There is a sense of entitlement that goes along with being vegan. In case you aren’t familiar with veganism, it is best described as vegetarian fundamentalism.
According to the Oxford dictionary; “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.” Although like most ideologies and religions there are varying degrees of adherence, vegans do not consume, wear, possess or use products that involve the use of animals.
Most vegan substitutes, like nondairy milk or cheese, fake meats, and other specialty ingredients for recipes are expensive. If someone were lower-class and struggling financially, buying these foods absolutely would not be a possibility.
Yet, many middle and upper class vegans will still shame people who cannot afford to spend an excessive amount of money on food.
No, no one’s bashing veganism, mose people’s intentions are good but the thing is one can’t ignore the unprivileged people while talking about veganism.
Speaking specifically about our own country, we need to check our privilege when promoting veganism. Almond milk for eg, costs around Rs.390/litre. Clearly, not everyone can afford that.
People who are being crushed by the demands of capitalism and facing oppression are often not thinking about going vegan.
Yet, privileged vegans (not all) will still find it necessary to indirectly shame them by boasting about how cheap being vegan really can be and why everyone should go vegan because of this.
Ignoring the fact that tribal people have been relying on meat for generations in order to survive and that the current situation is the fault of capitalists, is problematic.
In many regions, eating home reared is more sustainable than clearing land of vegetation for agriculture.
When families are struggling to put food on the table, the last thing they need is to be shamed for what kind of food that is.
The problem with the vegan movement isn’t its aims and goals at stopping animal cruelty and saving the environment. The problem is a perceived lack of accessibility and options for many Indians. While having food choice is a privilege, having that privilege used for justice is essential.
When vegans pressure their diet onto others, they neglect to acknowledge both financial struggles and accessibility.
Caring for animals isn’t wrong, but it’s socially irresponsible to care more for animals than humans, especially when so many are falling below the poverty line and struggling to afford food of any kind.
If it is a viable option for you to go vegan, you can simultaneously follow the diet while acknowledging that by accident of birth only, you have the financial means to maintain the practice. By the same token, if you believe this is a lifestyle option that should be equally accessible to everyone, you can use your platform and knowledge to fight for the deconstruction of a system that prevents this accessibility.
Doing this will be more effective than condemning those are not vegan for reasons personal to them.
It’s unfair but realistic that a financially comfortable individual will find it easier to pursue a healthy vegan diet than someone at a comparative economic disadvantage.
We also cannot hold people morally accountable if they have grown up in a culture that says there is nothing wrong with eating meat; it is a necessary part of human nutrition and we are not bad for doing so.
I support going vegetarian or vegan if you have the privilege to do so, because I truly do believe it can make a positive impact on our environment, but one can’t force it on others without realizing the fact that everyone isn’t in the same economic or dietary position.