In yesterday's New York Times, "barely... vegetarian/pescatarian" columnist Farhad Manjoo made an excellent case for ending the common practice of mocking vegans and their ethos. (I can already sense you hardcore carnivores prepping your hoary defenses of meat-eating and gloating about devouring a hamburger while writing your comments.) Manjoo noted that the media hoopla about the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich hit him with a discordant thud shortly after news of the Amazon rainforest fires raging—largely due to clearing land to meet the demand for beef production—had been dominating headlines.
Essentially, Manjoo articulates many of the best arguments for veganism in this column, and if at this point you're still scoffing at people who espouse the philosophies and praxis behind it, you're broadcasting that you don't give a damn about the planet's future. There is no more important issue than this, Beefy McBeeferson.
Here's a key passage from Manjoo's essay:
I want to urge you to give vegans a chance — to love and to celebrate them instead of ridiculing them. We need more vegan voices, because on the big issues — the criminal cruelty of industrial farming; the sentience and emotional depth of food animals; the environmental toll of meat and the unsustainability of its global rise — vegans are irrefutably on the right side of history. They are the vanguard. Climate scholars say that if we are ever to survive a warming planet, people will have to consume far fewer animals than we do now. We will all have to become a little more vegan — and if we are to succeed in that, we will have to start by saluting vegans, not mocking them.
Here, Manjoo perfectly summarizes the mentality of omnivores who give shit to vegans.
There are many theories for why vegans have it so rough, but the one I lean on is guilt and cognitive dissonance. Many omnivores understand the toll that meat wreaks on the planet, and we can’t help but feel the tension between loving animals in the abstract while eating them with abandon on the plate. All of this creates feelings of defensiveness, so when a vegan comes along, their very presence seems like an affront. To an omnivore, every vegan looks like a preachy vegan...
For the good of the planet, put down the [chicken] sandwich. But if you won’t do that, at least refrain from putting down the people who are trying to light a path to a livable future. The vegans are right. The vegans were always right. The least you can do is shower them with respect and our gratitude, because they deserve it.
Read Manjoo's entire essay here.