Confessions of a vegan man
Photo by Stephanie W Photography
For over twenty years, I ate meat, lots of meat. I didn’t know the harm I was causing.
I used to fish every once in a while. I always felt bad, but I was told the fish didn’t feel anything.
I caught crabs in a net when I was young, and we would eat them for dinner.
I kill mosquitos when they bite me.
I had an exterminator come to my house to get rid of the cockroaches that were living with me.
I have a leather football on my desk in a glass case. My grandfather gave it to me and its one of the few things I have to remember him by.
I have a leather pilot’s jacket. They gave it to me long before I was a vegan. I spent my whole life wanting one, and I never have been able to get rid of it.
Parts of my uniform that I wear every day are leather. I hate it, but there is nothing I can do about it.
Sometimes I kill wasps when they build nests outside my door. My wife is extremely allergic, and I hate seeing her get stung.
Last year I ate fish sauce. The waiter promised the pad thai was vegan, and I found out later it wasn’t.
I also ate some sour cream. I was going to town on guacamole at a cookout until the person who brought it informed me that it was laced with sour cream.
I have tattoos, and I have no idea if the ink was vegan or not. Many tattoo inks have animal bone in them.
I have been to SeaWorld, zoos, and circuses. I didn’t make the connection.
I am not perfect.
None of us are.
We must remember that and always be kind to ourselves, be kind to other humans and be especially kind to other vegans.
We need to be kind to ourselves.
We all make mistakes in life, and that is completely fine as long as we look at every mistake as an opportunity to learn. We must also never dwell on past mistakes or fear mistakes in the future.
If you want to transition to a vegan lifestyle, don’t expect to be perfect right away. There is a lot to learn, and you must accept that you will make mistakes. Don’t be discouraged, reach out to other vegans and ask for help, and please ask me. The important thing is to stick with it. Eventually, you will begin making fewer mistakes as time goes on.
If you have been a vegan for years, you still might make mistakes. Be kind to yourself, and be happy with all of the good you do. When you accidentally slip up and do something that would make the vegan police cringe, that’s ok, just keep doing your best.
We need to be kind to other humans.
I was once a meat eater, and there are plenty of amazing people in the world who eat meat.
I didn’t make the connection between my food and the harm I caused, so I do my best not to look down on people who may not have had an opportunity to make that connection yet.
We need to put ourselves in the shoes of other meat eaters and remember that many of us made the same poor choices at one time in our lives.
I see a lot of vegans bashing meat eaters, speaking to them condescendingly, and being flat out mean! This does not help anything. I have seen people go into a vegan Facebook group and ask a legitimate question about meat consumption only to be assaulted by a barrage of hateful comments. How likely do you think that person is to reduce their meat consumption?
Imagine if some vegan with attitude berated you back when you ate meat. You would probably always hate vegans and never think of becoming one. We need to understand that people have psychological, and physiological connections with animal products that are hard to break. We need to try and understand those issues and offer solutions. We must commit to helping those who want assistance, be patient with them and not belittle them.
I even witnessed a conversation in a vegan Facebook group about how a vegan woman refuses to donate blood and discourages others from doing so because her blood could save the life of a meat eater. Think about that for a minute. We pride ourselves on being ethical, peaceful people who care about all living things, but we would let humans die because they eat meat. I have rescued several fisherman from the water who wouldn’t be here today without my efforts. I don’t agree with the choices of the fisherman, but I am proud of what I have done because these people are also fathers, sons, and husbands.
There was also the recent incident with the White Moose Cafe in Ireland. This incident should teach us all a very valuable lesson. If you are not familiar with the incident, the owner of a small cafe in Dublin Ireland posted on his Facebook page
Attention Vegans** Please do not waltz into our café with no notice and look at us like we have ten heads when you realise that there aren’t 50,000 items on our menu that suit your idiosyncratic dietary requirements. Our chef will be more than happy to prepare a number of dishes for you but a little heads up in advance would be appreciated.
I get it, his words are a little harsh, but I hear more insulting comments like this at least 30 times a day. This wouldn’t even grab my attention.
This comment sat on social media for about two weeks and gained no traction. Nobody seemed to care until someone was so offended that they decided to share this post in all the vegan chatrooms. This act started a major online conflict.
After a barrage of hateful comments and countless negative reviews, the White Moose Cafe fired back with,
**ALL VEGANS BARRED FROM OUR CAFE**
Given the torrent of abuse and unjustified negative reviews we have been receiving from the vegan population over the past 24 hours, all vegans are now barred from our café. Any vegans attempting to enter the café will be shot dead at point blank range.
While we wouldn’t usually kill any of our customers, as you say yourselves “meat is murder”, so it’s fair game if we murder humans as well as animals. There is clearly no difference.
We look forward to never welcoming you vegans to our café ever again.
**THANK YOU VEGANS**
His words are certainly offensive, but still not a battle I would be willing to fight. As you can imagine, this created an all out war with the vegans on the internet. Vegans everywhere united to complain about this cafe.
How did it all end? The White Moose Cafe emerged victoriously stating,
I would like to thank the hundreds and thousands of vegans across the world for all the hard work they have been doing to promote our café over the past couple of days. Thanks to you guys, our café has gone viral in countries as far as New Zealand, Australia, America and Germany (to name but a few). It has made it onto the front page of sites such as Imgur, Reddit and Yahoo, and there are already at least 8 different Facebook pages (that I know of) dedicated to our café. If you were to put a monetary value on this kind of publicity, you would easily be talking a six-figure sum.
We have been receiving hundreds of messages and fan mail from people saying they will make a point of eating in our café, and the table reservations have been coming in thick and fast, all because of you guys. There aren’t many restaurants that can say they have sales reps dotted across the globe the way we have. I feel truly grateful. We owe you big time.
P.S. You’re still barred.
Vegans greatly contributed to the success of a cafe that nobody would have heard of otherwise. Despite our tireless efforts to ruin this place, all we did was contribute to their business. All of our efforts could have been spent doing something positive for vegans instead of making us look bad. The White Moose Cafe is even selling anti-vegan T-shirts, continuing to profit from our short tempers.
This whole lesson can be summed up with a quote by George Bernard Shaw.
Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
In a previous blog, I mentioned a Buddhist story about how you should never get mad at an empty boat. The White Moose Cafe is a prime example of an empty boat.
There is already a stereotype about vegans that we are all pushy, judgmental, and confrontational. That doesn’t make people want to agree with us. Instead, we need to show contagious enthusiasm no matter how much people try to antagonize us. We must always set the example and amaze people with our compassion regardless of the circumstances. People will follow.
We absolutely need to be kind to other vegans.
I have connected with so many vegans around the world since I started my blog. I have loved interacting with these people, and I have had so many positive supportive conversations, but at the same time I have been appalled at the way we occasionally treat one another.
A few examples:
Ethical vegans trying to prove superiority over other “lesser” vegans.
High-fat low carb vegans, arguing with raw vegans, arguing with junk food vegans.
People storming out of groups and leaving six paragraph diatribes about their experiences.
Heated debates about whether pets should be vegan.
Various competitions to determine who is the supreme vegan.
Frequent heated debates about honey, B12, wool, horse riding, etc.
Remember that we are all vegans, and none of us are perfect. Regardless of why we are vegan, how long we have been vegan, what type of vegan diet we consume, we have to support each other. If we want to promote veganism and change the world, we must start by working together and rallying behind a common goal.
I admitted before that I am not perfect, but I hope you forgive me for the mistakes I have made. I promise you that every day I strive to be better than the day before and if we accept each other despite our imperfections, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
Feel free to get confessions off your chest in the comments below.