Veganism became a mainstream dietary choice, and for many, a lifestyle philosophy, in the last decade. Let me say this now: there’s nothing wrong with being vegan. But…
Veganism has good intentions. It advocates for animal rights, condemns animal exploitation, and opposes large-scale animal farming that has a negative impact on the environment.
I fully support those causes, but I have a problem with veganism—I think it’s a cop-out. It’s a passive way of dealing with larger issues, but it makes us feel good about our choices.
Veganism, as a philosophy, is a bad approach because it’s unrealistic. The world is always going to consume animal products, and many cultures rely on them to survive. We need to accept this fact and promote animal commodities in sustainable and humane ways. The vegan “solution” abandons these practices altogether instead of advocating sustainable practices with them. Not purchasing these products, a non-action, doesn’t do much to promote real change in industries like large-scale meat production.
For example, vegans are missing out on opportunities to support locally-raised meat from animals that had a great quality of life and were killed humanely. If people focused more of their energy on supporting this type of animal consumption, I would argue that it has a greater positive impact than passively abstaining from certain purchases. Don’t get me wrong—there are probably many vegans out there that support this kind of farming or advocate for causes in other ways. However, I think that for a lot of vegans the engagement with animals ceases full-stop; no meat is OK, even if it is local, humane, and more sustainable for the environment.
Take leather, as another example. If you had an option to choose humane leather products (a renewable resource), versus synthetic ones (an industry that has its own ethical and environmental issues), which would you choose? Is it always best for veganism’s righteous tenets to dictate your choices when big issues are at stake?