Monday, June 21, 2010

Veganism in Online Media

I found an article in the Manila Standard this morning with its authoritativeness reflected in the phrases like "I once read" and "it has always been said" that punctuate it. Its unfortunate scribbler starts off talking about how "you are what you eat" and goes on to discuss the damaging effects of serious alcohol and drug use on a person's physical appearance (particularly in a person's face). Although near the end he does bring up the benefit of eating "fruits, veggies and whole grains" to keep your skin looking healthy, somewhere in the middle, he manages to tuck in the following:

The vegan diet also has a detrimental effect on skin. The lack of protein results in a sallow looking complexion making vegans look pasty and pale.
Considering that the piece's writer also ends up describing coffee as a toxin that needs to be flushed out with antioxidants, I have a hunch that his "expertise" in diet and nutrition aren't going to be tearing him away from his day job anytime soon.


Yet another young and hip anti-vegan gets to hatemonger in online media this week ("The carnivore's guide to veganism") -- but hey, it's all just humour, right? In London's The Independent, Guy Adams ends up squeezing as many insults at vegans, misinformation about veganism and "meat is sexy !" comments as a body can in less than a dozen paragraphs. For instance, in response to being asked by his editor to supposedly "go vegan" for a week by giving up meat, dairy and eggs, Adams states:
I'm a carnivore. Not just any, bacon-sandwich-eating-carnivore, but a principled one. My auntie is a farmer. My parents keep sheep and chickens. I grew up fishing and shooting. My sister is a vet. On occasion during my adult life, like our new Prime Minister, I've ridden to foxhounds. For our honeymoon, I took my wife to Alaska, where we murdered several hundred salmon. Killed 'em, cooked 'em, ate 'em.
Then he makes clear his opinion of vegans:
I hated vegans. Really, I did. They're farty bores, I used to say, with pallid skin and bad breath, and the cheek, the utter cheek, to lecture people like me about animal "welfare", when their knowledge of wildlife extends no further than pulling tapeworms out of a house-bound cat's arse (all vegans have a cat).
So to get out and hobnob with vegans, Adams claims that he attended a (who??) "Humane Society of America" function. He comments on the food, admitting that some of it was good, but then trashes meat and dairy substitutes. That's fair enough to a certain extent and Adams might be surprised to know that many vegans aren't fond of most substitutes, either, for a wide variety of reasons. The misinformation comes when he writes about substitutes' having a "dirty little secret":
They're not all that great for animals, either: most are made from soy, a crop that is single-handedly responsible for swathes of the planet being carpeted by heavily fertilised bean plantations, where barely a wild animal survives.
It's not so much "misinformation" as it is a huge failure to properly contextualize a statement. What Adams neglects to mention is that the amount of soy needed to produce to feed a vegan is a fraction of the amount used to feed the animals eventually slaughtered to feed a non-vegan. Not to mention that soy products today are everywhere in processed foods and are most certainly not limited to those free of animal-products. Add to this that (as previously mentioned) not all vegans even consume soy-based substitutes, and that those who do choose to consume often do so in moderation, and it makes his whole "gotcha!" moment pretty irrelevant.

And then there's where he claims that his "fingernails started falling off, possibly due to lack of calcium"...

What's funny is that aside from begrudgingly admitting that eating a plant-based diet for a week did have some positive health benefits for him, Adams gets one thing right when he identifies the inherent problem of forsaking animal flesh on "welfare grounds" while continuing to consume dairy and eggs. Unfortunately, his final point is a bit lost as it seems more of an attempt to take a jab at vegans since he qualifies it as "a purist's contempt".


Allysia said...

You know, when people react with such hostility in response to a moral choice (ie veganism), it becomes so apparent that they just have hang-ups. When you go to the extreme (attacking others) to defend your choices, you probably recognize deep down that you might not be making the best choices. That's why people like this make me laugh. And then I get angry, because he's regurgitating stereotypes. Ugh.

Unknown said...

I have to agree with Allysia. There's a growing awareness that animals count for something, and the reactionary meat-eaters are feeling pressured. This is as it should be, but I try to approach them from a place of understanding rather than judgement.

Unless they're an arse-hole, like this guy.

Vanilla Rose said...

He wrote, "Not just any, bacon-sandwich-eating-carnivore, but a principled one."

Must be a new meaning of the word "principled".

Vanilla Rose said...

PS Re the link to "Unpopular Vegan Essays" re undercover cruelty videos: the site did not seem to allow me the opportunity to post a comment. So I will point out here that they are unfair. What about organisations such as Hillside Animal Sanctuary which expose cruelty AND firmly promote veganism?

Cassidy said...

I agree with Allysia...all of his hostility is either coming from a place of ignorance or subconcious guilt. Or he's just an ass.