Are vegans always “compassionate”?
I often feel I spend too much time on vegan Facebook groups for my own good. They can be wonderful places full of recipes, ideas, debates… more debates. Just about every debate ends up with someone wailing “Why are you arguing? Vegans should be compassionate!” They make the same claim when discussing those people who continue to exploit animals. “Everyone is on their own journey. Vegans should be compassionate!” The next thing you know they are talking about vibrations, negative energy and are signing off every post “namaste x” I think they may just do this to vex me.
On the face of it you can see where they are coming from. The decision to forgo eating meat and ice cream, wearing cool leather trousers and plastering your face in cheap cosmetics does suggest that you are putting the needs of another above those of your own and this could be a pretty good working definition of compassion. However… I am just not that compassionate a person. I don’t think I am really all that in to animals.
Clips on YouTube of cute kittens do nothing for me. I can watch a lion take down a gazelle and not even flinch. For me that is not what being a vegan is all about. Veganism is a perfectly rational position which states that we don’t have the right to exploit other animals for our own uses. That is it. It has nothing to do with being nice or kind or compassionate. It has nothing to do with making meat eaters feel all warm and fuzzy and unjudged. It has nothing to do with making those on a plant-based diet feel OK about their continued use of leather. Believing that rape is wrong doesn’t make you a compassionate person, just a person. If I say I am against genocide people won’t expect me to be a compassionate person, just a person. Saying it is wrong to exploit animals doesn’t make me a compassionate person, just an aware person.
What do you think? Have I missed the point? Am I nicer than I think I am?