Respect for Non-Vegans?

I was recently inspired by a gentleman who comments on YouTube quite a bit. I can’t recall his username, but he uses an avatar of James Franco with only whites for eyes. In one of his comments on a video created by “Happy Healthy Vegan” discussing  Victoria Arnstein’s renunciation of veganism, Mr Franco-avatar said something like this:

“We must respect all humans, but we do not have to respect their non-veganism.”

And that for me is now the best encapsulation of how I feel about non-vegans. I love, admire, respect, work, and socialize with mostly non-vegans—since I only have the privilege of knowing two real vegans in real life. However—I don’t respect most people’s non-veganism. It doesn’t change how I feel about them as people, and how I feel about them would not change if they did go and stay vegan for the right reasons. My feelings about those non-vegans becoming vegans would not change because I would see their transition to veganism as a natural extrapolation of the incredible people I already think they are.

So when I was doing some research about the movie Earthlings and came across a lengthy review of it on a blog called ‘Foodie Buddha,’ I shared my thoughts:

I disagree entirely with this post. I am relieved to see many [comments] below voicing similar if not exact sentiments to mine. Many folks these days opine that vegans need to be more supportive of people who are not “ready yet” to transition to veganism. While I agree that we need to respect all humans no matter what way of life they lead, we do not have to respect their non-veganism. No amount of omnivorous humans’ hurt feelings caused by zealous vegans can match the magnitude of suffering experienced by the 70 billion animals living on this planet in our food industry. I have zero respect for this author’s non-vegan views of animals, food production, and animals’ rights. Just as we did not have to respect the racist, homophobic, fascist, or misogynistic views [held by some people] in the past (and still today), the time has come that we no longer have to respect inherently cruel views of speciesist humans. Veganism is the next major social justice reform, and the people who are not ready to accept it yet risk standing on the wrong side of history–where future generations will be shaking their heads in amazement at how any human being could ever have participated in something so horrifically cruel and unjust and on such a tremendous scale.

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