I’ve been vegetarian for 2 and a half years now. I don’t eat meat or fish, gelatine, or anything listed as ‘fish extract.’ I buy vegetarian pesto, I don’t buy leather, I only purchase cruelty-free beauty products and I can tell you the damage that animal agriculture is doing to our planet.
But according to a lot of vegans, I’m not doing enough.
What were initially allies, working together to reduce the use of animal consumption and cruelty, have now become in competition with one another. Which seems a very backwards perspective to take.
Being vegetarian, while for some it may well be a process to being vegan eventually, isn’t always the stepping stone to being vegan. It seems to have become some elitist culture, where unless you’re some protesting, preaching plant-based Instagram influencer, you’re not doing enough.
I’ve even seen the terms ‘hypocritical’ being thrown around concerning vegetarians, as if by still eating eggs and dairy, cutting out meat alone isn’t doing enough. When surely every little helps, to steal Tesco’s catch-phrase.
Not everyone can be vegan.
As much as many struggle to admit it, veganism isn’t for everyone. Yes, it’s the ideal, in order to save our planet and look after its creatures. But it also takes a lot of planning and a lot of dedication and work, which for some people just isn’t doable.
Take a look at working-class, full-time Mums for example. They don’t have the time, or funds, to raise their children plant-based. That would require supplements, grains, a lot of time spent cooking/preparing meals and they have enough to worry about in bringing their children up healthy.
What needs to stop, is saying that it’s not doing enough, unless you commit to veganism entirely. We need to consider people’s circumstances. They could be in recovery from an eating disorder and the last thing they should be doing is limiting their food groups. They could have little money and can’t afford to prepare meals entirely from scratch.
Of course, ideally, being vegan is the ideal. I completely understand that. But every vegan meal, every choice of meat-free over a chicken sandwich, every person that tries a soya latte instead of dairy, is making a difference. Making a conscious effort to try, is what matters most.
By being vegetarian I am not ignorant. I know the state of the dairy industry and how harmful it is. I’m just not at a place in my life to be vegan yet. And that’s absolutely okay.