Sometimes you can hear how full-fledged meat-eaters complain that vegans criticize and reproach them. But it seems that those who have started the path to veganism, but have not yet gone all the way, often annoy vegans much more.
Flexitarians are bullied. Vegetarians are mocked. Both are seen as enemies of the vegan community.
Well, this is understandable. If you think about it, Flexitarians are people who believe it’s okay to kill animals on certain days of the week.
The same goes for vegetarians. After all, the dairy industry is one of the most brutal, and it is surprising to many why vegetarians cannot understand that by eating cheese they have the same responsibility for slaughtering cows as those who eat beef. It seems so simple and obvious, doesn’t it?
Such reproaches often embarrass vegetarians and flexitarians, but there are some facts that vegans should pay attention to.
Spread of flexitarianism
The meat industry is losing customers and rapidly fading away, but it turns out that the reason for this is not only vegans. Explaining the decline of the meat industry, Matt Southam, a spokesman for the meat industry, noted that “vegans, if you look at it in general, are very, very few.” He explained, “Those who have a major influence are the Flexitarians. People who give up meat every couple of weeks or a month.”
This is also due to the growth in sales of ready meals without meat. The market noticed that behind this growth are not vegans or even vegetarians, but those who refuse meat on certain days.
As Kevin Brennan, CEO of Quorn, a vegan meat replacement company, says, “10 years ago our number one consumer was vegetarians, but now 75% of our consumers are non-vegetarians. These are the people who limit their meat intake on a regular basis. They are the fastest growing category of consumers.”
It turns out that the fact that meat production is closed one after another, is mainly not vegans, but flexitarians!
Vegans might be annoyed by vegans and flexitarians despite these stats, but in that case, they’re forgetting something.
How many vegans can say they went from eating meat, dairy, and eggs to being completely vegan in the snap of their fingers? Of course, there are those who took this step decisively and quickly, but for the majority it was a gradual process. Almost all vegans themselves have spent some time in this intermediate phase.
Perhaps some vegetarians who love animals but consume dairy don’t even realize they’re paying to have animals mistreated and eventually killed. And it’s good if the first vegans they meet and who explain everything to them are patient and kind people. Instead of judging vegetarians for their controversial lifestyle, vegans can help them cross that line.
It also happens that people interested in switching to a plant-based diet are unlucky with new acquaintances. Some get bogged down in vegetarianism for years because all the vegans they encountered were so rude and so judgmental that the very idea of being vegan began to seem repulsive.
It could be argued that someone who truly cares about animals and the planet shouldn’t care how vegans talk to him. Once he understands how important this is, he must, in any case, immediately switch to plant-based nutrition. But in life it rarely happens that everything goes so easily and smoothly, and people, by their nature, are not perfect.
The simple reality is that once someone starts cutting back on meat, their chances of becoming a vegan go up. But if vegans taunt him, the chances tend to decrease again.
Vegans should keep this in mind when interacting with vegetarians or flexitarians. It is better to warmly encourage interested people to become vegans, rather than push them away with ridicule and rudeness. In any case, the first approach will clearly benefit the animals.