Veganism has become respectable.

Veganism is not only more popular than ever, but it is now socially acceptable even among carnivores. I remember when people looked upon you as a dangerous extremist if you were a vegan or a vegetarian. You were rejecting the norms of society and threatening the established order. Vegans were only one step short of the IRA in most people’s minds. I set my novel DOWN in 1978/9 when prejudices of all kinds were more prevalent than now.

The cover of DOWN, set in 1978/9. There is no mention of veganism there.

There is no mention of veganism in this book set in 1978/9

Nowadays most people regard veganism as one way of living that is OK. I said in a previous post that this was one option I needed to consider among ways to save the planet, as I know I need to do something.

What has changed about veganism?

We all used to hear two arguments for veganism (and vegetarianism).

  1. Killing animals for food is wrong.
  2. Meat is unhealthy.

Increasingly, the emphasis has shifted to the third argument: that animal husbandry produces greenhouse gasses which contribute to climate change. If you become a vegan you are not only helping prevent cruelty to animals and leading a healthier lifestyle, but you are also helping reduce in greenhouse gasses. You might not accept all three arguments, but any one of them might be enough to persuade you to give veganism a try.

Where do I stand on veganism?

It hard to face the fact that many of my ideas about lifestyle are based on tradition rather than science. When everyone you know eats meat, it’s hard to believe they are wrong. Animal welfare does concern me, but I believe there are many farmers who follow good practice, especially, but not only. organic farmers. I have always thought meat should play a part in a balanced diet.

What about the planet?

The damage methane gas does to the atmosphere has only come to my attention in recent years. Deforestation seemed a bigger problem, as it also makes for habitat loss and biodiversity. The more I look at it, the more I see the case for vegetarianism if not veganism. Let us, however, accept that animal husbandry is the only way to produce food on hill farms and in other habitats in some parts of the world.

A camel, a source of food as well as transport in some countries, where veganism might be problematic

A camel, a source of food as well as transport in some countries, where veganism might be problematic

Am I going to embrace veganism?

It looks like a step too far for someone as inherently conservative as me.  To be honest, I think I will compromise and eat less meat, perhaps choosing organic where possible. Another option we might all consider is “fake-meat” grown in laboratories. Of course we do not know how sustainable that would be on a large scale, but you might like to try it. Above all, we all need to do something. NOW!