For the 40th World Vegetarian Day we wish to discuss the continual existence, and all the more so the popularity of vegetarianism, in an age of abundantly available information about the violent industries vegetarians participate in.
Vegetarianism is a famous source of frustration among activists who intuitively expect vegetarians to be an easier audience for veganism, but in reality many vegetarians strongly cling to their violent habits, shielding themselves from any criticism. We find this dynamic very indicative of humans, and of their common relation to ethical problems which they are directly responsible for.
Don’t get this post wrong. It is not a vent for vegetarians mudslinging, and it is not even about vegetarianism, it is about humans in general and how they always look for the easier option no matter how unreasonable it is.
There are many more vegetarians than vegans and in many cases vegans were once vegetarians, so their quantitative predominance is considered logical and reasonable. But it shouldn’t be so at all.
Vegetarianism is morally invalid. It is not supposed to be a genuine ethical position. It is inconsequent and irrational, hypocrite and double standard. What does it represent? violent humans who nevertheless want to feel moral?
As you know very well, and more importantly for that matter, as many vegetarians know nowadays, the milk industry and the meat industry are inseparably bound together as a mother is inseparably bound together with her babies. The leather industry is even more strongly bound with the meat industry. And of course, the egg industry shares with the meat industry all its violent elements and even for a longer period of time for each victim.
And yet, despite these facts, or any logical consistency and ethical coherency, vegetarians artificially separate the industries as if you can resist one and support the other. Not because they are unaware of the cruelty involved in eggs and dairy, but only because this is where they have decided to draw the line.
And not only that the infirm concept of vegetarianism didn’t gradually evolved into veganism, there are many more vegetarians than the ethically firmer, coherent, factually based and logically consistent vegans. The estimations are that there are 7 vegetarians, and 23 meat reducers for every vegan in the U.S.
Of course there are many problems with veganism as you can read in our article about the subject, however they are much more complex than the ones with vegetarianism, which scream out of the dairy farms and battery cages.
Vegan activists are too familiar with the frustration of unsuccessfully trying to persuade vegetarians to go vegan, and how they are not simply ill-informed about the facts. Most vegetarians, who perceive themselves as having a moral backbone are not willing to hear about the violence they actively support for their pleasures, which goes to show that it is all about them and not really about the animals.
A strong indication for humans’ self-centeredness is that even when they do decide to change habits related to what is supposed to be ethical problems which they are directly responsible for, it is mostly not for ethical reasons. According to the most serious and comprehensive survey about vegetarianism and veganism (done by Faunalytic and included more than 11,000 people in the US, and for some reason didn’t differ vegans from vegetarians), 84% of humans who have tried vegetarianism or veganism have gave it up, most declaring they’ve stopped for self-involved reasons. About a third maintained it for only three months or less, and about half for less than a year. Almost all of them said they weren’t actively involved in a vegetarian/vegan group or organization (not even some online activity or community).
The main reasons they gave for their abandonment were (in descending order): unsatisfied with the food, health issues, social issues, inconvenience, cost, and last but worst – lack of motivation.
This research shows that 10% of adults (ages 17 and older) in the U.S. are former vegetarians or vegans and 2% are currently vegetarian or vegan. That means that for every vegetarian there are 5 humans who were vegetarians and quitted.
The overwhelming majority of humans will always choose the more comfortable option that requires less behavioral change from them. In principle, the smaller the demanded change the greater the chances of it to happen.
That’s why there are significantly more vegetarians out there, classifying themselves with different titles, according to the various compromises they have decided on with themselves. Creating or joining a category gives them a sense of consistency- it provides defined and simple boundaries, despite being arbitrary. For example there are ovo-vegetarians (excludes flesh and dairy products, but do consume egg) or lacto-vegetarians (excludes flesh and eggs but do consume dairy products).
And since for the vast majority of humans even vegetarianism is too hard a step, there are far more of the various pseudo vegetarians out there. They might call themselves pollotarians (limit flesh consumption to chickens), or pescetarians (restrict their flesh consumption to fishes and other marine animals), and of course flexitarians and reduceterians. Each with their set of excuses, each with their speciesist red lines, each with the suffering they accept happening directly for their benefit.
We find vegetarianism very characteristic of humans, being mostly selfish, and occasionally making gestures to sooth their conscience.
By adopting vegetarianism, they gain the moral superiority feeling despite still participating in violence, the reasonableness perception despite the reasonless, and the self-image of sensitiveness despite the cruelty.
In general, gestures made by humans revolve around themselves and their own experience. Even when humans take a positive step, its purpose is often to benefit their own health, and for some an act of conscience soothing. They make gestures which have less to do with influencing others’ reality – and more to do with their own well-being and self-image.
Vegetarians don’t consume meat but do consume milk and eggs, not because it is logical in any way but because it is less demanding of them. Although there is no moral validation for vegetarianism, not only are there many of them, there are much more of them than vegans.
As hypocrite, nonfactual, inconsistent and senseless as vegetarianism is, it is easier than veganism, so many more humans choose it than the much more valid, logically consistent and ethically coherent option.
But the main point of this post is not to show how illogical and unethical vegetarians are, banning some industries and not others, but how illogical and unethical activists are entrusting animals’ fates in humans’ hands instead of looking for ways to dethrone them.
The point is not how lame vegetarianism is, but how typical it is for humans to set the bar so low.
And of course since the vast majority of humans are still very far from reaching even that low standard, your path of action must change.