Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vegan Snark Attack!


Sometimes you’re just in a mood, you know what I mean?

Usually, I try to be calm and positive and ever-so patient but there are times when the snark just must be unleashed so I get back to being calm and positive and ever-so patient. This is one of those times. This was written as what – in my mind, at least – I would say to those who keep coming at me with feeble justifications and obvious attempts to establish that vegans are all a bunch of hypocritical snobs. The fact is that anyone who’s been vegan for longer than a week has heard allllllll of these “arguments” and we are still supposed to sit there, smile and behave ourselves (lest we be accused of being hateful) when we’ve been through it a million times. Despite this, we gather our discipline and try not to actively guffaw in anyone’s face (or at least not roll our eyes) when the fact of the matter is that internally, sometimes we are doing just that.

Omnivores who like to argue, this is what I ask of you: Could you please develop some better arguments? Pretty please? I need the challenge and that one video on YouTube that you always trot out to convince me that plants feel pain has only convinced me that you’re just really desperate for more persuasive material. To the well-intentioned people who will without a doubt remind me that sarcasm is not the best route for creating allies, yes, I know. That’s why our material on Vegan Street is 83% snark-free. (Roughly.) I need an outlet, though, so I can continue to play nice. I have to also remind myself that most of the time when people bring up these ludicrous arguments, they really think they’ve got something impressive to work with, which is why it’s up to us to (patiently, calmly, effectively) prove otherwise. (By the way, please check out the exciting new resource for critical thinking, Your Vegan Fallacy Is for more, more, more of the good stuff.)

That being said, oh, snark, how I’ve missed you. Reunited and it feels so good…

Omni: “You vegans think you’re better than everyone else. I don’t like your superiority.”
Me: “I don’t like that you pay an industry to turn animals into products and destroy the environment in the process so you can consume their secretions and corpses. Should we call it even?”

Omni: “What about plants?”
Me: “What about them?”

Omni: “You kill plants when you eat them. Plants feel pain, you know.”
Me: “I make sure that they are treated well before they die and that they don’t suffer. Oh, wait. That only would make sense in this context if they had sentience. Carry on.”

Omni: “But -”
Me: “Oh, wait, I forgot to add that if you are truly concerned about plants feeling pain - also known as responding to stimuli, which is in keeping with Darwin’s observations about adapting to optimize favorable and reduce adverse conditions - you may want to stop consuming the animals that eat so many more of the plants than people do.”

Omni: “But I give thanks to the animals I eat.”
Me: “You thanked them? That's weird. I believe your manners are a bit confused. You were supposed to apologize to them.”

Omni: “Well, whatever. I always give thanks.”
Me: “I’m sure the ghost of the chicken you just ate is finally gratified because she’s been officially thanked. Her spectral form can stop roaming the earth seeking closure now that she knows she died for the noble cause of satisfying some random craving of yours. Everything is all better now. Our sewage system is certainly a dignified final resting place for all the animals you have ‘thanked’.”

Omni: “But what about the Native Americans?”
Me: “Which tribe are we talking about?”

Omni: “Um –”
Me: “Because if we are focusing on just the tribes indigenous to the United States, there are currently more than 550 tribes. The tribes are all distinct with different histories, practices and diets. You’re not implying that all indigenous people are one uniform mass, are you?”

Omni: “Okay, whatever. They ate animals.”
Me: “They also had no electricity, plumbing, refrigeration, modern medicine or surgical innovations but I can see that you’re mainly interested in cherry-picking what you want from the grab bag of vague Native American associations that serve you. (That’s not offensive at all!) I am guessing that the objective here is to align eating animals with a higher spiritual practice of some sort. Animals are bred into existence, the vast majority through forcible means, mutilated and castrated without anesthesia and kept in brutal captivity until they are no longer cost-efficient or they have reached market weight and then they are loaded onto trucks, often transported long distances in all weather conditions and violently slaughtered. So, yes, many Native Americans ate and eat animals, as have virtually all cultures throughout history, including the ones we don’t romanticize as much. What does this have to do with you and your own habits?”

Omni: “I buy my meat from a specialty butcher who uses everything. He even watches the animals get slaughtered.”
Me: “First of all, how very Jeffrey Dahmer of your butcher. Second, your butcher uses all of the animal? As opposed to the animal agribusiness model, which pretty much squeezes every last penny from an animal’s tortured carcass? I'm guessing you found a hipster butcher who pretty much follows the standard operating procedure when it comes to using animals for financial gain.”

Omni: “But I buy heritage pork from hog breeds that might not exist if not for these farmers.”
Me: “So these fancy breeds are maintained only so they could be violently slaughtered for a their flesh? That actually sounds like something a sadist or a degenerate would do.”

Omni: “I only eat humanely-raised animals.”
Me: “Only means exclusively so I guess this means that you never eat out and you’ve got a ton of money. Were they ‘humanely slaughtered’ as well?”

Omni: “Yes, they were, in fact.”
Me: “Using humane electrified water baths and humane bolts in the brain and humane knives? It’s almost as if you want us to believe in a humane myth of some sort.”

Omni: “I buy my eggs from a lady in town and I know her chickens are treated well. I see them myself.”
Me: “Where did she buy her chicks? What happened to the male chicks at that hatchery? What happens when her backyard chickens are no longer productive? What happens when they need medical care? Even if that model is a feel-good solution for you, it is a mathematical impossibility for the rest of the world. Exactly how many earths do you think we have to work with here?”

Omni: “Well, fine, but what about soy?”
Me: “Yes, what about it?”

Omni: “Growing soy destroys the rainforests.”
Me: “You’re confused again. That’s not the soy I eat. That’s the soy you eat. How could this be? First the South American rainforest is razed for cattle grazing - if you eat cow flesh, you are responsible for this - and then when it’s been thoroughly grazed, soybeans are mono-cropped to go into animal feed and the petroleum industry, and then more rainforest is destroyed to graze cattle and the cycle continues until, viola, no more rainforest. I’m happy to keep talking about soy if you’d like.”  

Omni: “Well, what I don’t understand is why you eat all those fake foods.”
 Me: “Vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – yes, there really is some next-level synthetic sorcery going on here.”

Omni: “But why do you eat things that are imitating hamburgers and chicken if you’re so opposed to eating meat?”
Me: “Most of us did not grow up on vegan communes so there are old familiar tastes some of us like to re-experience. The beauty of it is that we can recreate these textures and flavors without violence and without destroying the environment. I actually have a question now: What is up with you adding plant seasonings to the hamburgers and chickens you eat? Also, why don’t the animals on your plate still look like the animals they were if you’re so hunky-dory with everything?”

Omni: “What about my canine teeth?”
Me: “Be honest: Is tooth sharpness the new penis length? Because I don’t mean for you to get a complex over it, but, dude, have you ever given your ‘ferocious’ canine teeth a good examination in the mirror? Do I need to spell it out for you? They aren’t that much to write home about. Do you really think you would instill terror in the hearts of zebras everywhere with those little things? Why don’t you compare canine teeth with a lion in his or her natural setting? Let’s see how your teeth stack up. Oh, also, let’s check how wide your jaw can open.”

Omni: “That’s all fine and good but I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat salad.”

Me: “You clawed your way to ‘the top’? No, dude, you inherited the role you were born into as a human. Even if I believed that oppressing others were an achievement, the position you enjoy ‘at the top’ has nothing to do with any accomplishment of yours. The only thing you’re clawing at is any limp excuse that pops into your head.”

Omni: “Whatever. Being vegan is fine for some people but you shouldn’t try to force your views on others. It’s my personal choice.”
Me: “Selectively breeding sentient beings into existence in order to maintain a steady supply of future meals because we see animals as commodities we can do what we will with – this has nothing to do with forcing your views on others, right? Also, with water pollution and scarcity, air pollution, climate change and countless other examples of ecological devastation to which animal agribusiness is a or the major contributor, isn’t eating animals imposing your ‘personal choice’ upon others?”

Omni: “Animals would take over the world if we didn’t eat them.”
Me: “Seriously? Put the bong down. Have you really put any real thought or research into this idea? If we did nothing with the animals alive today and simply left them alone, they would die after too long due to the structural defects that we have intentionally bred into them to make them grow at an astonishingly fast pace in order to satisfy our desire for an abundant, cheap supply of their flesh and secretions. On a related note, the vast majority of these animals also wouldn’t be able to reproduce on their own due to our direct involvement in engineering their very bodies to optimize affordable and consumable portions of their corpses. It’s really twisted if you think about it, which I have. When an industry runs itself as a matter of course like something straight from the pages of a terrifying dystopian novel, maybe moral people should do everything we can to distance ourselves from supporting that industry. Last, have you ever heard of supply and demand? If people don’t eat them, they won’t be bred into existence simply to be killed.”

Omni: “But all those animals would go to waste if we didn’t eat them.”
Me: “Insert the word ‘black people’ for animals and ‘enslave’ for eat and your logic is virtually interchangeable with that of a 19th century slavery apologist. Congratulations! Further, maybe women who aren’t raped ‘go to waste’ from a rapist’s perspective. You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel to justify eating corpses here.”

Omni: “I heard somewhere that vegans actually kill more animals because of all the plants you eat. I guess you don’t care about mice and voles.”
Me: “Ah! Now you’re a voice for the mice and voles. How good of you. All of us create some kind of negative environmental repercussions. What we try to do as vegans is minimize the harm we might cause. If you are truly concerned about the mice and voles – which I am guessing is about as sincere as your concern about plants ‘feeling pain’ – you will want to reduce your consumption of eating animals because, by and large, the animals in fields that would be killed by machinery and chemicals live in the monoculture environment of cereal crops that are grown to feed the animals you eat. So, again, if genuinely you want to reduce harm, well, you know what I’m going to say...”

Omni: “Okay, well, the problem with you vegans is you’re so self-righteous.”
Me: “The paradigm you’ve set up is we can either be hypocrites or self-righteous, and, if I may quote myself, I’d rather be self-righteous than self-wrongteous."

Omni: “I just want to eat meat, okay?”
Me: “Why didn’t you just say that? Not that I’m okay with it but did we have to go through this whole song-and-dance when that’s really what it’s about?”


  1. Booyah! The penis one is the best - nothing to write home about... ROFL!! ;)

  2. Nice. One thing you can add is that humans do not have canines as much as they have incisors.

  3. Thank you so much for the snark! I had an experience where I had a librarian confront me when I was checking out a vegan cookbook. She felt the need to tell me a few of the fine points you raised. I wish I would have been able to think on my feet more quickly. At the very least I wish I would have told her to put down the bong. I love it!

  4. Ugh, vegan power, I would have been so pissed. I had a cashier do that to me once at a bookstore and I complained to the manager. Not cool!

  5. As always, perfect in every effing way!!

  6. Don't call non-vegans 'omnivores'.

  7. Omnivore, vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan... I missed the one where you (presumably) eat meat, eggs, dairy, honey, grains, fruits and vegetables but won't call yourself an omnivore? That's a funny looking high-horse you're on. What would you rather us call it??

  8. I love this so much! I want to get my inner snark on so much sometimes, just reading this made me feel better. Thanks!


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