Being a vegan, I meet many people who get on some level why I am vegan, but just don’t understand why vegans talk so much about non-human animals and how they are treated in farming. I have come up with a story which, I hope, will enable you to understand, even if you don’t agree. I want you to really try and visualise yourself in this scenario and be honest with yourself for maximum effect. My goal here is not to convince you to be a vegan, but to convince you that, if you were vegan, you would want to talk about it all the time too.
Imagine you lived in a society where 99% of the population ate humans. These humans are farmed in ways that bring about unimaginable suffering, and they are killed at very young ages. When you find out how most of your food is made, you make a decision to stop contributing to it. You stop purchasing human products.
But most of your friends and family still eat humans. You might go to dinner with friends and see them eating humans around you. They ask you why you don’t eat humans and you explain. They might crack a few jokes, or say that these humans are bred for food, so it’s ok, or that they are less intelligent, so it’s ok. They might say that it’s necessary to eat humans for survival or to be healthy, but you know it’s not.
Perhaps you would feel compelled to tell your friends what really happens in human farms, and why it is wrong to eat them. I can almost guarantee that you wouldn’t be silent. You would want to tell everyone, and wouldn’t care if people thought you were being too ‘pushy’ or ‘preachy’. When your friends listen but ignore your plea, you might start to feel helpless and dejected. You might think about the footage of humans suffering, and know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Your friends are good people, so you just can’t understand why they choose to continue eating humans.
Perhaps you disagree that non-humans should be given ethical consideration. Perhaps you think that the taste of their flesh outweighs their suffering. But through this hypothetical, you can now see why vegans talk about it so much. Because we do think non-humans are as or almost as worthy of moral consideration as humans. We know how easy it is to reduce the suffering caused by animal agriculture, and it is hard for us to live in a society where 99% of people disagree with us. If you don’t think you can understand, then you are deceiving someone, and it’s probably yourself.