lifestyle

Unpopular opinion: "Vegans are better people. There I've said it."

Last week, Maya Tilley shared her frustration with her vegan mates and their spoiled, first-world lifestyle. Lawyer and self-confessed hipster, Matija Thomas Sraj, may not be a vegan, but he has a few things to say in defence of his animal-loving brothers and sisters.

According to blogger Maya Tilley, who wrote this week that “veganism is a first-world luxury,” everyone in developed countries like Australia should eat meat because not to makes you seem spoilt. Not to is a slap in the face of malnourished people in developing countries.

Um, that’s like saying that because homosexuality is illegal in Uganda we shouldn’t allow same-sex marriage in Australia. To do so would be a slap in the face to Ugandan gays. Or that because women have no rights in Saudi Arabia we shouldn’t fight for gender equality in Australia because it makes Australian women seem spoilt.

Gays and women, pipe down. You’ve got it good.

Veganism is not a slap in the face of malnourished people in developing countries.

Obviously, living in a country like Australia we have a food and class privilege that most people in the world, especially those in developing countries, do not. Consuming animal products is a part of this privilege.

If you want to know the greatest contributor to world hunger and global warming, look at that latte you’re sipping or the burger you’re digging into.

Raising animals for food is extremely energy intensive. Animal agriculture is responsible for almost 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions, almost 40% of total land use and 70% of global freshwater consumption. Think about what these figures mean for a moment. Couldn’t we use our limited resources in a better way?

Considering it takes more than ten kilos of grain to produce one kilo of beef, wouldn’t it be better if that grain were used to feed an entire village rather than feeding your lust for a Big Mac? Or if the land used to grow that beef grain instead went into growing fruit and veg that would sustain an entire community? How feel good is that?

The greatest contributor to world hunger and global warming? The latte you’re sipping and the burger you’re digging into.

Even the UN has recommended that in order to feed an exploding global population and combat climate change, we need to massively reduce meat consumption. Just to reiterate, this is the UN, not some group of fringe-dwelling off-grid hemp Nazis.

I get that it’s hard to look at a chicken schnitzel and connect the dots to some random brown kid in Africa going hungry. It might seem like a long bow to draw. And I get that all the vegan “holier than thou” preachy judgement gets really tiring and makes you want to spite your vegan mate by hunkering down on a juicy piece of apple smoked bacon.

But maybe instead of rolling your eyes when your vegan mate starts telling you about the shocking conditions in factory farms or interrogates the local barista if they use Bonsoy (honestly, why would you use anything else?), you should ask yourself why they’ve made their life more difficult and why they bristle when every second person asks “but how can you live without cheese?”

Click through the gallery below for some vegan loving celebrities. (Post continues after gallery…)

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The basic premise of veganism is to minimise the harm you cause, whether it be to animals, other humans, the environment or your own body. If you could go vegan, or even just reduce your consumption of meat/animal products, why wouldn’t you? This is why your vegan friend has made a choice that makes it slightly inconvenient for you to plan your next dinner party.

No “holier than thou” preachy judgement here, but vegans are just better people. And would somebody please think of the children?

Matija is a lawyer and writer from Melbourne.

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