Vegans are often compared to hippies. We are the subject of many jokes, a lot of them mocking our ‘peace and love’ attitude. Laughing about the fact that we care enough about animals not to eat them, and urge others to stop being the reason these vulnerable beings go through unnecessary cruelty, torture and death.
One of the most famous phrases in the vegan community is ‘voice for the voiceless’. We speak out for those who can’t. We speak out for these innocent souls who cannot communicate their fears and pain and didn’t even ‘ask to be here’ in the first place.
This is what we do. These are the fundamentals of veganism.
So many times in the vegan community I have seen people be aggressively prejudice towards innocent vulnerable beings who cannot speak out for themselves. Vegans doing the very thing they are fighting against. I often read comments, from vegans that, had someone else written the very same about animals, would fill the pit of their stomach with rage and their eyes with tears.
What am I talking about?
Well, it would seem that a lot of vegans hate children.
Ok, let me get a couple of things out of the way first.
No, it’s certainly not all vegans, but in my experience when navigating through vegan groups on social media, it has come up more times than I’d like to mention.
Yes, the planet is overpopulated. Having more and more humans inhabit the Earth is a rather large problem when it comes to poverty, climate change and a number of other nasties. Not to mention the likelihood of them growing up believing that using animals for food, clothing and testing is ok/normal/necessary.
I get it. The more humans that come into this world, the worse it gets.
However, all of this anger is being thrown at the vulnerable. The voiceless. Innocent children. It would be like vegans hating all livestock because of their huge contribution to global warming, yet, the animals are not the problem. Those who are forcibly multiplying their numbers are the problem. Those who continue to buy the products and inadvertently call for them to be replaced on the shelves are the problem.
So am I saying that vegans should direct their anger at the parents who chose to have children? Certainly not. When someone is aggressive towards me I become defensive, or I shut down altogether. Angry activism doesn’t work. Not only that, but those who have had children cannot do anything about that now. They wouldn’t want to either.
Believe it or not, children are a blessing! Sure, some of the time they are the cause of a lot of stress, frustration and sleep deprivation… but no parent would ever wish they had never been born. It is a fundamental, biological urge, and therefore the majority of humans desire to start their own family. Some don’t, and that’s ok.
For those that do, due to the way we are wired, it is near impossible to simply switch that urge off. Attacking them for having or wanting children is not only a super mean thing to do, but it is also a total waste of energy. There is no ‘start again’ button in this case should you manage to change a parent’s mind.
Anyway, I want to get back to the children.
We have established that it’s not the children that are the problem. Hopefully if you are reading and you were prejudice towards children before, you are perhaps rethinking your position on that now, but I want to take it a step further, because we all know that having a core belief about something and standing for something, can be two different things.
If I were to have a conversation with someone, who then went on to tell me that they hate the elderly because they are a drain on the economy and they should all be euthanised… I would feel compelled to say something about that! I would want to speak out for them. I could just force an awkward laugh and change the subject, or I could make sure this person knows that this is not ok, and that I will not be a bystander to this awful hate speech. Imagine if they said similar towards a certain race or people with disabilities for example? Why is it socially accepted to express your dislike towards children?
Children are innocent. They may make mistakes. They may be noisy, rude on occasion and make a simple shopping trip a little inconvenient at times… but they are learning! They have no idea how the world works yet. They have no idea what the concept of ‘polite’ is, even if they have been forced to practice saying ‘please and thank you’ – they don’t know what gratitude even is! They are vulnerable beings who feel fear, joy, love, pain and get confused like all of us. Just like the animals we speak out for, they have no voice. They may be able to speak, but they don’t have a voice. They are so oppressed in our society that it is common for parents to actually joke with each other about the punishments and manipulations they dish out upon them.
They are viewed as though they are worth less than adults. Viewed as though they do not deserve the respect that adults do.
Why do some vegans stand up for the rights of some vulnerable beings but have nothing but disdain for others? Speciesism and childism…It’s the same concept!
If you really want to help make a difference to our overpopulation issue, then perhaps speak out to those who have a chance to make an educated choice. Don’t hate on those who have already made their families, this does nothing but breed negativity.
Share information on social media or have a mutual discussion about it at a party, don’t spread hate towards those who have absolutely no way of changing their circumstances.
When it comes to children themselves, these are another species of animal you should add to your ‘protect’ list.
Why on earth vegans, of all people, would hate on vulnerable innocents, who cannot speak out for themselves is beyond me.
So if you see a fellow vegan being prejudice towards a child or a parent, join me in being a voice for the voiceless.