I’ve never met a militant vegan or vegetarian. Not once. I hear about them a lot, I see them parodied on television, but I’ve never met one.

Isn’t that funny? Everyone reading this is familiar with the character of which I speak. The angry animal lover who feels it is their duty to criticise the eating choices of those around them. “Oh my god, how can you eat that?” they wail as an innocent carnivore tucks into a juicy steak. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

And we hate that smug vegetarian, don’t we? We hate how they think they’re better than us, how they believe it’s their right to criticise us. We hate how they feel they are morally obliged to take our cheeseburgers away. Damn them. Damn their whiny malnourished faces.

But when was the last time a vegetarian had a go at you? It’s certainly never happened to me. Maybe I’m just lucky, but the only arguments about eating meat I’ve ever witnessed were started by meat eaters. They heard someone was a vegetarian and bulled on over, desperate to highlight the flaws in the vegetarian creed, deficient as it is in consistency and reason. And the eating of delicious meat.

I’m not so sure the vegetarian view is as irrational as we often complain it is. If you spend more than five minutes thinking about it, there are all sorts of unsettling inconsistencies in the eating of animal flesh. Do animals have ‘souls’? If not, why is it okay to eat cows but not dogs? If human beings are simply very clever animals, why is it wrong to eat human flesh? If we recognise the superiority of man over beast, is it not our duty, as the only creatures on earth capable of free will, to prevent natural suffering? Wouldn’t the giving up of sausage rolls be a small price to pay for doing the noble thing? Is it possible that our modern practices in the rearing and consumption of meat isn’t the behaviour of a responsible human race?  Is the freedom to eat as much meat as we want really a justification for the shocking amount of violence we inflict on billions of living animals every single day?

I don’t know. But I do know that a vegetarian has never lambasted my choice to meat, and I often wonder if the argumentative carnivore is simply insecure. Most of society eats meat, and a couple of people choosing to restrict their diet is not a threat to that. When a meat eater starts a fight with an unassuming vegetarian, I can’t help but suspect they’re really arguing with themselves.

One Comment on “Vegetarians”

  1. You start your last paragraph with “I don’t know” but apparently you do! I suspect *you* are also arguing with yourself.

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