Why I’m No Longer Vegan

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The way that I would write this post has been playing on my mind for some time now. I have drafted it a number of times, and each time discard it because it seems a bit too touchy feely, and doesn’t really convey the message I want to get across.

Not being the sort of person that is known for sugar coating things, here is it, raw and un-homogenized.

I’m sure that the title of this piece is enough to get those who just glimpse at it all fired up and ready to send of a barrage of emails to me calling me every name under the sun. All I ask is that before you do, please hear me out. And instead of emailing me, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

So why am I no longer vegan?

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Because I want to fit in again.
Because I have got to the point in my life where I’ve decided that if other vegans are going to ignore me because I dare promote veganism, they can damn well hate me because I am an ex-vegan.
Because I’m finally believing the line the world won’t go vegan overnight. If that’s the case then why should I be vegan?
Because I’ve had enough of being told that I don’t care about animals because I won’t support whatever incremental reform campaign is doing the rounds at the time.
Because I’ve had had enough of offering organisations advice on things, only to have it ignored.
Because I am totally confused as to why I get more support for the vegan related things that I do from my friends who aren’t vegan or vegetarian than I do from the vegan community.
Because I am sick of seeing cattle train after cattle train full of animals headed off to slaughter, only to turn on the TV and see the latest campaign about a different animal wanting a bigger cage.
Because I have had enough of people telling me that it is too much to expect people to go vegan overnight, and that they have to transition to it. Umm hang on. I went from eating steak and eggs to vegan overnight.
Because I have had enough of people telling me that hunters are barbarians and that they will never go vegan. Umm, hang on again, I was once a hunter.
Because I can’t understand how a flying pig ad is going to stop the 300,000 plus lambs that are being killed every week.
Because I have had enough of people complaining that the world won’t go vegan overnight, and not actually do anything to help the world go vegan overnight.
Because I’ve had enough of the whole social acceptance idea. I honestly thought this was a social justice movement, and that we would keep going until every cage is empty, not every cage is bigger.
Because I have had enough of organisations ignoring ideas and suggestions because it wasn’t theirs to begin with.
Because I have had enough of going out to dinner with female friends, ordering something vegan whilst they order something else, and having the vegan meal given to one of them when it arrives at the table.
Because in the nearly 20 years I have been vegan, my family has not once asked me why I made that choice. Preferring to believe it is a fad I will grow out of.
Because I can no longer bear the pain of seeing other vegans promote some sort of incremental reform of a system/industry they reject.

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I could keep going, though I think I might stop it there, as I am sure you get the point I am trying to make.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I have to tell everyone that I am no longer vegan. I thank you for the time that you spent reading this post, and any of the other ones on this site.

That is what I would have written down if I believed veganism was about me, except I don’t. I am doing this for those animals that are oppressed, commodified and exploited on a daily basis. This is about doing what is right for the animals, not what is accepted by everyone else.

Veganism is about stopping the cattle in the line at the slaughterhouse from having a captive bolt fired into their skulls.

Veganism is about removing animal agriculture’s requirement for grain which artificially inflates the price.

Veganism is about climate change
Veganism is about standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Veganism is about changing society’s views on animals, both human and non-human, and viewing them as loving beings, not property or a resource to be exploited.

I am sure we have all heard the phrase “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”

Will YOU take a stand for the animals and promote veganism, or will you make it about how you feel, and fall for any campaign that makes you feel better or gives you a fleeting moment of self-gratification?

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12 thoughts on “Why I’m No Longer Vegan”

  1. Cameron. I can relate to what you are saying, but can’t see why you are stopping being vegan. Being vegan is also about you taking responsibility for the impact you have on animals. It sounds to me from your blog, and perhaps I’m reading it wrong, that you have thrown up your hands in frustration and decided to go back to the mainstream because people aren’t changing quickly enough. There are as many views about how to change the world as there are people in it. Collectively they do a bit here and a bit there. But the most important thing is to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.

  2. Kerry, you didnt read his post carefully enough!!
    Hi Cameron. I agree. IF one has spare time, use it to promote veganism. Get the footage and pictures out there. Give the help needed with meals. whatever u can.
    Go easy on judging other vegans and those who are movin in the right direction.
    Wish i had some spare time like i used to : (.

    • Peter,
      We all have varying amounts of ‘disposable’ time, some have a lot, some have a very limited amount.
      All I am asking and encouraging people to do is to make the most efficient use of that time.

      My desire for this post was to encourage people to take a stand for what they believe in.

      I don’t believe veganism I ‘about me’ or how I am accepted by the wider community, or even the vegan one for that matter.

      It is about doing all that I can to stop the trains/trucks/ships, to stop the number of people dying from a preventable diet related illness every year, to stop the price of grain from rising due to the demand that animal agriculture puts on it, and so on.

      These are all social justice issues, not ones of social acceptance.

  3. What bothers me is that you seem to be ridiculing vegans who don’t do things the way y ou think they should be done. An example would be Renata Halpin. She actively promotes a vegan message but i see she also supports ban live export & make it possible campaigns. I protest live export but always use it as a platform for talking about Veganism as the answer to that and many issues. Your underlying concern about these campaigns promoting “better” animal use is valid but should we not seek to capitalise off this partially activated group of supporters and try to take them all the way on the journey rather than ostracize them because they don’t understand? I clearly understand your point of view what I don’t understand is what you would have happen instead? Are you dreaming a dream of RSPCA & AA & ALQ reforming to nothing but a vegan message? Or are you chastising vegans for their approach as you see it? Do you have a strategic approach to suggest to unite the groups into a movement? What tactics are you suggesting? How do we go forward in a way that will invoke maximum change?

    • Hi Colleen,
      Thank you for your comment, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

      First of all, I am not setting out to ridicule anyone for what they do. All I am trying to do is to get them to think about ‘why’ they are doing it, and to encourage discussion on alternatives.

      That being said, my level of confusion increases daily when I see and hear people who are vegan promoting and advocating for a practice they do not believe in.

      As a vegan, I no longer participate in the process or system of animal use, so why should I deceptively encourage others to continue with a practice, even if it is via the baby steps approach, that I find morally reprehensible, hoping the one day they will jump on the ‘vegan bandwagon’?

      If I was talking to someone about giving up smoking, I wouldn’t tell them to cut back to smoking menthols or ultras or whatever the grading system is, I would encourage them to stop straight away and offer them whatever support I can to make sure they do quit.

      Or using another example, as I am a former hunter, if I was talking to another hunter about this ‘sport’ would you encourage and support me telling them to get more target practice to become a better shot and to upgrade their ammunition from the standard .3x to .4x as it is a bigger round with more stopping power, and there by increasing the chances of a one shot kill. Knowing that doing this is only encroaching them to keep doing what they are doing, and the chances of them actually stopping hunting are very low?
      Or, would you expect me to do all that I can, as a former hunter, to stop them from going hunting in the first place?

      I only have 24 hours in my day, just like everyone else, and I choose to use them as efficiently as possible, getting the biggest return on investment. As such, and until I am shown otherwise, I know that that only think that will reduce the demand for animal products is for people to go vegan. And the only way to get them to go vegan is to put it out there so they know about it.

      Talking to someone about happy meat or cage free eggs isn’t going to stop them from consuming gelatine, or wearing leather or wool.

      What I would like to have happen is that all those people who are vegan actually take a stand and start promoting veganism. Leave the promotion of happy meat and baby steps to those who have a vested interest in the outcome, like the RSPCA, the greens and the AMIEU.

      I have no intention of uniting any of the groups in Queensland or anywhere else for that matter. It is up to the members the respective groups to do that, not me.

      How do we ‘move forward’? The vegan Australia Day BBQ is a good start. Get all the people who are vegan in Australia to join in this event. Make it about veganism, not the respective groups or any other hidden agenda.

      The more we shout out that we are vegan the more the word, term, and choices become accepted and the more chances we have of getting the vegan world that we all want.

      • Thanks for your response. I agree that we need to promote veganism, I guess where we disagree is I see SICs as a opportunity to do that. If I was saying just “ban live export” full stop. That would be wrong but i say “ban live export & go vegan because….” I for one would like to see a similar demo to the ALV / animal equality ones, what are your thoughts on that? Or all AL groups uniting to fund thier own vegan messages? We can put our money where our mouth is literally to share the most unknown of animal exploitation issues in dairy & eggs, or would you consider this still a SIC campaign (albeit two, so technically a DIC!) If nothing else you have to give AA credit they have effective marketing of thier issues & I think to really get the message out we need to take some lessons about that.

  4. Hey Cameron, well written!

    I would cite Farm Sanctuary’s experience with the gestation crate and battery cage bans in California.

    By working with other organisations, some abolitionist some welfare, thousands got out onto the streets to talk to people about cage systems, which is really a discussion about where your food comes from.

    As a result of this cage systems were banned, hundreds of vegetarians who were involved in the campaign went vegan, hundreds of welfarists went vegetarian, and millions had the unfortunate experience of having where food comes from rammed into their consciousness on TV, radio, newspapers, billboards and at the polling booth.

    The result is that the number of vegans in California skyrocketed, there are now vegan cafes on every street corner and nobody ever asks “what’s a vegan?”.

    If somebody is doing something that is making people think about where their food comes from, that is a huge opportunity for vegans to harness the awareness and drive the vegan message home.

    No movement is successful divided. Telling someone to go vegan is not necessarily the best way to get someone to go vegan.

    We have suffering pigs and chickens on our TV right now. We should all be asking everyone if they have seen the ads and what hey think about them, as a way to introduce the vegan discussion.

  5. I can relate to the frustration you’ve expressed, Cameron, but I cannot at all understand why that would make you stop being vegan. Is it not about not contributing to the suffering and eventual violent death of our innocent, non human brothers and sisters?

  6. Hi Frank. You made the same mistake I did, only read down to the ad. The section under the ad is what it’s all about.

    • Thanks for pointing that out Kerry. Good to know the community is not loosing Cameron, who apparently is passionate about the suffering of non human animals. Thank you.

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