Vegan News UK: Vegans & Their Guilt by Laura Tomlinson

Vegan News UK: All the latest news and views from our guest blogger, Laura Tomlinson.

A topic of conversation that I have been privy to over the past few weeks is that of vegans and their guilt. In my mind, truthfully, mostly irrationally-induced guilt. Perhaps that sounded a little harsh? Well, let me explain my reason for classing it as such: it is irrational simply because unless we have done something within the realms of veganism that would go against our code of morals, such as bathing in cow puss for example, then why should we feel an excess of guilt at all?

The guilt I can feel is no different to the guilt that any person would experience when seeing the dark side of dairy, or the murderous meat industry, in its full blood and gore. Simply put: the shock that a person feels when they realise true injustice, as well as their participation in it, for the first time. You want to scream and shut your eyes and wait for the screen to go black and the credits to roll and for the production to end. But it doesn’t. It can’t. It won’t. And perhaps this is what the majority of vegans struggle with day in, day out; the knowing that this situation isn’t going away this year, or next, I’m sure not even in our lifetimes. In this sense I understand how easy it is to feel guilty for bearing witness to this reality, in some form or another, every-single-day for the rest of your life.

One the other hand, it honestly gets my goat when these same good hearted, compassionate and empathetically driven individuals look so utterly remorseful for not doing more. Consider for a moment that the vast majority of the UK population are still in the “but bacon” mindset. That close to the entire population of the planet eat meat, drink dairy, use cosmetics and pop pills tested on animals. By comparison I think that vegans have much less to feel guilty about. Apart from being so awesome that is! This I am afraid we cannot help.

I had to engage with an individual of the ignorant kind at the weekend in fact, who literally started the insults a-flowing in my direction the moment that he overheard me ordering my vegan brunch. Now, in fairness, he was well within his rights to judge me for being the kind of person who engages in such pretentious sounding activities as ‘brunch’. But to lay into a perfect stranger based on their personal food choices came across a lot like, well, what a vegan is supposed to do!  

Regardless of the individual experiencing guilt and its cronies: remorse, sadness, listlessness, emotional fatigue – and taken to its logical emotional conclusion – depression, or depressive like thinking; it doesn’t motivate as much as it incapacitates. If these feelings are your driving force for promoting the vegan message, then I am afraid that you will struggle as soon as you step outside of our online community and recognise a simple truth: that most people (men in particular) who aren’t already vegan-inclined, do not outwardly appear to give a flying fook about the cause.

Inwardly speaking can be, of course, a very different story. However, the average straight (thus normally emotionally confused young man) can’t be seen to be looking all compassionate and shit in our ‘dog eat dog’ world. In the eyes of that kind of person what woman is going to fall for a man who cries over Mattessons sausage commercials, refuses to be in the same room as a pair of leather boots and counts his cold-pressed juicer as best friend and potential sexual partner?!

Only there is one thing that all vegans can do right here, right now: we can start to rejoice over the fact that we have an opportunity to be on the right side of justice and history, to be liberated from giving increasing numbers of animals a life of pure hell on earth. We should have gratitude in our hearts instead of guilt for our lives. We are the ones who get to say that we were alive in a time of unprecedented concealed suppression and we chose to put our forks up, our knifes down and began a peaceful revolution every time that we sat down to eat.

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