While vegans get veganism, there are an awful lot of rumours and accusations that swirl around it, unfortunately fanned by a sizeable number of non-vegans. From automatic protein deficiency through to bizarre claims about daffodils having feelings or how cows are really itching to become our despotic bovine over-lords if they’re not killed. However, one that especially jumps out? That vegans are somehow “extreme.”
Extreme is of course a word that comes with powerful meaning. Extreme, for example, could be applied to any number of totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century that killed hundreds of millions of innocent beings. And then we have those that prefer tofu to meat. Pol Pot and Josef Stalin were extreme. In contrast, consuming kale burgers really isn’t at all genocidal. Not even a bit.
Here’s the thing, there is a quote floating around out there that goes:
“Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”
Now, this article is not meant to portray a “them and us “adversarial stand-off between vegans and non-vegans. However, there really is a kernel of truth in the suggestion. That there is any equivalency between the 72 billion animals exploited and killed every year (that works out at 3,000 a second) for human consumption, and choosing seitan and oat milk instead, is tragically laughable.
Animal exploitation and slaughter entails inherent violence and death by any definition. (Humane slaughter is a non-starter – why not have compassionate mugging, or thoughtful assault?) Violence is always extreme. Non-violence, following that logic, has to be not extreme. And non-violence is at the heart of veganism.
There is good reason that slaughterhouses are hidden away and why the meat, dairy and egg industries are so clandestine in what they do. They are purveyors of extremism. Veganism is an absence of that extremism -something that vegans should be extraordinarily proud of.