Do You Have To Be Vegan To Care About Animals?

Animal rights protester holds a dogI saw a comment thread recently on a social thread from the London Make Hunting History March – criticising an attendee for eating meat whilst at the rally. I’m not sure what the offending meal was but I can’t imagine it was more than a ham sandwich.

It got me thinking, would the commentator have rather the meat eater not be at the rally at all? Were they taking a moral high ground? Or can meat eaters really not care about animals?

I’ll start this post by saying I am not vegan, I eat halloumi like a degenerate and I’m partial to a glass of vino. I am a vegetarian, but if someone told me I didn’t care about animals because I ate meat – I’d fight my corner to prove them wrong.

We all interpret love for animals in different ways, for some it’s putting feed out for birds in their gardens, shopping consciously, cuddling up with their dog on the sofa, campaigning against a return to hunting as we and our readers do – is it fair to say these people don’t care about animals?

Number Of Vegans In The UK

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular, with around half a million people taking up the plant based diet – a 360% increase on the last ten years. In a nutshell, veganism means avoiding animal products completely; so, unlike veggies who just avoid meat and fish, vegans will not eat milk, cheese, eggs, honey or any other animal bi-products including clothes.

The reasons people decide to adopt veganism ranges from a love of animals, health reasons, and environmental reasons – all the way to simply thinking that eating and drinking the product of another animal is plain weird.

Whatever way you look at it, there’s no doubt that people who adopt a vegan diet are doing more for animals than somebody who eats meat or is vegetarian, and I fully respect anyone that adopts this diet. But I couldn’t agree with the statement that everyone who eats meat doesn’t care for animals.

A Duty Of Care 

In my eyes, we should all be aware of where are food comes from and take an interest in improving the conditions of those that provide it for us. As well as animals – everyone should be conscious of the human exploitation that can go into the production of our food; fruits and vegetables in particular.

Here are a few things you can do to minimise your impact on animals and the environment:

    • Avoid caged eggs – Caged hens are housed in squalid conditions with barely enough room to turn around.
    • Shop free range and organic – You’ll pay a little extra – so it may not be viable for everyone, but if you can spare the money, it’ll go a long way.
    • Shop local – It’s no surprise that animals that are cultivated by local farmers are treated better than those grown commercially – head to your local farmers market, as well as supporting local businesses, you’ll also be helping animals and the planet.
    • Read the labels – Avoid any products that are tested on animals – this usually applies to shampoos and skincare products. Do your research into the brands treatment of animals, most cruelty-free products have a little white rabbit on them.
    • Ditch the fur – Fur can be sourced from minks as well as certain foxes, the fur trade is cruel and if possible you should take steps to ensure no clothes you purchase contain real fur.
    • Give Meatless Mondays a go – Pretty much as it says on the tin, give up meat on Mondays.

Final Thoughts 

In my opinion (and it’s just an opinion, something that everyone is entitled to) anybody can love animals, regardless of their diet. Meat eaters can still care about the quality of life cows have, or limit the amount of meat they eat and campaign for changes in way they are treated.

A vegetarian can still ensure that the eggs they eat are actually free range and push for the closing of battery farms as well as campaign for the animal welfare issues they care about, as I do.

At the end of the day, if you and another person share the same passionate views on an aspect of animal welfare (such as fox hunting), but that person is not vegan – do you think they care for the issue any less? Would you rather they didn’t show support for the cause?

Everyone should be able to understand the food they eat and make their own decisions. If you’re curious about vegan food – check out a few vegan recipes and see what you think.

I hope I haven’t rustled any feathers, I’d love to know your thoughts on this post – drop us a message on Facebook or fill out a contact form below and we will get back to you.

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