I have to say that in general I dislike vegans. I have a friend who is currently a vegan for health reasons, and I am OK with that. The Jains in India don’t bother that much either. But other than those two exceptions, I have major beef with vegans (pun intended).
My roomate in college was a vegan. It never bothered me that she didn’t want to eat meat, or cheese or dessert. She can have all the veggie patties she wants in the D-Hall. But what I hated was that she had to preach about her way of life, and act as if me and my meat eating friends were evil people. I don’t need you to hand me fliers in my dorm room about how cruel chickens farms are. I mean let’s be serious- that chicken is getting his neck sliced whether he is free-range or caged. Is there really a humane way to kill a chicken?
I don’t eat certain meats. For example, I don’t eat veal because when I was younger I disliked the fact that the baby cows were tied up and forced to eat. Now that I am an adult, I never really developed an appetite for it so I just stay away. Similarly, I don’t eat lamb because when I was young, I thought they were cute and frankly, now I just can’t digest it. But I never and would never judge someone for eating them. I would never act pompous and get offended if someone dares to eat a rack of lamb or veal chop in front of me. If you’ve ever eaten with a vegan though, they make you feel bad every time you bite into the flesh of another animal. Jeeze, sorry I eat food with iron in it.
I work in a research lab and I work with an extremely different cross-section of the general population. There are some college students and artists that want extra money and they tend to be normal. There are professional “guinea pigs” as they call themselves, whose only profession is to complete research study after research study to get paid. They tend to be the most dramatic and eccentric and usually the closest to full blown crazy. Then there are the vegans. I don’t know why we attract so many vegans, but most of them don’t have “real” jobs which has somehow become synonymous with vegan culture itself. Ordering food for them drives me insane. Tofurkey slices, vegan creamcheese, smartdogs, Tofutie-Cuties!?!?! Here is the thing. If you want to be a vegan, you should eat natural things like fruits and vegetables and water. You shouldn’t be eating everything that is an imitation of the real thing. If you don’t want to eat dairy, don’t buy creamcheese. If you don’t want to eat meat, don’t eat imitation meat. Do you know why vegans continually create imitation meat and dairy products? Oh, it turns out humans are omnivores and your brain is craving animal products!
One of our vegan subjects has also made it apparent that she doesn’t believe in medicine or medication. Again, not a big deal. If you don’t want to go to a doctor or take medicine, that is fine with me. We are saving resources for people who do. However, she is in her early 20’s and healthy. It is pretty easy for any healthy twenty year old to reject modern medicine. However, she had to take it a step further and insult the staff in my office, most of whom are pursuing degrees in a medical field or jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. Veganism should be renamed judgmentalism.
The only thing more outrageous than a vegan, is a freegan. I completely support the underlying ideal of the freegans- to “embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.” We waste an enormous amount of food in the US in our supermarkets, our restaurants and even our homes. But dumpster diving? Seriously? I am not sure how that solves anything. My best friend used to live with a freegan. He didn’t shower or wash his clothes often, he worked three days a week and dumpster dove on the side. Sure boxed cereal might be ok and wrapped cheese or something. The problem was that he came home with spoiled milk, expired meat and fish, unwrapped fruits and vegetables that had been soaking in the juice of expired animal flesh, and of course roaches. The cockroaches and mice eventually became a problem, but of course, because he is freegan, mouse traps were not allowed. I went out to eat with him once and he refused to order anything from the restaurant. Fine. But then he made my friend order him a glass of wine and pay for it, and he returned the cash to her at the apartment. What exactly did he accomplish just then? He still bought a glass of wine whether he wants to admit it or not. It’s these irrational principles that drive me bananas. And what is with not showering? Does smelling clean hurt animals?
Modern veganism is a fad. It’s something cool to do in college or when playing the part of a hipster artist. It is NOT a sustainable way of life. My college roomate who preached to me everyday about the benefits of veganism finally caved in a few years later. The trigger? A delicious, succulent, juicy cheeseburger. I couldn’t be happier if I had eaten that cheeseburger myself.