I'm the only vegan I know

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I just want to start off by saying that I consider veganism to be an ethical lifestyle that is against all animal exploitation, so far as is practicable and possible (vegan society definition). So, if someone doesn't eat any animal products, but still wears animal skin or fur, he's not vegan. If someone doesn't eat animal products, but will buy them for those who do, she's not vegan.

Most of the people in my life claim to be animal lovers. They love their dogs, their cats - they love specific species, like seals or eagles. But they're happy to eat animals and support animal exploitation. This, to me, is so hypocritical.

My mother, for instance, claims to be vegan. She buys leather, wool, silk, and beeswax without a second thought. She buys meat, dairy, and eggs for her omnivorous family members. She says she loves animals and she owns dogs, who happened to be bought from a breeder. She's outraged by people who use shock collars or otherwise cause pain to their dogs. And yet, she doesn't see any harm in paying someone to kill pigs just because her son wants to eat bacon.

Most of my family members love dogs. They love dogs more than I do, in terms of how excited they are to spend time with them. They treat their dogs with the level of care most people treat children. And yet, they're happy to support industries who kill or cause cruelty to baby animals who are only days old.

My best friend loves her cat more than most people. And she rescued a dog from the shelter because he was going to be put down. She was so sad about this dog (whoe she didn't know) losing his life that she opened her already crowded home to him and spent her limited finances to buy him heartworm medication and get a trainer to help him with behavioural issues. And yet, when I remarked that pigs were cute, all she could say was that she liked to eat them.

I don't understand how people can live such contradictory lives. They are such hypocrites. As if that weren't bad enough, they all attack me for being, "too extreme." They try to make me feel guilty because I don't want to buy animal products for my neighbour or cook animal products for my grandparents. They think it's strange that I'm not a "dog person," (I think dogs are great, for the record, and I also think cows are) and yet choose to be vegan. They hate that I don't condone their lifestyle, even if the only evidence is from my actions (and granted, tears often, if they're cooking animals while I'm there). I'm sure they wouldn't dare cook a dog or buy a dead cat, even if it was sor someone else's dinner. But then they say things like, "I love animals." Not specific animals or species, just animals in general.

I choose not to lecture or bring up veganism verbally, because I know others will just become defensive. I figure, when they're ready to consider a change, they'll bring it up to me. The most I'll ever do is recommend a book or documentary, and it's very rare that I'll do even that.

I feel so alone though. It's especially hard because I have a few plant-based family members who call themselves vegan (vegans who buy cow skin and flesh?) and as a result I just come across to the rest of the family as an extremest. There's no one in my life whom I can talk to about all of this hypocrisy. It makes me so sad to witness the minute by minute cruelty to animals and I can't even share that I'm upset by it because literally everyone I know supports it and doesn't even think it's wrong. It makes me angry that this injustice is happening without even acknowledgent that it's wrong. I had a nightmare that someone fried a chicken (at a restaurant) and gave it to me, laughing. In my dream, I was sobbing and digging a grave for the chicken, and I woke up crying - the tears had been real. I told my brother and he just thought it was funny.

Do you ever feel alone as a vegan? How do you handle being the only vegan you know? What do you do when people whom you love belittle you for being ethical?
 

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I am a hypocrite. I will leave out the embarrassing details. But, I will provide a less embarrassing example of my hypocrisy.

My family will go on a nature drive from Phoenix to Sedona on Saturday. It is about a 150 mile round trip. That is lots of carbon dioxide and wear & tear on a vehicle. This is bad for the environment and is not healthy for my fellow hogs.
 

Michael UK

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I follow a plant based diet and do not consume any animal products; my sons however are full-blown meat lovers. When I shop for groceries I buy meat and dairy products for them and when cooking dinner I might say, cook a vegetable curry for me, and a lamb curry for them. This is not hypocrisy, it is pragmatism. I would prefer them to have a plant based diet, but they don't. Live your life the way you want to, and let others do the same. The most important thing in life is to be happy with what you personally are doing and to try not to worry about what everyone else is doing.
 
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I'm really looking to hear from other vegans who can relate. I'm not looking to convince people to choose compassion and end their support of animal exploitation. There are plenty of documentaries, books, youtube channels, and activists who do a better job from a better platform. If you're interested in learning about veganism or making some changes, there are plenty of other threads here - not to mention the countless other resources available. This is a vegan forum. Veganism is an ethical lifestyle that seeks to exclude animal exploitation. If you support animal exploitation - through your money or actions - you're not vegan. As a vegan who feels very much alone, I'm simply asking for a bit of support from other vegans who maybe feel sad, too. I really don't care why you might support animal explotation; I care about the victims. Because they are suffering right now and no one seems to care and it breaks my heart. Because of covid-19, I've had to walk past countless dead animals because the queue wraps through the meat aisle. I cry every time. No one's taste pleasure justifies the needless torture and death of an innocent being. I seemtheir corpses and I hear their screams and people just walk by like it's nothing.
 

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One of your questions was 'How do you handle being the only vegan you know?' I replied to your question, therefore it is perfectly valid that I responded.

I handle being the only vegan I know by means of compromise and pragmatism without jeopardising my own personal values in that I myself do not consume any animal products. In this way I maintain a strong and loving relationship with my family. Vegans comprise some 1% of the population and we will be in the minority 'til the end of time, so you need to find a way of coping with your emotions otherwise you will continue to struggle.

Your response to my post rather indicates that you only want to see replies from people who are able to validate your own feelings, so I will step aside now. I would say however that you do appear to be very sensitive and this will be your undoing if you are not able to get a handle on things. Life is difficult, and unfair and you need to toughen up - and I don't meant this in an unkind way. I work in a hospital and death and illness is a part of my life everyday, particularly at this difficult time. If I hadn't developed resilience I wouldn't be able to cope - it is essential that you develop resilience also.
 

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I was about thirty before I stopped eating meat. I stopped wearing leather and using other products made from dead animals at that time too.

I had always loved animals. The connection just hadn't clicked for me before then. Did that obliviousness make me a hypocrite? Perhaps.

But by that measure, we're all hypocrites, one way or another. I know omnivores who go to extraordinary lengths to rescue animals. I know vegans who bemoan the fact that there are stray cats starving outside their front door while sipping their daily glass of wine with lunch.

We could all be doing more. It's best to focus on improving oneself.
 

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I'm really looking to hear from other vegans who can relate. I'm not looking to convince people to choose compassion and end their support of animal exploitation. There are plenty of documentaries, books, youtube channels, and activists who do a better job from a better platform. If you're interested in learning about veganism or making some changes, there are plenty of other threads here - not to mention the countless other resources available. This is a vegan forum. Veganism is an ethical lifestyle that seeks to exclude animal exploitation. If you support animal exploitation - through your money or actions - you're not vegan. As a vegan who feels very much alone, I'm simply asking for a bit of support from other vegans who maybe feel sad, too. I really don't care why you might support animal explotation; I care about the victims. Because they are suffering right now and no one seems to care and it breaks my heart. Because of covid-19, I've had to walk past countless dead animals because the queue wraps through the meat aisle. I cry every time. No one's taste pleasure justifies the needless torture and death of an innocent being. I seemtheir corpses and I hear their screams and people just walk by like it's nothing.

Hi chickenmammalove,

It's natural to cry for others who suffer.

If your pain prevents you from living a healthy, reasonably happy life, then that's not good for anyone (including the animals). Remember that other people will be inspired by your vegan life, but not if your vegan life appears to make you miserable.

Just think of the most influential vegans in the world. Those people lend their huge fame and wealth to help animals, but so many animals continue to suffer. Ordinary people like you and me can't expect to work miracles.

If you are a spiritual person, maybe you can think of the work of Jesus the Christ, or of the Quan Yin Bodhisattva of Buddhism. These individuals gave up a normal life in order to help people - imagine their frustration when people continue to cause suffering. According to the Buddhist stories, the Quan Yin Bodhisattva can manifest four heads and a thousand arms - she needs these in order to hear and offer help to all the world's suffering beings.

I really want to gently suggest that you seek counseling. Not because there's something wrong with empathy and sadness, but because your pain seems to be debilitating. In my 20s and 30s, I sought counseling with a therapist - the work improved my life greatly.



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I'm sorry I reached out to this forum. I thought I would receive support, that maybe I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Now I feel more alone than ever.

Michael, you're not vegan. You're plant based. There's a difference. If you're using your money to support animal agriculture, you're not vegan by definition. That's why I spelled out the definition in my OP. You can justify your actions all you want - omnivores do it all the time. It doesn't change the fact that you value your sons' taste pleasure or your family getting along more than the lives of many animals.

Not that I see anything wrong with therapy, but I find it confounding that your reaction to my experience is that my emotions are uncalled for or debilitating given the situation at hand. Would you say the same thing if I had those reactions to known human suffering? If, say, I witnessed child trafficking or abuse on a regular basis and couldn't make it stop and everyone around me acted like it was normal? What if it was dogs and cats cut up and wrapped in plastic instead of pigs and cows? I choose to not bury my head in the sand regarding the atrocities we inflict on billions of animals. I also, despite society's tendencyntomdo so, don't value one species over the other. I don't think there's anything wrong with having an emotional reaction to babies being murdered and feeling helpless to stop it and witnessing people I love and respect support this cruelty. I thought in coming here that others might have had a similar experience. There are certainly many vegan youtubers who have and will sometimes share it in their videos. I was just hoping to have an actual exchange and thought that a vegan forum would be a space to find like minded people. I guess not.
 

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I'm sorry I reached out to this forum. I thought I would receive support, that maybe I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Now I feel more alone than ever.

Michael, you're not vegan. You're plant based. There's a difference. If you're using your money to support animal agriculture, you're not vegan by definition. That's why I spelled out the definition in my OP. You can justify your actions all you want - omnivores do it all the time. It doesn't change the fact that you value your sons' taste pleasure or your family getting along more than the lives of many animals.

Not that I see anything wrong with therapy, but I find it confounding that your reaction to my experience is that my emotions are uncalled for or debilitating given the situation at hand. Would you say the same thing if I had those reactions to known human suffering? If, say, I witnessed child trafficking or abuse on a regular basis and couldn't make it stop and everyone around me acted like it was normal? What if it was dogs and cats cut up and wrapped in plastic instead of pigs and cows? I choose to not bury my head in the sand regarding the atrocities we inflict on billions of animals. I also, despite society's tendencyntomdo so, don't value one species over the other. I don't think there's anything wrong with having an emotional reaction to babies being murdered and feeling helpless to stop it and witnessing people I love and respect support this cruelty. I thought in coming here that others might have had a similar experience. There are certainly many vegan youtubers who have and will sometimes share it in their videos. I was just hoping to have an actual exchange and thought that a vegan forum would be a space to find like minded people. I guess not.

I hear what you are saying, and I thank you for saying it.

Your empathy is very strong. Have you considered participating in direct-action animal rights activism? It takes a special kind of person to do this work. It is legally very risky. Very very risky. I myself have never done this kind of work, but you might have the right stuff to be effective. Have you thought about volunteering for groups like Last Chance for Animals?

Or, a less risky but possibly more effective idea is to go work for Beyond Meat. Their ultra-realistic vegan meats are convincing a lot of meat eaters to eat less meat.

Action conquers despair.
 
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silva

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I'm sorry I reached out to this forum. I thought I would receive support, that maybe I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Now I feel more alone than ever.

Michael, you're not vegan. You're plant based. There's a difference. If you're using your money to support animal agriculture, you're not vegan by definition. That's why I spelled out the definition in my OP. You can justify your actions all you want - omnivores do it all the time. It doesn't change the fact that you value your sons' taste pleasure or your family getting along more than the lives of many animals.

Not that I see anything wrong with therapy, but I find it confounding that your reaction to my experience is that my emotions are uncalled for or debilitating given the situation at hand. Would you say the same thing if I had those reactions to known human suffering? If, say, I witnessed child trafficking or abuse on a regular basis and couldn't make it stop and everyone around me acted like it was normal? What if it was dogs and cats cut up and wrapped in plastic instead of pigs and cows? I choose to not bury my head in the sand regarding the atrocities we inflict on billions of animals. I also, despite society's tendencyntomdo so, don't value one species over the other. I don't think there's anything wrong with having an emotional reaction to babies being murdered and feeling helpless to stop it and witnessing people I love and respect support this cruelty. I thought in coming here that others might have had a similar experience. There are certainly many vegan youtubers who have and will sometimes share it in their videos. I was just hoping to have an actual exchange and thought that a vegan forum would be a space to find like minded people. I guess not.
So how much do you do for the animals? Do the people you call hypocrites eat vegan with you, or ask you for recipes, or is your condemnation so much they just don't ever want to discuss it, knowing meatless mondays or eating plant based lunches will never be good enough?
The reality is that our cultures have normalized using animals. Just think of how few rights anyone but white men had in the 50's.
I can relate to your feelings, but I also feel they're very counterproductive.
By your feelings that someone is not 'vegan' enough you're dismissing those advocates who've done more to advance animal rights than the youtubers who rant and rave and then get caught eating fish!

Animals aren't helped by how strict you are, or how much you cried, or how much you condemn others by not being more like you. Animals are helped by getting more people to realize they don't need to use them--even if they just use them less.

When Michael Pollan wrote In Defense of Food, it wasn't about going vegan, yet that had more impact on peoples dietary choices than anything I can remember. All the vegan books I've read in my life, no one has come to me and asked me about them, yet they would after reading his book.
I may have only persuaded a couple people to become fully vegan (although I'm sure not in your opinion), but I know I have led people to eat less meat, less dairy, and discover more plant based meals
 
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So how much do you do for the animals? Do the people you call hypocrites eat vegan with you, or ask you for recipes, or is your condemnation so much they just don't ever want to discuss it, knowing meatless mondays or eating plant based lunches will never be good enough?
The reality is that our cultures have normalized using animals. Just think of how few rights anyone but white men had in the 50's.
I can relate to your feelings, but I also feel they're very counterproductive.
By your feelings that someone is not 'vegan' enough you're dismissing those advocates who've done more to advance animal rights than the youtubers who rant and rave and then get caught eating fish!

Animals aren't helped by how strict you are, or how much you cried, or how much you condemn others by not being more like you. Animals are helped by getting more people to realize they don't need to use them--even if they just use them less.

When Michael Pollan wrote In Defense of Food, it wasn't about going vegan, yet that had more impact on peoples dietary choices than anything I can remember. All the vegan books I've read in my life, no one has come to me and asked me about them, yet they would after reading his book.
I may have only persuaded a couple people to become fully vegan (although I'm sure not in your opinion), but I know I have led people to eat less meat, less dairy, and discover more plant based meals
Why are you attacking me? I don't voice these thoughts or opinions to non-vegans. That's why I feel so alone, because I know that in saying what's on my heart, I'll just invite defensiveness or drive people away. That's why I came here, but evidently the vegans or vegan-curious here are just as defensive as the non-vegans in my life. A person is either vegan or not - there's no, "vegan enough." The vegan youtubers I'm talking about are active in the the movement. People such as Bitesize Vegan or Those Annoying Vegans or Earthling Ed.

In real life, I do my best to lead by example, cook plant-based meals for others, I'll ask people to adopt animals in lieu of bday or xmas gifts, and encourage the ethical choices they do make, like adopting a dog or going plant-based. If I think a situation will be too emotional (like someone cooking pigs), I'll simply avoid it so as not to bring that negativity, because I know they won't understand why I'm upset - they'll just think I'm weird and extreme for being upset.

I repeat, I came here - to a VEGAN FORUM - because I feel alone amidst the suffering which I witness daily. I was hoping to exchange with others who feel similarly. If I make you feel defensive, ask yourself why (if you're not doing anything wrong, why would you feel defensive?). I'm not looking to debate or argue here. I'm not looking to convince anyone to go vegan here. I'm just looking for support. Someone to say, "I hear you. I feel sad, too. You're not the only one." Evidently, there are very few people who actually care about or are saddened by the victims.
 
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I hear what you are saying, and I thank you for saying it.

Your empathy is very strong. Have you considered participating in direct-action animal rights activism? It takes a special kind of person to do this work. It is legally very risky. Very very risky. I myself have never done this kind of work, but you might have the right stuff to be effective. Have you thought about volunteering for groups like Last Chance for Animals?

Or, a less risky but possibly more effective idea is to go work for Beyond Meat. Their ultra-realistic vegan meats are convincing a lot of meat eaters to eat less meat.

Action conquers despair.
This is a great idea. I'd really like to take part in the anonymous for the voiceless movement, although that's challenging with corona right now.
 
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David3

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This is a great idea. I'd really like to take part in the voice for the voiceless movement, although that's challenging with corona right now.

You can certainly do this, but that choice carries the risk of arrest and imprisonment. You can’t help the animals if you’re stuck in jail. In contrast, if you become a food scientist for Beyond Meat or similar company, you can join the effort to completely replace animal meat with vegan faux meats that many omnivores will prefer. This effort is rapidly gaining traction. As a young person, you have time to get the necessary education to do this work.
 

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"I am a hypocrite. I will leave out the embarrassing details. But, I will provide a less embarrassing example of my hypocrisy.

My family will go on a nature drive from Phoenix to Sedona on Saturday. It is about a 150 mile round trip. That is lots of carbon dioxide and wear & tear on a vehicle. This is bad for the environment and is not healthy for my fellow hogs."
- Hog/wonderfularizona


I should clarify what I meant. I am not faultless so I have no right to pass judgment. I was thinking about this quote from the bible.

Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

Here is another example. I can criticize the Chinese government all day long. Yet, I still buy stuff that is made in China.

Here is yet another example, a famous painter sent me an email saying. "I do not understand your estimation of me. I am just a humble sinner"
 
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I'm sorry there weren't more responses to your first post before this got sidetracked. Many (most?) of us were the "only vegan we know" when we first started, so it's not at all unusual to feel alone and unsupported. It does get easier with time. If you stick with this, become active in animal rights through activism, social media, or politically, you will absolutely meet people. Vegans tend to attract other vegans. Many of us on this forum have been friends for over a decade. :)

How long have you been vegan?
 

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I'm sorry there weren't more responses to your first post before this got sidetracked. Many (most?) of us were the "only vegan we know" when we first started, so it's not at all unusual to feel alone and unsupported. It does get easier with time. If you stick with this, become active in animal rights through activism, social media, or politically, you will absolutely meet people. Vegans tend to attract other vegans. Many of us on this forum have been friends for over a decade. :)

How long have you been vegan?
I think it had something to do with the judgment 🙄 . Not sure who here meets their definition of 'vegan'. Maybe someone in the vegan pets thread.
 
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I'm sorry there weren't more responses to your first post before this got sidetracked. Many (most?) of us were the "only vegan we know" when we first started, so it's not at all unusual to feel alone and unsupported. It does get easier with time. If you stick with this, become active in animal rights through activism, social media, or politically, you will absolutely meet people. Vegans tend to attract other vegans. Many of us on this forum have been friends for over a decade. :)

How long have you been vegan?
I've been vegan for 2 years.
 

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You're from earth?! Omg me too!

Well it can definitely be lonely being a vegan. I'm lucky enough to have one other friend who is vegan, but before I convinced her to be vegan I was alone as well. :)

I'm sure it will change, you will meet some vegan friends at some point in the future, especially if increasing vegan trends continue. So consider this a brief time where you will feel more alone in your veganism than will always be the case.

I hope you can find some sense of community in this forum, although as is the case with everything internet-related there can be some rough edges sometimes.

Maybe you can think of the millions and billions of animals that you are trying to protect as your friends for now :)
 
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