Vegetarianism is not enough

When people find out that I’m vegan, I will sometimes get one or two of them proudly telling me that they’re vegetarian because they think eating animals is cruel “too”. I can’t help but return a blank look and move the conversation along to another subject, but I do clock their expression. They expected commendation. They expected my eyes to widen not narrow. They expected to become best friends forever with that one utterance.

Yup - that's pretty much my expression.
Yup – that’s pretty much my expression.

What’s worse? Ethical vegetarians or belligerent meat eaters?

I would say the former. I am of course focusing on the principle here, not the act. Of course I’m much happier to know someone doesn’t eat meat but the thing that makes it all worse for me is that ethical vegetarians have awareness. They’re aware that it’s insanely cruel to kill an animal that wanted to live. Meat eaters at least don’t preach a moral high ground. They either don’t care or they don’t know any better because…why would they?

I’m talking from somewhat of a place of experience. I gave up meat for ethical reasons and thought I was the shit. But the moment I learnt what happens in the dairy and egg industries I realised that it was quite ridiculous to be an “ethical vegetarian” if I’m still chugging back milk and eating Eggs Benedict at every brunch. So I immediately went vegan. I haven’t seen any of my vegetarian friends do the same in light of the new information they acquire.

The dairy and egg industries are way more cruel than the pure meat industry

If you eat eggs and dairy you are still very much funding the meat industry. There’s no moral high ground as a vegetarian. You are still participating directly in some of the worse cruelty on the planet. In fact, I’d rather someone ate meat than dairy or eggs. Those two last industries are arguably worse than the meat industry, though they are all essentially one, of course. But at least in the meat industry, animals come in and are killed. In the dairy and egg industries, animals come in, or are born into it, then live in terrible fear, pain and trauma for as many years as they can manage to hold out and then they’re killed.

So ethical vegetarians – stand up for what you claim to believe in. Veganism is the only way to be guilt-free and not be, quite frankly, a massive hypocrite.

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