Today, I got dragged along to a family dinner. Some idiot invited my douchebag vegan uncle, who spent half the night making condescending remarks and lecturing us on how disgusting it was to have steak on offer at the table. A fistfight eventually erupted, and the cops were called. FML
This particular “F My Life” is followed by pages and pages of interesting commentary from people (justified or not) who feel they have been offended by vegans/vegetarians trying to make them feel bad about eating meat.
This is why I haven’t figured out how to tell a lot of people, including my parents, that I stopped eating meat. Their first question will be Why did you do that?!? … and then I will have to tell them why, and I can’t figure out how to transmit that information without coming off as an overbearing asshole trying to push my belief system on them.
It’s not like I’m planning to belittle them for not having the same ideas I do, or complain that they don’t share my thoughts. If they have not arrived at the same conclusions I have about the world, that does not make them bad people. But how do I say, “I stopped eating meat because they’re torturing animals needlessly and gratuitously to get it,” without also silently implying that, since my parents have not also stopped eating meat, they are implicitly supporting that process, and are therefore bad persons?
(I like to think I’ve struck a happy balance with my husband, who still consumes the occasional meat-based nom, but recognizes that I have a point of view and that I must have put some work into it to reach it, but not all people are as copacetic as my husband.)
I’m interested in how the comments compare proselytizing vegans/vegetarians to proselytizing religious persons. I suppose they’re all belief systems, and the whole point is to be able to share one’s point of view without stuffing it down anyone’s throat (foie gras, anyone?). Hmmm.
What I find interesting though is how nonvegans don’t seem to see how meat-eating is practically forced down our throats all the time. All you have to do is turn on the TV (how many food commercials feature plant-based foods instead of animal products?), open a newspaper, magazine or grocery flyer. In one week alone my community paper can feature a pig roast, a poultry festival, and all kinds of charity-based barbecues. I literally can’t get away from meat-eating practices presented as being normal. And I’m the one forcing my beliefs?
As for your parents, maybe you could emphasize instead how you’re consuming more plants because you feel it’s better for personal health, the environment, human poverty/starvation, AND animals, rather than placing the focus on why meat is bad. Or maybe that’s just semantics?