Ridicule, Mocking & Insults: The Opposition to Veganism

Ridicule, Mocking & Insults: The Opposition to Veganism


“I’ve seen vegans called many derogatory words. Nothing, it seems, provokes unbridled defensiveness and rudeness in quite the same way as coming out and stating that it is wrong to cause suffering and death to the helpless and vulnerable.

Excuses and insults

It doesn’t seem that radical to me, but as soon as it’s mentioned that humans have no nutritional or other need to use other beings in any way for any purpose, out will come a barrage of well used excuses: plants have feelings, canine teeth, what cavemen did, brain size and intelligence, we need meat to survive, my ‘personal choice’, ‘forcing your opinions on me’, the bible, eskimos, desert islands, etc.

Nice palm tree and blue sky

Nice palm tree and blue sky

Once these are out of the way, then come the personal insults: ‘it’s impossible to be 100% vegan’, ‘you probably step on insects every day’, ‘I bet your cleaning materials / car / PC harmed animals’, ‘what about your makeup / shoes / clothes’, ‘you’re a hypocrite’.

Then comes the ‘we’re really on the same side but you’re being extreme’ gambit: ‘I hardly eat any meat’, ‘every little bit helps’, ‘I follow this or that diet – I’m doing my bit’, ‘how dare you criticise me – sure I eat animals but I rescue <insert name of species here>, ‘the world won’t go vegan overnight so we should encourage people who try to cut down slightly on eating animals’.

Invariably there are some that choose to incite a bit of xenophobia: ‘at least here in <insert country> we treat animals humanely unlike what they do in <insert other county> – they’re all savages there’, ‘boycott <country> till they stop killing <species that we give preferential treatment to in this country>’.

In the face of all this, a vegan who maintains their stance that causing harm when we can choose not to do so is morally wrong is branded as humourless and – another favourite word – ‘judgemental’. Yet day after day, we take the flak. Why is this, you ask? I’ve heard it said, ‘Why don’t you give it a rest?’, ‘Let people take their own time’ , ‘If you just raise awareness, then people will make kinder choices’, ‘You’re always going ON about animals.’ So why don’t we? Give it a rest, that is. Why are we so driven? And why are some – like myself – so implacable, so uncompromising, so ‘die hard’, ‘extremist’ and several other words that reflect the discomfort of the audience.


Touching briefly on numbers, upwards of 56 billion land animals and uncountable sea creatures are killed every year for what nonvegans regard as food. There are billions imprisoned, and enslaved so that their reproductive systems can be manipulated to provide milk and eggs. In addition to this are uncounted millions of deaths in the silk / wool / leather / fur / feather industries and in testing and vivisection. Then there are circuses, zoos and wildlife ‘parks’. The list goes on and on. Most of those who die are extremely young. If they were humans, we would look on them as infants or babies, children, adolescents. These are, of course, statistics and it’s all too easy to look on them as a mere mathematical exercise.


However, the issue becomes less easy to sweep under the carpet when we stop thinking of numbers in general, but as a group of individuals – an unthinkably massive group. It is almost certain that with very few exceptions, each individual knew fear, pain, deprivation and suffering throughout his or her pitiful existence. If we could have looked into his or her bewildered eyes, we would have seen that he or she had hopes, needs and preferences although these were never recognised. He or she might have favourite foods, friends or pastimes but may never had the chance to experience these.

Their individuality was disregarded because in order to legitimise our theft of their lives, their joy and their purpose in this world, in order to attempt to justify our brutal manipulation of their reproductive systems and our forcible destruction of their relationships as we mutilate and murder their babies, we refuse to recognise them as moral persons, as the sentient beings that science has declared them to be. We give them numbered or coded tags, punching holes in their fragile ears to attach these, or we notch their tender ears with nicks, cuts and shapes to signify our cataloguing of the walking dead as our resources. And ever the jokers, some find amusement at those who chortle that they ‘never give a name to anything I’m going to eat’.

Personhood and individuality

Part of becoming vegan is the recognition of others as sentient individuals with the right not to be commodified and regarded as resources by other sentient individuals in the absence of any morally justifiable necessity.

This quote by Joanna Lucas of the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary eloquently encapsulates my horror and the reason for the ever-present sadness of being vegan,

‘We know things about her that no one should ever know, or want to know, about a fellow being – the sight of her flayed body, the weight of her severed thigh, the taste of her burned, bone-punctured flesh, the charred crunch of her fractured ribs, the flavor of her spilled marrow, the taste, texture and flavor of every aspect of her despair, degradation and defeat.

We know every detail of what we have forced her to be – an object to consume and excrete. What we don’t know, what we don’t want to know, is what we must know if we are to restore our own humanity: who she is.’

Which means, in essence, that every hour that ticks by, millions of helpless innocents are dying in gore and agony, whimpering and screaming in fear and horror. At this moment. Now. And now. Begging for mercy now. Billions more are facing the interminable hell that is the existence forced upon them for our selfish indulgence.

So what’s the rush?

For millions there is no time left, their only lives that they value as I do mine and you do yours, are being wrenched from them as I write, their blood spilling through gashed throats onto killing floors everywhere. No respected resting places await their last remains, only a supermarket shelf, the casual, thoughtless convenience of a soon forgotten meal, digestion and excrement. That will be the epitaph of these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.


So when you wonder why I keep going ON, it’s because no matter how much flak vegans have to take, it’s nothing compared to what the sweet and vulnerable victims of nonvegan choices are suffering, and will continue to suffer until all ears hear the vegan message.

We say we want a peaceful world, we say we hate violence, we say we hate cruelty. Great. Let’s walk the walk and live those values by taking violence off our plates, by refusing to support the culturally accepted view that might makes right.

Be vegan. Now.”

The above essay was posted and shared with permission by a friend named Mary.  I wrote the title and added the photo.

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About the author

I began this website as a way to showcase that going vegan is easy, cost-effective, delicious, and most importantly, fun. No animal has to suffer or die for a meal. Since the age of four, I have not eaten meat. I learned at a young age that the family puppy shared the same types of emotions as wild animals and farm animals. I never thought that it was okay to exploit them. Twelve years ago, I gave up cheese, not knowing the suffering through which cows had gone. I am dedicated to the vegan lifestyle, animal advocacy, and in furthering the social justice movements for all people, animals, and the planet. I am pleased to announce that since this blog began in 2014, there are many more vegan businesses from restaurants, a fully vegan shopping center, a school that only serves vegan food, and a vegan medical center. Although I have no affiliation with them, I feel that it is noteworthy to say that the movement is growing, and I hope to see the property status of animals one day change to acknowledge them as "persons," not things.

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  1. Sarah mash

    I don’t eat any meat, I do drink a little milk but since learning about dairy cows, am changing to soya milk or similar. I eat no rennet cheese and the odd egg in cakes.
    My problem is my dogs. I love them so much and want to give them the best. I’d never give canned food, but every time I buy their meat I feel so guilty and I feel I’m adding to the slaughter by buying thus supporting it.
    I need a solution to this. My female dog likes soya meat and quorn but the boy won’t touch it.
    If anyone has a solution to this problem pleeeeaaaassse contact me.

    1. Post author

      Hi, Sarah!

      Thank you for your message. I’m so happy that you’ve been working towards veganism and are giving up animal products! Big kudos to you! I really applaud the fact that you’re making an effort to feed the dogs vegan foods as well. I understand that the male dog refuses to eat vegan food. Maybe try feeding the female dog first, and the other one will see her enjoying it and want to try the food too. It’s worth a try, right? Another possibility would be to wean him off the meat. After all, everyone is addicted to the foods that they eat. So, perhaps think about adding a little bit of the vegan food while replacing the meat. On PETA’s website, there is a post that says, “One remarkable example is that of Bramble, a 27-year-old border collie whose vegan diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables earned her consideration by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living dog in 2002. The exact page where I retrieved this information can be found at http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-dogs/

      I posted a link to your question on my personal FB page and hope that some of my vegan friends will reply since many do feed their dogs vegan foods. I encourage you to subscribe to this page and to add me on FB if you haven’t already done so, to like, share, and tell people about this new vegan community online at Vegan Fierce by going to http://www.veganfierce.com. Please feel free to message me if you need anything. Be sure to visit again soon. This site is just being developed. Thanks again!

      Paul 🙂

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