Monday, 3 October 2016

Veganism and Me

I promised that I would write a short post about my stance on veganism, and now seems like as good a time as any - here goes!

In the past I have been confronted about the fact that I buy cruelty free beauty products but do not eat in a cruelty free manner. I've always brushed this off by saying that makeup is a choice and food is a necessity, which I still believe in, but the truth is that it is much more complex than that. Also I am planning on phasing in veganism when I move out, so please bare in mind that I want to transition to a completely cruelty free lifestyle in the near future!!

Firstly, veganism is a privilege. It relies on your being able to afford the supplements you need (whether those are in pill form or by buying the food alternative) to maintain a healthy diet. Vegan food alternatives (ie, vegan cheese, vegan milk, vegan meat alternatives) can be significantly more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts, too. It also takes a lot of time to unlearn a lifetime of non-vegan cooking, too. All of this implies that you don't have health conditions that require you to eat certain foods, too (ie, my vegetarian friend would struggle with veganism because he also has a nut allergy).

However, I also understand that you don't need to buy non-vegan alternatives to meat and cheese products. You can get buy on a range of vegetables, pulses, etc. If you go down this route, though, you then need to take the time to learn to cook dishes that are filling enough and nutritionally suitable - unlearning a lifetime of eating habits is incredibly hard.

Neither of these really explain why I'm not vegan, though. Partly it is because I still live at home and my Mum buys my food and cooks my meals. We eat meals as a family most of the time and it is difficult to have two cooks in the kitchen cooking two meals to be served at the same time - and I'm not going to force my family into veganism because I think it's the right thing to do. I'm also not going to ask my Mum to add more money onto her food bill because of a choice I'm making. When I move out I fully intend to transition into full vegtarianism, followed by veganism.

I also don't believe the same cruelty free argument applies to food as it does to make up. Of course I believe animal suffering is wrong, but I personally make a distinction between animal suffering and animal death. I also hugely disagree with the anthropomorphism of animals that exists in the vegan community - they are not humans and although I don't think that means they should be treated with less respect I also think they don't share our same range of emotions. What's more, humans do naturally eat meat. It's why we have incisors.

However, I do think that the way we consume meat and dairy is very wrong and highly destructive to our planet. In short,  I would turn vegan for environmental reasons rather than ethical ones. This would mean having a much looser view on veganism than most, as I would bend my veganism to eat eggs sourced from my neighbours garden and to eat rabbit, elk, and other such animals that have their population regulated by hunting. This would mean me being 100% vegan 95% of the time.

I know that this is probably going to be fairly controversial (and my opinion might well change in the future) but at the moment this is where my opinion stands.

What do you think about veganism? Any opinions on my stance would be greatly appreciated - abusive comments will not be. You can find me on twitter @vickimaitland for a chat on any of the blogs I post!

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