Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Anti-Vegan Movement (My latest Channel24 cloumn)

I've honestly been taken aback at how people have reacted to @GrantNash's choice to be vegan. So much so, I got a column out of it: 

I'm going to sporadically slot it "I’m not a vegan" in this post. Just to remind you.

Some would say "vegan is all the rage" at the moment, suggesting that veganism, like Atkins, is some kind of diet fad that will fade with time. Vegetarianism certainly didn’t. Much like religion, I'm not really 'bovvered' what your preferences are, as long as you don’t expect me to agree.

 [I'm not a vegan]

My colleague, Grant Nash, is a very dedicated and genuine vegan – upon which I shall later elaborate. Since he switched over, first to meat-free Mondays, then to vegetarianism, and finally to full-on vegan, the response to his lifestyle choices has fascinated me.

We meat-eaters seem to violently defend our omnivorous choice against vegans, as vigilantly as Catholics resisted the push of the Protestant church. We start spurting out obvious reasoning, like, "animals were put there to eat", "where do you get protein from?" and "you shouldn’t need to take supplements for your vitamins!" When we all really know the truth is that vegans put far more thought into what goes into their bodies than we do. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t have a bloody clue what we’re shovelling into our gobs. And we don’t care. As long as we’re not fainting or vomiting afterwards, we just consume.

 [I'm not a vegan]

It’s the manner in which I’ve seen people react to Grant’s choices, particularly on Twitter, that got me thinking about this at all. They get REALLY ANGRY. And they really don’t like that he’s made this choice. It seems, to them, that his choice to not eat meat is somehow betraying "the natural order", and thereby threatens the meat-eater's way of life. We meat eating folk do love our vleis. I can’t imagine a world without bacon, fillet and biltong. Another truth is that the vegan’s ideal is indeed to do just that – stop our dependence on mass-produced meat products. So maybe the die-hard meat fans should be resisting Grant and his fellow vegans like an invading army. 
Click here for the full column, and to comment.