Veganism in 9 words: “I don’t like bullies, and I don’t like assholes.”
Vegans get a bad rap.
We’re preachy, judgmental, ranting hypocrites. And we should spread our message with sweet cooing and baby talk so no one gets offended and eats three cheeseburgers out of spite.
Not today. Straight to the point.
“I don’t like assholes and I don’t like bullies.” — David Goggins
Here’s what I believe.
I believe most of us don’t like bullies and assholes. And I believe most of us don’t want to be bullies or assholes. And I’m counting on the fact that most of us would modify our behavior if we realized we were being bullies or assholes.
I believe most of us aspire to live by the philosophy expressed by Marcus Aurelius when he said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Show me that I’m wrong and I’ll gladly change.”
If you eat meat and consider yourself anti-bully and anti-asshole, this article is for you.
I have one goal: to convince you that consuming animal products makes you an asshole.
That’s probably a tall tree to climb, so let’s get going.
Modern animal agriculture is a bully’s paradise.
A schoolyard bully picks on the small, quiet kid.
A workplace bully harasses his subordinates.
That’s the thing with bullies: they suck, and they target easy victims.
I can’t think of a weaker victim than an animal bred to be docile and raised in captivity. It’s utterly defenseless. And yet, society as a whole has agreed it’s okay to torment them.
I don’t want to smash you in the neck with blood and guts. I hear that turns folks off. But I do need to explain what goes on in modern animal agriculture so you understand the severity and ugliness of the system.
Here’s where milk comes from, described as briefly, matter-of-factly, and dispassionately as I can manage:
- A cow is forcibly impregnated
- Her calf is taken from her shortly after birth to be slaughtered and sold as veal
- A machine extracts the milk from her udders
- She is impregnated again and the cycle repeats until she is too old to produce milk, at which point she is sent to slaughter
Now let me ask you a serious question: what the fuck kind of system is that?
At best, it’s horrifyingly strange. At worst, it’s sadistic and psychopathic.
Even if we ignore the extent of the suffering and death and violence, anyone responsible for maintaining this system is guilty of bullying an untold number of defenseless animals.
And for what? Because it tastes good?
But chances are, you don’t slaughter animals yourself.
Or if you do, it’s in the name of hunting where at least the animal has a fair chance to fuck off into the woods if you rustle the leaves too loudly.
And chances are, you aren’t one of the rare folks who eat only animals raised on a small family farm where the birds sing sarcastic lullabies as little Timmy bleeds out his first lamb.
If you’re like most of us — by which I mean all of us who weren’t born into a vegan family — then chances are you vote with your dollar every time you go to the grocery store and buy meat, eggs, or dairy. And here’s the box you’re ticking on that ballot:
Yes, please kill more.
You are, quite literally, giving the bully your lunch money.
You’re being the kid that giggles when some jerk smacks the books out of a scrawny child’s hands.
You’re acting like an asshole.
Cognitive dissonance can be maddening.
Especially when such a big part of your identity is challenged. Our diets and all the social rituals and routines that go along with them are a huge part of life.
Giving up the eating patterns you know may not be easy, but it is simple.
Just say no to meat, dairy, and eggs. There’s plenty of other food to explore.
And I know, I can’t make you change. I can’t make you stop eating animals. But I can implore you:
Stop supporting the status quo just because doing the right thing seems harder.
Stop eating like an asshole.