Radical vegans making no friends

HYPOCRITICAL: Some of the animal rights protesters in Melbourne's CBD last week. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith
HYPOCRITICAL: Some of the animal rights protesters in Melbourne's CBD last week. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith

Once again, for the few folks out there reading this, I am about to take another step on the highway to hell, and play devil's advocate. I do this with mad abandon, knowing I shall be spared the pathetic attempts at wit and sarcasm plaguing social media. For those I offend, you know how to find me.

It would seem there has sprung up a secular version of the KKK and ISIS ... radical veganism. Of course, this movement has only been using minor acts of destruction, extortion and threats against those it deems its opponents, and not killing its "enemies". Yet the intent is the same: to dictate standards and behaviours to the general public.

I have nothing against vegetarianism, veganism, or against kosher, halal or any other type of diet. Actually, I have respect for people who can stick to a diet for ethical, health or religious reasons. It requires a degree of self discipline not everyone has.

Members of my family went vegetarian in the 1950s for health reasons, and as early as the 1970s I was able to discuss the environmental, ethical and economic advantages of a vegetarian/vegan diet. It did, and still does, make a lot of sense.

My personal solution is to eat less meat and animal products, and only those ethically raised, but I suspect there's something more than just animal welfare issues going on here with radical vegans.

Actually, I'm pretty sure of it. Just as the KKK and ISIS don't represent all Christians or Muslims, the radical vegans don't represent all vegans. These are not people respecting others' choices and creeds; these are folks who want to foist a way of living upon EVERYONE through force, and not logic or rational negotiation.

A recent radio interview with a local pig farmer made it clear it was not animal welfare in the conventional sense that these people were campaigning for. Attacks upon small farms where high standards of animal welfare are maintained is a strong indication of this. There are plenty of animal welfare groups out there, working hard to ensure that animals are not treated as objects, all animals, not just animals used for food.

I've tried hard to find out what it actually is these vegans are after, but keep finding myself slipping towards a logic black hole as I dig deeper into the arguments.

As the surface of the "meat is murder" slogan, and "animals are not slaves" slogans are scratched, I find myself confused by the underlying thinking behind this, and the greater repercussions. Assuming for a moment that humans can survive solely on a plant-based diet ... no eggs, dairy, or honey ... what about those animals that need to eat the flesh of other animals to survive? If taking the life of an animal for its meat, or farming it for its eggs, milk and honey is cruel because all living creatures have feelings and souls (which I have no trouble believing), what do I do about my cat? What do whales, seals, big cats and others eat?

This may sound frivolous, but to exclude humans alone from the consumption of meat is assuming they are not a part of nature. To argue humans can make choices that other animals cannot is still creating divisions. A rabbit killed by a hunter and consumed is still as dead as a rabbit hunted and consumed by a hawk. Is it only when animals are hunted by other animals, not farmed, that there are problems?

Assuming, as so much research does, that humans and many of our animal counterparts require nutrients only found in animal products, the arguments against consuming meat are illogical.

Here's where we begin to get a little dizzy, what exactly is it that these radical vegans are after, and why? Are they against cruelty to animals? If so, work with farmers to create more humane methods. Do they believe the killing and consumption of any living creature is wrong? If so, do something about other animals consuming meat as well. If they believe violence is wrong, stop committing acts of violence against farmers.

All cynicism aside, these people are winning no friends by their intolerance. Hypocrites who really should learn from the behaviour of other animals.