Since I went vegan, it’s become the first thing about me that anyone but my true friends comment about, whether it’s asking how it’s going, or telling me they saw vegan parma ham at the local grocery store. I used to be cool with it, but that was in the early days when it was a novelty to me too. It’s getting old now. Really old. I started wondering why it was such a topic of discussion more than a year down the line and I put it down to that ‘it’s so extreme’ perception. It has to be. And it doesn’t help that I’m alone in being the only ethical vegan in the vicinity. I’m the freak.
But isn’t calling veganism extreme a cheap shot?
Let’s break it down. Vegans simply do not want another sentient being to suffer for their plate, their wardrobe or their vanity. We live in a day and age where there is literally no need for any human-caused animal suffering. Now, does that really sound extreme? Doesn’t it sound more extreme to take an animal’s skin to make some shoes when there is a wealth of other materials that didn’t used to be the organ of a living creature? Doesn’t it sound extreme to bring animals into the world for the sole purpose of killing them? Doesn’t it sound extreme to rape a cow, steal the baby and take the milk it needs all for a drink we don’t need or a foodstuff that gives us cancer?
And even if we’re talking about vegans that are only vegan for health. Is it really extreme to just want to trim the rubbish out of your diet based on overwhelmingly solid scientific evidence that these products cause everything from diabetes to heart disease?
What people think is extreme is the idea that someone can totally cut yummy stuff (bacon) out of their lives. It’s almost inevitable that this will get the biggest “oh you’re so extreme” reaction and the associated, “you’re really missing out” type comments.
Being vegan is not extreme. It’s the least extreme you can be. No living creature gets traumatised, tortured or slaughtered for our lifestyle. What is extreme is the reaction we get from guilt-ridden or ignorance-ridden non-vegans.