Vegans have won this court case but they’re losing hearts and minds – The Independent

Posted: January 6, 2020 at 10:41 am


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When on Friday a court ruled that ethical veganism was akin to a religion and should be protected by law, many vegans celebrated. Yet we should be cautious about doing so.

Jordi Casamitjanas case against his employer was that he was discriminated against on the basis of his veganism he did not want his pension invested in companies linked to animal experiments.

Its been years since I ate, wore, or used animal products, so I guess that makes me an ethical vegan, too though who came up with the definition isnt clear. To me, being a dietary vegan is pretty ethical already.

But resorting to the law to enforce ones rights is hardly the best way to promote support for ones views.

The perception of vegans as shouty turns many people off veganism; nobody likes to think something is being foisted on them, or that theyre being judged. Indeed, many people react badly to it.

The pop singer is a passionate animal rights advocate, telling Vanity Fair in 2019 that her diet also reflects her fashion choices: "Im challenging the system more than ever. Choosing to live as a sustainable vegan activist means wearing more vintage (less waste; loving pieces for longer), playing with the newest eco-materials and technology, and making custom vegan pieces with some of my favorite designers."

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The Clueless star went vegan shortly after wrapping the hit 1990s film and has been a passionate campaigner for animal rights since. Speaking in a video for Compassionate Meals in 2017, she said: "Knowing the truth about where our food comes from is just so disturbing to me. Once you see it, theres no way to go back from that for me."

Getty

The music mogul revealed in a recent interview with The Sun that he decided to give up animal products earlier this year "on a whim", adding that he feels much better as a result.

Getty

"I started for health reasons," Williams told Health in 2019. "I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and I wanted to maintain my performance on the court. Once I started I fell in love with the concept of fueling your body in the best way possible. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like Im doing the right thing for me."

Getty

The American-Israeli actor decided to go vegan eight years ago after learning more about the environmental consequences of eating animal products. Speaking at an Environmental Media Awards benefit, 2017, she said: "Factory farming is responsible for most of the air, water, and land pollution - that disproportionately affects our poor communities as well. So we get to make decisions three times a day, what we do with our planet, and you can make a difference by even once a day or once a week choosing not to eat animals or animal products."

AFP/Getty

While she chooses to refer to herself as plant-based as opposed to vegan, the 'Halo' singer underwent a 22-day vegan challenge with husband Jay-Z in 2013 and is believed to have maintained the diet ever since. Writing in the foreword of The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World by Marco Borges, the couple say: "We used to think of health as a diet some worked for us, some didnt. Once we looked at health as the truth, instead of a diet, it became a mission for us to share that truth and lifestyle with as many people as possible."

Getty/Coachella

The British boxer extolled the virtues of veganism in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2016: "A lot of the meat that people eat has been genetically modified, or if it hasnt then the food the animals been fed has been. Thats tough for a human being to process, so cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever."

Getty

The 'Dangerous Woman' singer announced she was going vegan in November 2018. Speaking to The Daily Mirror in a recent interview, she explained: "A lot of the meat that people eat has been genetically modified, or if it hasnt then the food the animals been fed has been. Thats tough for a human being to process, so cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever."

AFP/Getty

The British singer has been toying with veganism for a while, having been a vegetarian for seven years. Speaking to The Cut in 2018, she revealed that she will "never eat fish or meat again" and eats a predominantly vegan diet.

Getty

The former heavyweight boxing champion revealed he had become vegan in 2010. "I wish I was born this way," he told Fox News in 2011. "When you find out about the processed stuff you have been eating. I wonder why I was crazy all those years."

Getty

The Zero Dark Thirty star decided to go vegan roughly 13 years ago because of low energy. Speaking to W Magazine in 2017, she clarified: "being vegan was not anything I ever wanted to be. I just really was listening to what my body was telling me."

Getty

Mara has been vegan for eight years, telling Harper's Bazaar in 2018 "its better for your health and the environment.

Getty

Reality star Kim Kardashian West revealed that she has started eating a plant-based diet on Instagram in April 2019. Sharing two photographs of vegan dishes on her Instagram story, the 38-year-old wrote: I am eating all plant-based when I am at home.

Getty

The pop singer is a passionate animal rights advocate, telling Vanity Fair in 2019 that her diet also reflects her fashion choices: "Im challenging the system more than ever. Choosing to live as a sustainable vegan activist means wearing more vintage (less waste; loving pieces for longer), playing with the newest eco-materials and technology, and making custom vegan pieces with some of my favorite designers."

Getty

The Clueless star went vegan shortly after wrapping the hit 1990s film and has been a passionate campaigner for animal rights since. Speaking in a video for Compassionate Meals in 2017, she said: "Knowing the truth about where our food comes from is just so disturbing to me. Once you see it, theres no way to go back from that for me."

Getty

The music mogul revealed in a recent interview with The Sun that he decided to give up animal products earlier this year "on a whim", adding that he feels much better as a result.

Getty

"I started for health reasons," Williams told Health in 2019. "I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and I wanted to maintain my performance on the court. Once I started I fell in love with the concept of fueling your body in the best way possible. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like Im doing the right thing for me."

Getty

The American-Israeli actor decided to go vegan eight years ago after learning more about the environmental consequences of eating animal products. Speaking at an Environmental Media Awards benefit, 2017, she said: "Factory farming is responsible for most of the air, water, and land pollution - that disproportionately affects our poor communities as well. So we get to make decisions three times a day, what we do with our planet, and you can make a difference by even once a day or once a week choosing not to eat animals or animal products."

AFP/Getty

While she chooses to refer to herself as plant-based as opposed to vegan, the 'Halo' singer underwent a 22-day vegan challenge with husband Jay-Z in 2013 and is believed to have maintained the diet ever since. Writing in the foreword of The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World by Marco Borges, the couple say: "We used to think of health as a diet some worked for us, some didnt. Once we looked at health as the truth, instead of a diet, it became a mission for us to share that truth and lifestyle with as many people as possible."

Getty/Coachella

The British boxer extolled the virtues of veganism in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2016: "A lot of the meat that people eat has been genetically modified, or if it hasnt then the food the animals been fed has been. Thats tough for a human being to process, so cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever."

Getty

The 'Dangerous Woman' singer announced she was going vegan in November 2018. Speaking to The Daily Mirror in a recent interview, she explained: "A lot of the meat that people eat has been genetically modified, or if it hasnt then the food the animals been fed has been. Thats tough for a human being to process, so cutting it out made me feel immediately better and stronger than ever."

AFP/Getty

The British singer has been toying with veganism for a while, having been a vegetarian for seven years. Speaking to The Cut in 2018, she revealed that she will "never eat fish or meat again" and eats a predominantly vegan diet.

Getty

The former heavyweight boxing champion revealed he had become vegan in 2010. "I wish I was born this way," he told Fox News in 2011. "When you find out about the processed stuff you have been eating. I wonder why I was crazy all those years."

Getty

The Zero Dark Thirty star decided to go vegan roughly 13 years ago because of low energy. Speaking to W Magazine in 2017, she clarified: "being vegan was not anything I ever wanted to be. I just really was listening to what my body was telling me."

Getty

Mara has been vegan for eight years, telling Harper's Bazaar in 2018 "its better for your health and the environment.

Getty

Reality star Kim Kardashian West revealed that she has started eating a plant-based diet on Instagram in April 2019. Sharing two photographs of vegan dishes on her Instagram story, the 38-year-old wrote: I am eating all plant-based when I am at home.

Getty

You dont get people to empathise with you or like you by force, and you dont get people to tolerate your views or win them over by insisting on your rights. Who ever started liking someone because they had a gun held to their head?

Indeed, insisting punctiliously on your rights is a surefire way of getting people to dislike you. Whether in the workplace or on an international level, it causes friction. You may get your way superficially, but it sets up the type of opposition that leads to psychological, cultural and geopolitical tensions.

Even the -ism after the word vegan is a suffix some of us baulk at using suggesting, as is it does, a certain religiosity.

Mr Casamitjanas case also risks encouraging the creep of a wearisome culture of insisting on rights. Sure, human rights and religious faiths must be respected; but the idea has started to filter down through society to petty levels, such as restaurant customers demanding discounts because the menu doesnt exactly match that displayed on the website, or pool-goers complaining because of a closure on one day of the school holidays. First-world problems where a sense of perspective is required.

Using the law to enforce vegans rights is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut a kind of needless passive aggression.

Far better for vegans to demonstrate that we are just like everyone else; that we dont get up at 5am to knit our own hemp, pray to Buddha, perfect our yoga or devise other new ways to single ourselves out.

More effective is to get on with being vegan, showing by quiet long-term example that we are normal, too.

A lot of people who avoid consuming meat, dairy and eggs instinctively know this, which is why the tribunal result received a mixed reaction.

Showing that you dont have to undergo any kind of spiritual conversion, be indoctrinated into anything, sign any documents, have any special qualities or turn your lifestyle upside down to stop being cruel to animals is more likely to be a far more constructive and effective influence in the long run than insisting on our rights.

This tribunal victory has done little to encourage people to give up meat and animal-derived and -tested products. Its a pity the case was ever brought.

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Vegans have won this court case but they're losing hearts and minds - The Independent

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January 6th, 2020 at 10:41 am

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