Do Vegans Feel Holier Than Thou?
How can we think badly of those who consume meat when some are also our family members and friends?
Veganism advocates a more compassionate lifestyle, but we are aware that by itself, it doesn’t make anyone holy or pure. We never claim so anyway. It’s just not fair that while we are talking about how to save the poor animals from suffering, discussion would almost always sway towards how vegans can be unkind to other humans, or how meat-eaters can be really compassionate, which is overshadowing and missing the whole point…
Our vegan right is simple – the right to not support killing, harming or exploiting of any sentient being. Whether one agrees with our right or not, we are not going to kill, harm or exploit any sentient beings anyway…
Philosophy aside, our motto is much simpler… In the words of the Buddha,
“All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter.” – From http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/khuddaka/dhp/ab0/index.html
I certainly don’t believe vegans are out to put others down with the “I am holier than thou because I am vegan” or “I am more compassionate than you; you have no compassion”. We simply speak the truth about what is happening, as to whether others choose to go this way, that’s their choice…
In the course of talking about veganism to my friends etc. I have come across many reactions, from peaceful acceptance to violent opposition. And the reactions from both extremes of these people indirectly revealed their natural compassion.
Certainly there are meat eaters who are compassionate and vegans who are mean. But this is not a compassion contest. It’s more of growing our own compassion and aligning ourselves with what is natural.