Do you think vegans are disgusting

Living vegan: I've tried it and am annoyed by meat eaters

Let me guess: you clicked on this article because when you scanned the headline you decided to hate me. I want to make it easy for you. Yes, you'll hate me for these lines. Go ahead. I knew this before I even typed a word, but I'm writing this comment anyway. Why? Because I only ate vegan for a month in February and learned one thing above all: Diet is a religion. And meat eaters are its most radical proponents.

I usually eat almost anything. Dairy products on a regular basis, and every now and then meat. But in February I traditionally forego things that I have become so used to that I hardly think about them in everyday life. This year I decided not to use animal products. I didn't want to lose weight or swim in a trend wave and, damn it, I love cheese, so it wasn't my general aversion to dairy products that made me do it. Rather, it was the disgusting comments from meat eaters on social media like Facebook that made the difference. They practically drove me into veganism and made me still eat mostly vegan even now, after my fasting month.

Our attitude towards animals and meat is completely absurd

Don't say you never noticed this monstrous paradox. Everyone is outraged about dog slaughtering festivals in China, everyone thinks calves and lambs are insanely cute, everyone speaks out against cruelty to animals, but if a vegan says that he does not find it ethical to support the abnormally degenerated factory farming, he is immediately a missionary fanatic . And worse! He doesn't even have to say that. Its mere existence is enough to turn meat eaters into irrational, hateful, provocative pseudo-comedians who have completely unpleasant jokes like "I'll fry myself a delicious steak on it" under articles about, for example, the bad conditions in large stables or the too much write high meat consumption of Germans. How degenerate do you have to be for something like that, I ask myself?

How completely absurd our behavior is can be seen in a very young example:

Do you remember this cute, slightly overweight little friend? This rat apparently underestimated the dimensions of its furry rear end and got stuck in the hole of a manhole cover. Someone saw the rodent hanging there and started a spectacular rescue operation with firefighters, media circus and all that fuss. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in the fate of the Moppel rat, which received as much attention as most people did not get in their entire life.

You can now even buy “Fat Rat” merchandise. Yes, that's right, you can get shirts and caps with the deplorable rodent printed on them. Above it then stands: "A small misstep for a rat, a big step towards more humanity". For whatever reason, you can identify with the little guy, even if you've (hopefully) never got your bum stuck in a manhole cover yourself. You feel empathy, want to save the poor fat animal and are happy that it works out in the end. So much so that you can buy a fat rat apron right away. That is of course beautiful and correct. And at the same time completely irrational and stupid.

The majority of the meat we eat comes from factory farming

We are talking about an animal that most people are disgusted with. The thought of sewers and terrible diseases like the plague from the farthest corner of our brains into consciousness. WHY do so many people feel sorry for this rat and at the same time ignore the fact that every day two million animals in Germany are kept under horrific conditions, filled with drugs and killed and hacked up under completely unworthy circumstances? Because we just fucking think it's delicious? Again: more than two million animals a day!

For almost two decades, meat consumption in Germany has been fairly stable around 60 kilograms per capita and year. Sixty pounds! That is about twice as much as the Germans eat sweets every year - ice cream, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, everything included! More and more people are saying, however, that they want to eat less meat and that they also make sure that it comes from "good husbandry" and "from a butcher they trust". At the same time, a good 98 percent of the meat consumed in Germany today comes from factory farming. Somewhere in between seems to be a mistake.

I really don't want to play myself as a moral apostle here and make meat-eaters feel guilty. After all, I am one myself. Apart from that, they already have one anyway. Yes, you can admit that. No matter how tasty you find the schnitzel that you are currently eating - you don't really want to watch a video from a factory farm on the side, do you? At least I don't want that. Because I know, as you also know, that this horror film stuff that is going on is completely unacceptable. Because we know very well that we rightly have a guilty conscience. Because we are so good at suppressing the fact that millions of animals are suffering and we are ruining this planet, the only home planet we have - just because we find meat so tasty.

Why should “culture” justify cruelty and inhumanity forever?

Then we also persuade ourselves, by all absurd means, that our behavior can be justified somehow. That's bullshit. Take a look around on social media. It feels like everyone who has enough brainpower to google a Wikipedia article feels like an expert in any subject. And then should it not be possible to familiarize oneself with the facts?

I really can't hear it anymore. Those ill-considered, aggressive-defensive “arguments” of meat eaters trying to justify their meat consumption. Statements like "Eating meat is part of our culture" and "We have always done it that way" are so flat and nonsensical that given so much clumsiness, one can hardly think of a reaction to them. Let's take a look at the traditional pilot whale hunt on the Faroe Islands. Once a year the sea turns red there because the residents drive hundreds of whales into shallow coastal waters and brutally slaughter them there. The locals celebrate the gruesome spectacle like a folk festival because, so the argument goes, it is part of their culture. Do you think that is a valid argument?

Attacks on the ecological reasons for not using animal products are also popular. Take soy, for example. Because people who eat soy instead of animals are actually cutting down all rainforests indirectly. How can you tell yourself that? The same area (including rainforest) that is cleared in developing countries for animal husbandry and the cultivation of feed can produce either 50 kilograms of meat or 1,000 kilograms of cherries, 4,000 kilograms of apples or 6,000 kilograms of carrots. 70 percent of the world's soy cultivation is used solely as animal feed for meat production. In addition, there is hardly a larger water consumer in Germany than animal agriculture. A ridiculous kilogram of meat takes so much water that the same amount of water could be showered every day for a whole year.

Our receipt is a voting slip

Let's just stop hiding our own comfort and cowardice behind lousy arguments and name the absolutely only reason we actually eat meat: We think meat is delicious. That is why we close our eyes to the overwhelming factual situation - and only because of that. I am by no means mutually exclusive. So let's at least start by regaining the necessary level of respect for meat as a food. Let's think more often about what is behind the kilo of minced meat for 1.99 euros that is shrink-wrapped in plastic and what exactly we are supporting with our purchase. Let's finally realize that meat is not a human right to which we are entitled at all times - and that as cheap as possible. Let's finally see our receipt for what it is instead of shifting responsibility to others: a voting slip.

Also read: This diet is the best for your body and brain

Because to realize that we have to reduce our meat consumption at least drastically, studies on deforestation of the rainforest, soy production or the health risks of consuming too much meat are actually not needed. It is as simple as it is bitter: living beings suffer and die for animal products. Keeping animals causes huge amounts of CO2 and uses huge amounts of water and grain. The excretions of all the animals in factory farming damage soils. The antibiotics that are forced on animals could promote resistance. There are enough reasons. Good reasons. Absolutely weighty enough to rethink your diet - and to change it.

This article was published by Business Insider in November 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.