Vegans: animal lovers or a fanatical sect? by Maria Bilyk

From the very beginning of human evolution, from the time of Homo sapiens or maybe even earlier, all human beings have eaten meat and animals have been part of their food chain. To tell the truth, various myths exist also about this: for example, it is said that some of our predecessors didn’t eat meat but got most of their nourishment from fruits and nuts.

In the middle of the 20th century, a new social movement emerged, known as vegetarianism. After a few years, it already consisted of several different philosophies, the oldest of which is veganism. Interest in this has vastly increased since 2010, when vegan markets, shops and restaurants started to open in many countries. In short, vegan ideology maintains that humans shouldn’t exploit animals and, for this reason, they avoid all animal products in their everyday lives. This works well in theory, but how does it work in practice?

Nowadays, the world is divided mostly into carnivorous and vegan people. Between them there is a huge conflict, as they see each other as enemies. Given that we are living in a highly technological society, this war is seen mostly on the Internet.

Last month in Italy this question was on everyone’s lips. The death of a boy named Emanuele, who loved fishing and hunting and was killed in a night club, caused many reactions from vegans on social networks. As an Italian article reports, some said that it was karma, others said they didn’t feel any pity for him, and there were even those who said they were glad. Under some of the articles about Emanuele, in discussions about the horrible crime, comments by animal rights extremists kept coming, with no consideration for the impact of the senseless death of a twenty-year-old. For example, one vegan commented via social media that a person such as Emanuele who didn’t respect the life of others (meaning the animals he murdered during his life) doesn’t deserve respect himself.

The first people to notice what was going on were the admins of a satirical Italian Facebook group, Anche i vegani muoiono (even vegans die), who found and published one of the numerous posts about the boy. There was a photo of Emanuele, smiling after catching a carp. The comment read:  “Emanuele​ was killed. The fish too” (my translation).

Personally, I don’t think this is a positive reaction. I don’t consider myself vegan or vegetarian, even though I don’t eat red meat and I prefer vegetables, but I’ve never thought that a meat-eater should be killed. Society has developed so much that it seems people don’t have anything interesting to do but to insult each other. Obviously, this is not only a personal problem but a social, or rather, a world problem.

Vegans are trying to protect animals and this is a good thing, but this doesn’t justify  insulting people. I think that the problem is linked to socio-cultural issues and the solution must pass through school. We need to teach our children to respect each other regardless of their lifestyle choices. I also think that we, as adults, can’t impose decisions on our sons or daughters. We can only guide them and it will be their choice which diet to follow. Unfortunately, this war has been going on for ages, as it’s in people’s nature to insult others. However, is it acceptable to insult a young man who was murdered just because he hunted and fished? Should vegans be more respectful? Maybe, in the future a new movement will arise that will protect fruit and vegetables, and what we will have then?


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