For whatever reason, or lack thereof, we seem to make trends out of random habits. Every October we try encouraging people to stop smoking by plastering the word “stop” everywhere we can get our grubby hands on. Every November, we try encouraging men to grow horrible moustaches for charity, and here in January we try encouraging people to go without drinking for the whole month, often resorting to the stupidest possible ad campaigns (this year featuring a tacky animated commercial). Now there’s another stupid gimmick crowding up the start of the year, and this one’s even stupider.
Called Veganuary, this event aims to encourage people to go without eating meat, fish, and dairy products. Basically, it’s an event geared towards getting as many people as possible to go vegan in the same way that Stoptober tries to get people to stop smoking, and it’s been running for the past two years. Apparently the campaign is riding on a wave of increasing enthusiasm for veganism in the UK, expecting that not only will 50,000 people will participate, but also that half will stay vegan. I hope they aren’t being too naive, because if Veganuary is going to be anything like those other campaigns, it’s going to be something that nobody really takes seriously, and if they do, they’ll quickly go back to eating meat again.
For me, all it does is remind me of why veganism is such a faulty philosophy. The organizers of the campaign believe that the growing popularity of veganism is a sign of a “growing awareness” that “it can alleviate the global food crisis”, but I think the real reason for people accepting veganism is because it’s a philosophy that is good at playing to people’s moral instincts, and it certainly doesn’t help that a number of Hollywood celebrities endorse such a lifestyle. As I see it, the most common reason people go vegan is because they’re convinced that it’s wrong to meat because of how horribly animals are treated in the process of making it, but just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you hate animals. In fact, I like animals and I still eat meat with content.
What the Veganuary organizers probably won’t tell you is that in nature, animals invariably eat each other to survive. Then again, veganism doesn’t sound like a philosophy that lets facts get in the way of its moralizing agenda. Also, I know how vegans are opposed to killing and eating animals, but what about killing and eating plants? Plants count as living things too, and some studies have suggested that not only do plants feel pain, but also that they are alive while they are harvested. Call me crazy, but if the plants could talk, then they’d be screaming at us the entire time. If that were the case, then the idea of eating plants just after picking them would sound far more barbaric that eating an animal that has already been killed. Of course, that’s not the kind of rational thinking the vegan movement wants you to hear.
For me the whole Veganuary thing is complete nonsense, and it just sounds like a campaign that seeks to trivialize the vegan movement in the same way Dryathlon already manages to trivialize sobriety as a mere post-holiday activity. I would probably have less of a problem if this was only about eating healthier, but even then, I guarantee that every year when people do this, they’ll just go back to eating meat as usual, and it might end up doing more harm to the cause of veganism than it would to help it. For me, there’s nothing wrong with eating meat, and in fact, the vegan argument, for me, is way too riddled with logical fallacies to make any sense.