This post was inspired by an article at Alternet titled Eating Meat Is Not Natural. I wrote a long-ass comment, but now that I am blogging again, I will turn it into a post, goddamn it! It got a good response over there, but I think my ideas were inspired by a post at Feministe, so I can’t take all the cred.
I am an omnivore. AND I completely respect and support the choices of those friends who are vegan and vegetarian, and I expect the same respect for my choices. We are all thinking adults and have come to our conclusions after careful deliberation.
I do have criticism for *some* vegans/vegetarians for the way they interact with omnivores.
1. Using gory images to try and shock omnivores into not eating meat, much the same way anti-abortion activists use shocking pictures of dismembered fetuses to make a point. It is disrespectful and in poor form for the anti-abortion activists, just as for the anti-meat activists. As a woman, I am turned off by this kind of rhetoric because of its close connection to a movement wanting to take my rights away.
2. Using the tactics of creationists to cherry-pick science and create specious pseudo-scientific arguments. We are talking about a moral choice, and it is clear that there are convincing scientific arguments for and against eating meat, as well as how long human have historically been eating it. When I see a side of an argument refuse to accept evidence simply because it contradicts a preferred world-view, I am reminded of creationists. Anyway, we all know that science can’t prove morality.
3. Using the language of the anti-gay movement. For me, as a queer person, a huge red flag goes up when I see an argument for what’s “natural” or not. Natural is a subjective and loaded term, and is often used by bigots against marginalized groups in society. Why would anti-meat activists choose such a term? Humans are also animals. We are part of nature, not separate from it. Humans and our behavior is just as natural as any other animal and their behavior.
4. Comparing meat-eaters to slave-owners, and animals to black people. As an anti-racist, it raises red flags when I hear the anti-meat argument put this way. It makes vegetarians seem as though they must all be white and privileged to be unaware of how insulting this rhetoric is to blacks. It makes me wonder why a movement would be willing to sacrifice dignity for blacks, to further marginalize an already marginalized group, in order to promote their cause.
Again, I am only speaking to those vegetarians and vegans who use this sort of disrespectful language. I have nothing but respect for those of you who respect me in return!
Please add your vegetarian/vegan dos and don’ts in the comments.