It wasn’t until I was vegan myself that I was introduced to the concept of an apologetic vegan. An apologetic vegan is a vegan who acts apologetically toward meat-eaters in acting our their veganism. An apologetic vegan might apologise for being an” inconvenience” with their eating habits, or will put down more vocal vegans by saying they are “too preachy” or are giving the movement a “bad name”. However, I noticed it was actually the apologetic vegans holding the movement back.
It can be argued that apologetic vegans aren’t really vegans – they are more likely just living a “plant-based lifestyle”. Let’s face it, vegans come across as preachy because we have been exposed to severe sufferings. We have come face to face with the brutality of our food. We have reached for tissues through Earthlings, have had our hearts broken when transport trucks with animals pass us on the motorway. We only see misery in animals’ eyes at zoos and feel intense unease seeing people happily wear an animal’s skin. So, why does an apologetic vegan feel ashamed of their beliefs? Why do they feel people should not be educated on animal sufferings and injustices? Why do they believe in a code of silence? If they were truly vegan, they would be filled with rage that such unnecessary suffering and exploitation exists, and they’d be unable to remain silent.
On the other hand, meat-eaters can be equally tedious. Don’t get me wrong, vegans are aware there are meat-eaters who respect and encourage our lifestyle. They might even cut things out of their own diet due to listening to vegans and keeping an open mind! And we appreciate the progress. Nevertheless, more often than not, most vegans encounter confrontational and annoyingly defensive meat-eaters.
These meat-eaters either think you think you are superior (that is why we do not fund any abuse or suffering, because we think we are better, right? No, we see ourselves as equal to everyone!). Or they make jokes that you continually talk about veganism, even though you announcing yourself as vegan at the party was so that the person who offered you a sausage roll wouldn’t offer you prawns next. Things like this are unnecessary.
Us vegans are tired of “But bacon, lol!” and “But it tastes good!”. Last time we checked, civilised people don’t make ethical decisions based on sensory satisfaction. We would not find it acceptable, for example, if a rapist claimed rape as justifiable because “it feels good”.
Vegans will not remain silent. We will never stop educating people on where their food and clothes come from, or what poor animal had to suffer just for cosmetics or washing products. And yes, vegans do sometimes get on better with meat-eaters who admit the sufferings they contribute to. Even if they sat through Earthlings and still feel comfortable eating animal products, we do not respect their right to eat meat, but they are more tolerable than a meat-eater who refuses to listen.
Both meat-eaters and apologetic vegans have distorted views. It is disheartening that apologetic vegans exist as they are clearly not fully passionate or convinced by their own morals, most probably only eating a plant-based diet, rather than abstaining from all animal products. Nevertheless, from a vegan point of view, it is clearly worse to be a meat-eater. While apologetic vegans may perpetuate a culture of sweeping hard truths under the rug, and may prevent people going vegan in doing so, meat-eaters continue to contribute directly to the exploitation, abuse, suffering and murder of loving, sentient beings.