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  • Tanya Mackenzie

Why vegans get angry - for the non vegan

This is a blog post explaining why vegans get angry sometimes, fairly obviously.

This is aimed mainly at people who are not vegan, but is told from a rather calm vegan perspective, even if I do say so myself. You may have been sent this blog post by someone who is vegan and possibly angry with you, or you may just be curious about vegans and their weirdness.

I became vegan around four years ago now, but it’s honestly been a bit of an on and off journey. For instance, my now ex boyfriend made me eat a burger to prove my devotion to him, which looking back is...really messed up. Don’t do that. And I have otherwise had a couple of slip-ups due to things like past eating disorder issues and chronic fatigue issues...

Because it is difficult sometimes. I’m not going to sit here and say you can easily go vegan and stay vegan just like that. That kind of unrealistic expectation and pressure is why a lot of people just throw in the towel completely after one slip-up. However, it is so much easier than it used to be. I am eternally grateful to the wonderful self-sacrificing vegans who paved the way for us to have access to more options.

But I do remember when I first became interested in veganism, after being vegetarian since around my mid-teens, I was pretty shocked to say the least, at what I discovered in my research. It does rile you up really badly when you first discover what farm animals are going through on a daily basis, and the lies told to us since childhood about these matters. Seeing footage of hens in tiny cages, male chicks getting ground up alive, cows getting their babies taken away, and pigs getting their throats slit, is going to have a major effect on you, unless you’re a psychopath. Most people just choose not to watch these videos.

And then there’s the environmental aspect of veganism, which one usually learns around this time as well. Given that we are most certainly heading for a climate catastrophe which induces panic in many people (never mind vegans), this knowledge that almost everyone around you is contributing to that without taking appropriate responsibility is, in a word: heartbreaking. These things are something you kind of get used to as time goes on in your vegan journey, but this will be discussed momentarily.

For me, what made this effect all the worse was that I was also quite young and impressionable, but even if the person who has become vegan is older than I was, it can feel as if you’re learning so many things anew, it’s almost as though you’ve been born again and are learning like a child. So let’s call this being a 'baby vegan'.

A lot of the more popular YouTube channels and other social media influencers who talk about veganism are the most vocal and angry, because the sensationalism gets them put in the spotlight. So you see the torture of animals, the environmental disaster, the lies, and so on, then you get sucked in to following someone who is quite extreme and outspoken and has some weird ideas, and then at the end you have one really angry baby vegan.

Basically, you have a vegan who is ready to blow at the very sight of animal products, never mind whatever it was you may have said to them. In this case, just try and tell them that the way they’re getting their point across is not going to help anyone, but if you could just sit down and calmly discuss it then you might be able to listen.

So as I said, I definitely grew out of this. I used to be the kind of person who would get mad at people eating meat andsay, "you know that used to be a living, breathing animal, right?" But now I’m way more chill. I realised a long time ago that that is not a great way to approach the subject because it just puts people off and makes them get mad and defensive. I only give my reasons when actually asked, in fact I try not to tell people I’m vegan unless I have to because I don’t want to perpetuate that stereotype of the vegan who just has to tell everyone.

The next reason a vegan may be angry at you, if they are not a baby vegan for instance, is that maybe you were just being a jerk. In my experience, most people nowadays are perfectly nice about it and act like a normal human being when they hear the word ‘vegan’, but not always. Most vegans, particularly those who went vegan for the animals or the planet (I hope you can understand) carry a weight around with them. It’s the weight of suffering, and it’s not something you can completely ignore even after time has given you a certain numbness to it.

Some people have been aggressive towards me just for being vegan, when I haven’t even said anything to them. Comments such as ‘mmm, bacon’ are just not funny and not cool. If you were a pig about to get its throat slit, I’m sure it wouldn’t be funny anymore. You may think that you’re making a funny joke by saying things like that, but we’ve seen way too much animal torture and slaughter footage for that to be ok. That weight of suffering is difficult to carry around, and sometimes when people say stuff like this, or immediately get angry and defensive when we haven’t even said anything, it may just get too much. Please try and be a nicer person, if this is you.

And the last reason is of course, that they may also be a jerk. Vegans are human, and all manner of humans are capable of being mean and insufferable. I like to think that I’m not this kind of vegan, but there are some who are just not very understanding or nice, not because they’re vegan, but because that would be who they are in any case.

Obviously being vegan is nothing like being discriminated against, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Sometimes it can be inconvenient and people can be rude, but that is a very different experience. But what I am saying is that it is definitely difficult and painful when you feel so passionately about something, and you have so much sadness, and yet nobody around you seems to care. In fact, many people openly despise you and make jokes at both your expense and the expense of those who you are fighting for.

So, while I feel that I have sufficiently numbed and matured to be able to deal with society and people around me in a better way, there are still many vegans who haven’t yet. So I hope this gave you an insight into why certain vegans may have sometimes gotten angry with you; I hope it’s been helpful. Whether you are vegan or non-vegan, if you have any questions please let me know and I will do my best to answer them. But just know that I don’t want to respond to jerks, on either side of the fence. That is one thing I should say before I wrap up: vegans, don’t be jerks. Just because you don’t eat animals it doesn’t mean you can be horrible to people.

Stay tuned for more blog posts.

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