I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have offered me a non-vegan food item and, when I’ve politely refused, have been told, “Oh, don’t be silly, one won’t hurt”. No matter what the item may be (often nothing more than a lolly or some small nibble), the assumption seems to be that it would be worth breaking my 15 years of veganism to eat it. Which got me to thinking “why would people assume that I would violate my moral beliefs just for a passing fancy?”
Perhaps the answer is that they genuinely don’t think that it makes a difference whether you eat the odd “cheat” item or not. But, of course, contributing to the demand for items made from animals will ensure that yet more animals will be abused and killed for our fleeting “treats”.
We often don’t want to know what actually goes on behind the closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses. We can only justify our habits by ignoring the harsh realities that lie behind them. What harm will it do to eat that chewy sweet or ice cream?
Over time, I’ve figured out a way of letting friends and family know how animals are abused for food that seems to work much better than just launching into a horror story or lecture. These days, when someone offers me a lolly or chip that contains animal-derived ingredients, rather than simply refuse, I say, “No thanks, I don’t eat that. You probably don’t want to know why”.
Of course, they just can’t help but ask why! And when they do, I stick with a short, simple answer. Rather than just saying that I don’t eat red cochineal food colouring or gelatine, for example, I tell them that the food contains crushed beetles or boiled cows’ hooves.
All of a sudden, instead of trying to convince me why I should eat their snack, they find themselves reconsidering eating it themselves! So don’t be scared to tell others how animals are killed for food. And, of course, always have some tasty cruelty-free snacks handy to offer others instead.
Posted by Claire Fryer