25 May 2015

My Response To "Veganism Is a First World Luxury. There, I've said it."

I'm sure most of you have seen the Mamamia article currently doing the rounds on Facebook. It's popped up all over my feed over the past few days. Interestingly enough, I've only seen it shared by vegans who want to discuss how ridiculous it is - I haven't actually seen any posts agreeing with the author. I suppose that goes to show just how incorrect Maya's argument is.

First off, I think it's important to mention that we shouldn't get too worked up about this article. It's just one person's (uniformed) opinion. It doesn't change the fact that veganism is rapidly becoming part of mainstream culture, it doesn't change the fact that new vegan brands, stores and restaurants are popping up, it seems, each and every day.

Essentially, this article is click-bait (as many of Mamamia's articles are). It was intentionally written to stir controversy - and here I am, jumping on the bandwagon and adding more fuel to the fire. Oops!

We should take articles like this with a grain of salt. Although the writer may have been expressing her honest opinion, it's clear that the title and tone of the article were skewed towards two main audiences: vegans and 'anti-vegans'. It was written specifically to ignite maximum "share-worthiness". Vegans will share the post around to encourage other vegans to dispute Maya's claims, while 'anti-vegans' will share the post around to let everyone know just how hypocritical those crazy vegans are!

"Although the writer may have been expressing her honest opinion, it's clear that the title and tone of the article were skewed towards two main audiences: vegans and 'anti-vegans'."

And so, to reiterate: don't take click-bait articles too seriously. If you're happy to take the time to dispute this article like I am about to, go ahead, but it's also totally fine to completely ignore silly stuff like this.

Should we eat meat instead of greens because we're privileged?

Now I've got that out of the way - let's discuss the content of the article itself.

Although the tone of the article is unfairly accusing, it does hold some merit. Being able to choose what you eat is indeed a luxury. Severely impoverished people have little choice in what they eat and drink. Sometimes they must use animal products or risk death. Most of us more privileged folk, on the other hand, have the wonderful benefit of being able to choose what we eat. Now, the author of the Mamamia article seems to suggest that we should feel ashamed about our ability to choose; that we should not choose to do what we feel is right because some people don't have that privilege. Honestly, this is a really silly way to look at things. Why shouldn't we take complete advantage of the choice we have to make the world a better place?

Having enough money to make donations and enough energy to run charity marathons could also be considered "first world luxuries", but the Mamamia article conveniently makes no mention of this. Charity work certainly isn't something we should stop doing simply because we must be privileged in order to do it.

All of this tells us that Mamamia's article is simply a poor attempt to take a stab at vegans. It's a troll article, it's full of misleading information, and we shouldn't concern ourselves too much with it. And I haven't even begun to touch on the fact that the grains used to fatten up farm animals for Western consumption could instead feed the starving people of the world. But that's a different story.

Now, here's an adorable picture of a piglet to lighten the mood:

P.S: Mamamia has posted another article in response to the original post. If you're interested, find it here and please tell me what you think.