet is superior to a meat-based diet for overall health.

The idea that plants are also living things that may have feelings and that vegans are hypocritical for eating them and not meat is really quite silly. The key issue is whether we are causing unnecessary suffering in other living things by using them for our purposes. Suffering requires a minimal central nervous system. Where one draws the line on what life forms can suffer is not easy but plants (and even bacteria and jellyfish) seem to not have the kind of system we think is necessary to experience suffering.

The idea that unless one is 100% consistent in one’s actions, then one should not be a vegan at all is not tenable. If the ethical goal is to minimize suffering, then the fact that a vegan wears leather shoes or kills bugs does not take away from the fact that they cause less suffering than someone who eats meat.

The arguments that vegans encounter have little merit. But what interests me is why they face this kind of gratuitous hostility at all. If people want to be vegans, why not simply let them be? After all, they are not harming anyone else. Why does it bother some meat eaters to discover a vegan in their midst?

I think that it is because we all realize deep down that when it comes to ethical behavior, the vegans (and vegetarians) clearly occupy the ethical high ground. It is more ethical to be a vegan than it is to be a vegetarian, which in turn is more ethical than it is to be an omnivore. Some of us accept this even if we do not convert to veganism.

For example, I am an omnivore. I know that I should be a vegan, or at least a vegetarian, and that it is only weakness and laziness that prevents me from overcoming my life-long addiction to a diet that includes meat. My efforts to minimize suffering are limited to merely reducing my level of meat consumption and opposing factory farming practices. I freely concede that vegans and vegetarians are doing a lot more. But others seem not to be able to accept this and feel the need to claim that they are morally equal (or even superior) to vegans and thus attack them, using the weak arguments above. I think they realize deep down that the vegans are right and it makes them feel uncomfortable to feel ethically inferior.

In some ways this is similar to why saying one is an atheist also seems to arouse antagonistic responses in some people. It could well be that deep down these people realize that atheists are right and that there is no god but cannot come to terms with it. They cannot accept, even to themselves, that there really is no reason to believe in god and that they believe in god purely for emotional reasons or out of habit or because society, at least in the US, expects one to. The presence of atheists makes them uncomfortable because it brings them face to face with a reality that they wish to suppress and so they too concoct weak arguments to justify their belief.

Comments

  1. henry says

    Prior to the development of artificial vitamins – how would a vegan get B12?

    Could a vegan develop normally (neurological development) in the 1500s for example?

  2. James says

    I don’t dispute that there are people who are rude, condescending, dismissive, and downright nasty toward vegans and vegetarians. In fact, in the career circles I was formerly a part of this kind of attitude was not rare.

    However, I think for some people that reaction is a knee jerk one in response to a negative interaction with an equally unpleasant vegetarian. There are unfortunately some vegetarians that are judgmental and condescending themselves, and they present a poor image of their philosophy and lifestyle. Usually those people are young, passionate, arrogant, and intemperate; characteristics that often come together in a package deal. I am speaking in generalities here.

    It should of course go without saying that it is irrational and stupid to stereotype any group, including vegetarians based on one or few interactions. However, people do just that. I think as vegetarianism increases in the “west,” and people interact more regularly with vegetarians, people will begin to take a more nuanced perspective.

    I’m not a vegetarian myself, however I am slowly trending that direction.

  3. Tim says

    I think the comedian Frankie Boyle summed up people’s attitude to vegetarians best

    “Yes, there is a vegetarian option, you can **** off!”

  4. says

    Mano- Thank you for this. I’ve been thinking the same thing. People don’t like to be reminded they have a choice. They are choosing, I am choosing. If someone says, “Oh, she can’t eat meat,” I correct them, “Oh I can, I just choose not to, I don’t want to mislead.” And if someone can’t accomodate me at a meal, I make sure to let them know it is my *choice* and to not feel sorry for me. I also correct people who say I do not like the taste. I can’t wait for bacon trees!
    Just like with religion, seeing that someone else has examined their choice and analyzed their reasons makes them ask themself if they should to. Most people don’t want the discomfort or effort of that. My decision to stop eating meat came after arduous and uncomfortable contemplation.
    Because like you, I realize veganism would be better but I am lazy and lacking in willpower, I do not fault those like yourself. Perhaps those I fault are those unwilling to engage in self-introspection.
    About the choice thing- I worked with a woman who walked to work at CWRU. She lived not far from me. She was saving the planet and her health. I’d inquire about how difficult it was. She said she liked it. I would rationalize to myself why I couldn’t do it. Finally one day, I found out a friend of mine walked there, too. So I started doing it myself! Saved tons of money, milelage*, and lost weight! *put on less than 5,000 per year when I walked!

  5. says

    henry,

    As I understand it, you can get all those things entirely from food if you carefully plan your meals. Supplements just makes it easier to get them.

    Most traditional cuisines taken as a whole have, over time, created those kinds of balanced meals.

  6. henry says

    Although many vegans can get enough B-12 from a carefully planned diet, at least a few people simply can’t absorb enough that way. Some of them use B-12 injections, but even that’s not fool-proof. This link:

    http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/

    is a blog post from a vegan who had to return to an omnivorous diet due to health reasons. It raised a big stir in the vegan blogosphere this past November. A followup post is here:

    http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/22/vegan-defector-talks-back/

    The gist is that this woman was a self-described ‘militant vegan’ who very carefully balanced her diet, got plenty of exercise, and ended up having horrible health issues due to B-12 deficiency. Injections didn’t help. Reverting to an omnivorous diet did.

    This inability of at least some people to absorb B-12 from even a carefully planned vegan diet probably explains why to my knowledge, no culture ever developed a purely vegan diet until the last century.
    —–

    Thanks for those links Nathan. It was my understanding that only by consuming animal products could one get B12. That is of course aside from supplements for fortified foods.

    To me, this means that up until very recently humans required animal products to develop normally. B12 is essential for neurological development and without it as an infant normal development is not possible.

    So, it appears that consuming animal products is normal.

    To be sure, there is a big difference between eating eggs on occasion or a few ounces of meat once a week and being a glutton with 8 oz hamburgers and 16 oz steaks 3 times a week.

    Aside from that, to me, I wonder if saying ‘everyone should be vegan’ is a bit elitist. While it is nice to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables not everyone in the world does. In some cultures, due to geography and climate, eating meat is a necessity.

  7. Stephen says

    @Nathan – I’ve read that you get B12 in dirt. It might have been ingested in the past simply via less clean vegetables. Nowadays everything is so sanitized you can’t get it by accident that way. Also, whether it’s just her writing style or otherwise, I have trouble believing some of what I read in voraciouseats.com.

    Aside from that, thanks Mano. I’ve often observed another analogy between the reaction of some atheists to vegans and the reaction of some Christians to atheists. In both cases, the arguments can be quite stupid–as if expressed by the dumbest rednecks in town–and the hostility quite irrational. That’s when you realize it is “lifestyle” that these people are defending, and they will defy reasoning and morality to defend it.

  8. henry says

    @Stephen

    Its my understanding that any B12 that is in *dirt* is a result of animal fesus being worked into the soil.

    You can get B12 from vegetables if they are not washed properly and an animal has left droppings on the plants. Perhaps we have become too sanitized.

    An interesting animal is the gorilla. They eat a diet that is about 99% plant. Yet, they are very large and very strong. They get their protein just fine from plants. As far as B12 they get it from ingesting any insects that happen to be on the plants as they eat them.

    One problem with the gorilla’s plant based diet is they must eat all day long. It would be impossible for them to consume enough calories if eating wasn’t their top priority. That is one benefit of meat – it is calorie dense.

  9. Amal Siriwardena says

    Mano

    Like you I am not a vegetarian or vegan.However I would like to point out that Benjamin Spock in his last edition of ‘ Baby and Child care’ advocated vegan diets( with the exception of breast milk until two years of age).

    But there seem to be serious concerns about B12. Also about whether vegan diets can be adequate during the period of pregnancy.Some people also raise issues about iron and calcium but I believe there are plenty of vegetarian sources for these. There is also the theory that making vegetable proteins equivalent to animal protein needs them to be combined in certain ways in the same meal,such as unrefined cereals with pulses or beans.

    However many traditional diets have had such combinations – chapatis and dhal in India and tortillas and beans in Latin America for instance. So maybe it is a thing people do naturally.

    The problem with anything about diets is that medical theories seem to change so much that laymen like us are never sure what to believe. We have heard so many contradictory things about coconut oil, cholesterol,polyunsaturated fats etc.

    Amal

  10. says

    Sometimes in my case, I found the non vegan is jealous about vegan’s body. Most of vegan have a slim and slender body and they are looks younger at their age. While non vegan’s body often fatty everywhere and have more wrinkles on their skin.

  11. says

    I have two step-daughters that are vegetarians, one a vegan. I don’t understand why people are rude and nasty to anyone about what they eat. I admit it took a while for me to figure out what to cook when the girls came to visit, but it really isn’t that difficult. I have done a lot of research on the topic and have determined they are eating much healthier than I am. Maybe the people that are hostile about it feel guilty for eating so poorly. I totally support my girls and I know when either one becomes pregnant, she will have a healthy baby.

  12. says

    I think it just shows how society today has little respect, whether it’s vegatarians, vegans or something else there is always someone (or a group of people) ready to ‘have a go’. In any walk of life this a shame.

  13. says

    I think the lack of respect and understanding towards vegans and vegetarians is caused by the groups of people who take up the lifestyle not out of necessity because of beliefs or health aspects, but because they are trying to be “trendy” and “different.” These faddists are the main problem society can’t take many vegans seriously.

  14. says

    I think that people are rude to vegans because maybe they dont have the will power and determination to follow a healthier lifestyle and they the resentment manifest in being rude to people that are capable of following a healthy lifestyle y choosing to be vegetarians
    http://www.thomascollado.com

  15. says

    Vegans who are honest and care about facts should know that no, you can’t get B-12 from a vegan diet. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/vitaminb12 I link to the above page because Vegan Outreach is the only veg*n group I know of who cares very highly about not spreading misinformation (unlike most advocacy groups of any cause often do.) People have stores of B-12 and thus can be healthy for a while. However, if they lose that store, it is hard to re-build, and after a long enough time, the body has issues with absorbtion. Thus, a person must supplement from the beginning.

    I am not vegan but may be one day (and was for a while- I only quit due to my own lack of will power). I don’t really care about what is natural or normal, as that is a logical fallacy. I do not look to pre-historic man or the animal kingdom for my ethics, nor does anyone else I know (unless it is convenient in some cases.)

    Crocodile’s comment may be a bot, but ironically, that’s how many people’s (even the “rationalists”) reactions are- consisting of the intelligence of a bot.

  16. says

    Wow!

    This is bordering discrimination! It is an outrage that people would discriminate against the type of food one eats, what is this world coming to.

    Joseph

  17. says

    Beautiful reading! I’m a vegetarian and often encountered this kind of behavior, I think most the people acting this way find my believes threatening and “wrong” however deep down they know I’m right. I’m what I eat.

  18. says

    Wow, it surprises me that other countries respond to vegans in a hostile manner. Here in our country, it’s ideal to be a vegetarian, as most know it is a healthier way of life.

    But yes, vegans should be more careful about getting the right nutrients in their diet, as plants don’t offer the complete array of vitamins and nutrients the body needs.

  19. says

    Great post. I think being a vegan differs from person to person. There are vegans who still consumes meat and poultry from time to time while others really consumes 100% vegetables. Whether it’s good for the body or not, it still depends on how each individual body will react to an all meals vegan.

  20. says

    Good read, I’m not a vegitarian either, but can’t help but think “ialove” above has some very valid points and may be very true. I’ll need to re-look at my diet as I’m pregnant now and want the best for my baby

  21. says

    I love this age old argument. I am a vegetarian, and I hate the people that put me down for my choice. It’s my body, my choice why are you telling me I am stupid! Some people don’t eat mushrooms, others don’t like cheese.

    I don’t like meat, step off! Geez!

  22. Mary Jo says

    Hi Mano. I became a vegetarian when I got my first dog, about 12 years ago. Looking into his big brown eyes made me feel I could no longer eat animals. But after about 6 years I returned to being an omnivore, and I do feel more energetic with meat in my diet. I still feel really sorry for the animals I eat. I eat meat that is certified to be humanely raised and slaughtered by the Humane Farm Animal Care organization. I have been really mocked about this because, of course, suffering is still involved. http://www.certifiedhumane.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=226&cntnt01returnid=15

  23. says

    Mary Jo,

    Thanks for the links to food suppliers that practice humane practices.

    I think that people who mock you because you are not 100% ‘pure’ are deeply misguided and you should ignore them. Peter Singer, an ethicist and vegan and considered the founder of the animal rights movement, has a sensible take on this issue that I will write about next week. (I am a little overwhelmed with work this week!)

  24. says

    I have eaten a vegan diet on and off for the last few years in order to manage symptoms from a chronic illness. I’ve observed that when I tell people I don’t eat meat due to health issues, they are more accepting than if I just say I don’t eat meat.

    However, I’ve rarely had an encounter with someone who was rude or disparaging about my vegan diet. Maybe it’s because I live in a town where veganism is common, but mostly people are encouraging and say things like, “I wish I had that willpower.”

    The thing is, many people eat a vegan diet for religious reasons, so I find it disturbing that anyone would react negatively to it in the first place.

  25. says

    Good read,Great post. I think being a vegan differs from person to person who mock you because you are not 100%

  26. says

    Isn’t it funny how prejudice comes out in people for the littlest things? Just because you don’t happen to eat something that they do, they feel the need to try to convince you to eat it too. For me it’s a little different; I am a buddhist and while that is not the reason why I am a vegetarian, people assume it is for religious beliefs and/or reasons. Which is just fine by me.

  27. says

    Mano, I just returned from a trip to Alberta where Edmonton has become the mosquito capital of the country because of the intense rains and cool weather. On the news they were talking about natural preventions that people can use to prevent mosquito bites. They mentioned loading up with vitamin B. And avoiding high fat diets. They implied on the news that bugs were attracted to you based on diet. Have you heard of this or was it based on old wives tales?

    I’ve been doing research on natural remedies for mosquitoes and your article was listed in Google. If you have any information from your research on the vegan diet and if it can be used to protect from insects, I would appreciate an email. Thanks, Dave.

    p.s. I wonder if critics would change their tune if it could be proven that vegans get bitten less. Perhaps the skeptics would say its because they taste different, or worse?

  28. says

    Dave,

    I am afraid that I did not run into any articles on that topic. Following your query, I did find one scientific article that did not find any support for the Vitamin B hypothesis.

    I am originally from Sri Lanka which is highly mosquito infested. I have noticed that when I return there, although I do get bitten, I get bitten less than other members of my family. I have no idea why. It cannot be the diet since we eat the roughly same food, though particular ingredients or slight variations might be important.

    Maybe I just tolerate it more. Or maybe the hair on my arms and legs makes it harder to the mosquito to reach the skin.

    Of course, all this is purely guesswork on my part..

  29. says

    Very interesting observations. I think this is part of a human psychology where we tend to see ourselves as normal and others who are different as strange or even downright weird … that’s why most omnivores would consider vegans to be very strange … i must admit i i used to think like that in my younger days but have since grown a tad wiser.

    Cheers,
    gillian

  30. says

    I’ve never understand the response people have to vegans. I guess its the kill em and grill em culture we live in. One can live without high fats and high protein to be healthy.

  31. says

    I tried to be vegan for a period of time, but when I found out I was pregnant, it was too hard to stay within the boundaries. I’m sure there are many vegan pregnant women out there. I guess it just wasn’t for me.
    Kudos to those women!
    ~joojoo

  32. says

    Mano,
    I agree that vegans sometimes draw some strange comments but I do think attitudes are changing as more an more people are adopting this lifestyle. It is not as “odd” as it once was, I think. Thanks for a good read!

  33. Anonymous says

    Good piece. One thing that people don’t realise is how little meat people used to eat in the past.

    For instance, when I tell them that pizza was originally cheeseless and meatless, people don’t believe it. They think vegan pizza is weird, but it is American pepperoni pizza smothered in oily cheese that is the deviation!

    I want to suggest to you, however, that presently, atheists are the ones with hostile reactions to religious people, even to the point of persecuting and ridiculing people because they believe in a being greater than themselves. Because they “dost protest too much” these days, I wonder if it is because many atheists really believe deep down inside that there is a reality beyond the material world that our feeble human bodies can only dimly perceive?

  34. says

    I do believe that omnivores see vegans/vegetarians as a threat to their own values, and although I am not a strict vegetarian, many of my friends are, and I encounter this “hostility” quite frequently. I do however also encounter an unhealthy dose of self righteousness emanating from lot of vegans/vegetarians.

  35. P Smith says

    Excuse the tone of the words, I was *not* angry when I wrote it. I had to edit to get under 2000 characters.

    ———-

    “All these arguments are unconvincing.”

    So is your argument. It is predicated on the last hundred years being the normal state of affairs, not the 250,000 before it. When oil runs out (and along with it artificial fertilizers, medicine and other things made from oil) human life expectancy will decline from starvation and disease. Farmland lost to global warming is but one of our coming problems.

    Humans have evolved little in 10,000 years from gatherer-hunters. The illnesses you mention only appeared as life expectancy increased due to medicine, industrialization and an increased food supply. You’re falsely attributing the blame to meat.

    The only valid complaint about meat consumption is the depersonalization of killing animals. Until the last 100 years, people had to slaughter animals themselves. If this were made mandatory again, you’d see a BIG dropoff in consumption.

    Vegetarians can be defined as three types: 90%, 9% and 0.9% vegetarians. The 90% say “I’m a vegetarian” and I have no problem with them. I’ll even go out of my way to accomodate them (e.g. noting vegetarian restaurants).

    The 9% say “I’m a vegetarian, and you should be too”. The 0.9% are nutbags who say “I’m a vegetarian, you should be too”, and then taint or destroy other people’s food. “Hostility to vegetarians”? Never seen it, but I have seen hostility and passive-aggressive behaviour and violence FROM vegetarians.

    Vegetarians can be as inconsiderate and rude as they claim omnivores are. I’m allergic to soy beans, yet vegetarians I have told or who have seen me react to food containing it STILL tell me to eat it. Unless they are willing to clean up my vomit and take me to a hospital if necessary, they are morons for offering, and those who try to make me eat it deserve to be slapped. Hard.

    .

  36. says

    P. Smith – As a (non-proselytizing) vegetarian, I’d like to respond to a couple of your comments.

    “You’re falsely attributing the blame to meat.” – Have a look at Dan Buettner’s work on so-called Blue Zones, where people live significantly longer (and better-quality) lives than the average. One of the common factors among these disparate groups was minimal or no meat consumption.

    “The only valid complaint about meat consumption is the depersonalization of killing animals.” – I’m not sure how broadly you mean this, but on its face this appears to be a purely anthropocentric concern for what killing animals does to the human killers, such as desensitizing them to violence. And while that is most definitely a problem, the overarching issue is, lest we forget, what killing animals does to animals.

    And it’s not just the killing. One of the main reasons why I returned to vegetarianism (with an occasional exception for fish) is the way animals in modern, industrialized “agriculture” live. In many cases, the conditions are quite literally hellish, as bad or worse than anything Hitler did to the Jews. All of this suffering is completely unnecessary, and I am continually amazed at animal lovers who turn a blind eye to treatment they would never allow for their pets.

    But that is not all. There is an immensely powerful environmental case for vegetarianism, especially if homo sapiens is going to insist on bursting through the seven-billion barrier on the way to nine billion plus. Raising crops to feed animals reared solely for meat is horribly inefficient, uses a tremendous amount of fresh water, and pollutes waterways with waste, to say nothing of methane emissions.

    As for the nutritional completeness of a vegetarian diet, it has never been easier. So many non-meat alternatives are well-fortified with the B12 and calcium that can be tricky. Having said that, traditional oriental cuisine includes fermented soybean products (I realize they might not work for you specifically) like tempeh and miso which do contain B12. Protein is not nearly as complicated as people used to think. Frances Moore-Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet, recanted her initial advice to combine protein sources once she realized how well the body could do without such combinations. I personally still combine proteins and feel more satisfied afterward, but it’s not essential.

  37. says

    My cousin just started being a vegan last month and says she feels a lot better. I think we need to just avoid most red meats and get as much enzymatically alive nutrition as possible.
    NIH – John Hopkins School of Medicine – Army Corps and hundreds of others agree with me. Check it out.

  38. P Smith says

    One paragraph at a time:

    1) People living longer lives is the problem. It means more mouths to feed as well as more people screwing and producing more kids. Longer lives is the last thing we need.

    2) No, you got it wrong. People started eating more meat in the 20th century, including fast food, because they never had to kill the animals themselves. And since you equate it to killing people, compare it to soldiers killing each other – it’s something no civilian has experience with and is never forced to confront.

    3) Industrialized farming is obscene, but comparing it to the Nazis is ludicrous and make it hard to take your opinion seriously.

    4) Yes, I know all about the waste of meat, such as rainforests producing far more consumable nuts than the same land could with cows. Individual consumption needs to be reduced dramatically. As I said, I live in Taiwan, and the obscenity and waste of “shark fin soup” (it requires killing one baby shark per bowl) is even beginning to bother the Chinese.

    5) You’re making the same mistake as our blogger, assuming 20th century technology is the normal way of being. The party is over, people just don’t know it yet. If the Earth survives at all, it will be after inevitable mass die-offs of 1-2 billion people in the next century. It’s not when, it’s how:

    – wars over food
    – starvation from a lack of artificial fertilizer
    – disease from pollution and a shortage of medicines
    – euthanasia
    – limits on reproduction

    Only the last one is painless, but nobody wants to be first to do it. The population will never reach nine billion before one or more of those events happens. As best, we’ll return to agrarian life and local living, as we did before the industrial revolution.

    .

  39. says

    “Longer lives is the last thing we need.”

    Looks like we might both have difficulty being taken seriously!

    You accused Mano of “falsely blaming” meat for damaging human health, yet in attempting to redirect the meaning of Dan Buettner’s research you implicitly admit that vegetarianism does contribute to longer lives. And well you should, for the data are overwhelming.

    We are not a million miles apart in our concern for the viability of the ecosystem, but you seem to be willing to accept suffering on a colossal scale as a necessary price for restoring balance. While the crises you predict are indeed quite likely, I prefer to envision a future in which a dramatically smaller human population chooses to live in harmony with nature. That does not necessarily mean returning to some kind of paleolithic lifestyle in which life is as Thomas Hobbes described it – nasty, brutish, and short.

    I do not expect many people in our society to view animal suffering the same way I do, but I wish they would. In my book, a key component of moral behavior is how one treats other sentient beings that are not able to defend themselves. We fail that test spectacularly every time a front-end loader full of unproductive male chicks deposits its contents alive into a grinder to make fertilizer. My Holocaust analogy is only far-fetched to those who place human suffering on an exalted plane above the suffering of other living things, as you – and most of American society – clearly do.

    Ironically, the kind of morality I espouse here would go a long way to protecting the planet you seem to care about, and would help prevent many of the calamities you predict. I am therefore rather puzzled by your unwillingness to recognize vegetarianism as part of the solution.

  40. says

    You’re making the same mistake as our blogger, assuming 20th century technology is the normal way of being. The party is over, people just don’t know it yet. If the Earth survives at all, it will be after inevitable mass die-offs of 1-2 billion people in the next century. It’s not when, it’s how:

    – wars over food
    – starvation from a lack of artificial fertilizer
    – disease from pollution and a shortage of medicines
    – euthanasia
    – limits on reproduction

    Only the last one is painless, but nobody wants to be first to do it. The population will never reach nine billion before one or more of those events happens. As best, we’ll return to agrarian life and local living, as we did before the industrial revolution.

  41. says

    Very interesting discussion. I live in a farming community. I very very rarely have been on the receiving end of a nasty glance, derogatory comment or other. Mind you, when I am offered something, I don’t say “no thanks I don’t eat animals”. I simply say “no thanks”. “I am a vegetarian” to me is as much me as “I am a woman”. I don’t feel the need to announce either. It just is…

    As soon as you say “I am…” you become different from the people who aren’t, and people feel judged or annoyed. It’s like if someone asked if you want to grab the bus downtown… you don’t say “No thanks.. I’m rich.” :-)

  42. says

    Well people from vegans because may be they don’t have will power and determination to follow a healthier lifestyle.
    Always follow 1 thing
    Eat Less and Exercise More.

  43. says

    I have seen both sides of this. Unfortunately, some vegans and vegetarians are very hostile towards meat eaters, and vice versa. As long as people do what they feel is the best for them, and reserve judgement, than I’m fine with it.

  44. says

    Great article! It’s annoying how the non-vegetarians or non-vegans treat us like something strange and to be avoided. BUT in reality they are the strangers who are so used to have so many health problems. Thank you for puting some light in this subject.

  45. says

    I believe that when it comes to diet or religion for that matter it should be a persons choice they make for themselves period! That’s why I feel blessed to live in the United States where we have these freedoms.
    Although, we still have people like the ones mentioned above that just don’t like the choices we make and will let you know about it. However, you have done the same thing with your comments about atheists, and saying that being a vegan is somehow more ethical is absurd! What we can take away from this is everyone has their own set of lenses they decide to see the world through. And they are all different in some way based on their own experiences and beliefs.
    We just need to become more aware of our pushing our own beliefs upon others in the name of “we are right and you are wrong”

  46. says

    Hello
    Great blog with high quality content you put in this blog. Thank you…
    Because of my health problem (skin and heart), i totaly reduse ordinary food (meet food). Now i’am vegeterian 9 months. Yes, i know. I’am still green if you ask me for vegeterian food. But for now, i have great results. My state of health of the skin and heart condition, the repair of 100%. Still, because I am not a good cook, I have a problem with a vegetarian diet. Actually, I have no knack for cooking. For the sake of health, I made ??a great cross and I do not regret it. For all those who want to go vegetarian for any reason more than recommend to do it gradually, in agreement with what connoisseurs, or even with your doctor. This is only because you do not know how it will respond to your body if you stop eat the meat, overnight.
    Great blog with great content. Thank you for this blog.
    Beautiful greeting
    Mark

  47. says

    Great article! It’s annoying how the non-vegetarians or non-vegans treat us like something strange and to be avoided. BUT in reality they are the strangers who are so used to have so many health problems. Thank you for puting some light in this subject,
    Thanks to everyone for your great articles & Merry Christmas xxx

    Webmaster of Kitchenaid Artisan 5 Qt Mixer

  48. says

    One thing I have actually noticed is that there are plenty of myths regarding the banking companies intentions any time talking about foreclosed. One myth in particular is always that the bank would like your house. The lender wants your hard earned cash, not your home. They want the cash they loaned you together with interest. Preventing the bank will undoubtedly draw some sort of foreclosed realization. Thanks for your posting.

  49. says

    Hi Mano,

    Great article. It seems these days it’s almost fashionable to be very different, a vegan lifestyle included. I’m not sure where there is hostility, but the yuppie metropolitan community is very accepting of people who choose this lifestyle. The drawback to being vegan is the limited choices in menus at popular places. That too will change one day soon.

    Thanks for a great read!

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