If you’re vegan, chances are you’ve heard someone say “you care more about animals than people”, but that’s simply not true.
As a way to ignore the issue at hand, some people like to spin things around and accuse animal advocates of being the uncaring ones.
The reality is that you care deeply about humans too, and that’s probably one of the main draws that led you to this compassionate lifestyle in the first place. Perhaps you stopped eating animals for health, maybe you were shocked when you learned about the environmental damage that the agricultural industries cause, or it could be because you discovered the injustice of feeding 40% of the world’s grain to livestock when millions of people are starving to death. Whatever your reasons, being vegan comes hand in hand with caring about people.
Most animal advocates are also extremely passionate about humanitarian and social justice causes. In fact, brain scans show that vegans and vegetarians have more of an empathetic response to both human and animal suffering than omnivores.
FMRI brain scans revealed that the areas of the brain associated with empathy were much more active in vegans and vegetarians in comparison to omnivores when all three groups of people were shown pictures of human and animal suffering. Written questionnaires on the subject also demonstrated higher empathy levels in vegans and vegetarians.
Where the confusion comes into play is when we get angry about all the wrong doings and harms caused against animals, this anger sometimes gets directed at others and while it’s frustrating when someone appears completely apathetic about animal abuse, attacking them doesn’t help the animals our ourselves. What it does do is create a greater divide of between us and those we are trying to persuade.
Another reason people have the impression that vegans only care about animals and not people is that they cannot understand why, when there are so many serious issues in need of attention, we choose to focus our energies and attention on helping animals. They think that because we are always talking about factory farming or animal experimentation as opposed to environmental destruction or poverty, we obviously don’t care about those causes. The best way to remedy this is next time you are talking with friends, family or the general public, is to mention your concern for these issues too. Bonus points for slipping in some important facts and figures about how eating vegan also helps make a difference to these causes.
The important thing to emphasize to those that question our beliefs and love for animals in this way is that veganism is about connection. Connection between people, animals and the environment, and how we can nurture these connections to create a better, kinder and more sustainable world for all beings. People included!
Of course there will always be some people that love animals but claim to hate humans, but they’re not the majority, and while we may not be able to change their attitude, we can strive to ensure our own empathy and compassion extends to all living creatures.