It came to me vividly when I heard a speaker self-deferentially say he was crazy. This was, I suspect, a way of defusing the fact that when vegans speak others often think they’re being judgmental or preachy. I’m pretty sure this speaker wasn’t, and I try my best not to be. It can be difficult when you’re passionate about something. At the event, which included several people in age brackets more advanced than even mine, the question of “why” was predictably raised. Apart from the rampant cruelty of industrial farming—some states even have laws preventing people from knowing what actually goes on in such places—there are other considerations. One of them involves Greta Thunberg, Time magazine’s person of the year.
Global warming is no joke, no matter how much the Republican Church laughs it off. Greta Thunberg has become the face of a generation with a conscience, but one fact few wish to know is that industrial farming is by far the largest environmental threat to our planet. The amount of pollution it causes is staggering. The rain forests are being cleared for grazing land because people will buy beef. The largest methane emissions come from farms, not factories. Our lifestyle of eating animals on an industrial scale is one of the many hidden costs to the modern way of living. Or of dying. There are doubters, to be sure. It’s pretty clear, however, that the agriculture business is massive and it is just as powerful as the other great offender—the petroleum industry.
Making facts known isn’t being judgmental. People’s eating choices are up to them. I’ve only been a vegan for about two years now and I sometimes can’t comply with my own ethical standards when I go out to eat. Or when other people give food. Many places have no concept of dining without animal products. I’m not trying to make everyone else accept my standards; I have beliefs about animals that are based both on personal experience and lots of reading about faunal consciousness. I fully accept that many others don’t agree. What I do hope, however, is that people like the speaker I recently heard will not have to jokingly call themselves crazy because they’re vegan. The narrative must change. We must be willing to look at the way we live on this planet, and accept the fact that just because major polluting industries hide behind large, brown cow eyes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question what they feed us. We need to look at our plates and count the cost.