4 Sep 2014

Vegans Don't Deserve Respect: Here's Why







(Thank you to Connie Pugh and Farm Sanctuary for the photo.)

Okay, let me start off by eating my own words. Vegans, as people, do deserve respect. Of course they do. In actuality, what I mean is - vegans deserve the basic level of respect that we, as compassionate people, should offer to every single inhabitant of this planet. Vegans do not deserve respect, however, on the sole basis that they are vegan. If you switch to veganism, you do not automatically warrant greater respect. Veganism isn't about that. It isn't about us, it's about the animals. 
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I often hear an argument from non-vegans stating that they respect our vegan lifestyle, therefore we should respect their non-vegan lifestyle. Unfortunately for the people who use such arguments, veganism doesn't work that way. As vegans, we do not ask for a greater amount of respect, nor do we deserve it. All we ask is that animals receive the basic amount of respect that all of earth's creatures deserve - that is, they should reserve the right to live satisfying lives free from harm and suffering.


"As vegans, we do not ask for a greater amount of respect, nor do we deserve it. All we ask is that animals receive the basic amount of respect that all of earth's creatures deserve"

This also means that non-vegans don't deserve respect solely for eating animal products. There is a common misconception among many non-vegans and vegans alike that vegans are somehow better people. That is generally far from the truth. You can be a shitty person and be vegan. You can be a respectable person and be non-vegan. It's our actions that warrant how much respect we deserve, not our non-actions. Veganism is a non-action, as it essentially involves (at its most basic form) doing nothing more than the bare essentials needed to survive - eating, sleeping and pooping. Literally, all you have to do to be classed as vegan is stop using animal products. You're actually doing less than you did before! It's for a fantastic cause, don't get me wrong - but it's not a respectable action. 

Actions warrant respect because they involve committing time, money or effort into a specific cause - this could be anything from speaking out against a criminal to traveling overseas to build a school. These actions do warrant respect. Veganism, however, involves nothing more than following the moral baseline. All it means is that you have recognised that animals shouldn't suffer, and you've done the most basic thing you can to stop it from happening. Now, that is a fantastic thing to do. I am always thrilled to bits whenever I hear about the advancements in veganism... but I am happy for the animals (and for the underpaid, overworked farm employees that will also benefit), not for the vegans themselves.

Do it for them, not for yourself
This isn't to say that vegans aren't good people. The majority of them are beautiful, compassionate individuals with hearts of gold, who go above and beyond to make a difference in the world. All I am saying is that veganism does not automatically warrant respect, and nor does non-veganism. I'm not going to respect a non-vegan for doing essentially nothing, and I don't expect any respect back. If somebody wants to respect me, they can respect me for my actions, for the real efforts I have made. Veganism is effortless. It's not difficult, it doesn't require strong willpower, all it requires is an understanding of the moral baseline: all creatures deserve to live in peace.

 "Stop asking me to respect you for being non-vegan. You haven't really done anythingDon't ask me for respect, because I don't ask for any from you."

So, stop asking me to respect you for being non-vegan. You haven't really done anything. Don't ask me for respect, because I don't ask for any from you. If you want to be respected, do something. Make an effort, use the tools you have available to make a real difference. You have a voice - say something powerful. You have hands - write something powerful. You have ears - listen to something powerful. All of this involves action, and if it's for a good cause, it all warrants my respect.

Thank you for reading, and thank you so much to the people out there who truly care. My biggest thank you goes out to all of the world's beautiful animals, for giving me a genuine goal and purpose - to save their lives.



[Image courtesy of Nicholas Tarling @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net]