Happy New Year!

It must be made clear from the offset that I myself am not a vegan. I have, however, mastered Veganuary (slow clap) and intend to master it again. Sometimes vegans can be annoying…or rather we are annoying in not recognising that (most of them) are just better people than us.

As it is January, many of us will take the leap and try to go vegan, giving up all animal products for a month. Perhaps you’ll do it for health reasons, or in an attempt to shift a few of those Christmas pounds, or following a New Year’s resolution to try to live more consciously. Either way, vegans can tell you from their experience that you’ll need to be prepared for the barrage of stupid things people will probably say to you every time you sit down for a peaceful lunch and try to dig into your falafel wrap.

“Doesn’t a vegan diet make you unhealthy and weak?”

I don’t know where they get that? Vegans typically have lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower body mass indexes, a lower risk of death from heart disease, and lower overall cancer rates than meat eaters. The German Federal Ministry of Health recently reported that a plant-based diet could add four years to your life. That sounds pretty healthy to me.

“But where do you get your protein?”

The same places that cows, gorillas and elephants get theirs – and have you seen the size of an elephant?! They are big, let me tell you. Maybe, just maybe, go and worry about something serious like, say, global warming.

Which brings me neatly to the next stupid statement…Watch out, I mean really stupid!

“It’s a shame you don’t care about humans as much as you care about animals.”

Veganism is kind to humans because animal agriculture is the most destructive industry on the planet. The meat industry emits more greenhouse gases than all transportation in the world combined. A vegan diet will cut your carbon footprint by 50 per cent. The livestock industry also diverts grain from the mouths of the planet’s one billion starving people. Of those countries experiencing famine, 82 per cent use vast proportions of their grain to feed cows and pigs that will be eaten in Britain and other first-world countries. But hey, seeing as you raised the issue, let’s have a look at all the Nobel Peace Prizes you’ve won for your human rights work. Oh yeah! I went there.

“Animals can’t feel pain.”

Many animals have nervous systems very similar to our own; when they are harmed, their bodies react much like our own would. They scream, writhe and try to escape. That’s why abattoirs invest so much money in horrific machinery to stop animals destined for slaughter from fleeing.

“Are you still vegan?”

Yes. And I see that you are still passive-aggressive. This one can be said in response to many questions. Please use it, the reaction is fabulous.

“What would happen to animals if we all stopped eating meat?”

In the short term, animals being kept for meat and dairy could be rehomed or moved to sanctuaries. In the longer term, we would no longer bring innocent individual creatures into this world merely to enslave and then kill them.

I feel that as I am not a vegan I may be coming across as a tad hypocritical…I will strive to do better, but as I pointed out above this article is about recognising that there are those out there who are, simply, better than us as they play their part in saving our planet. Because we are now playing on borrowed time.

Happy New Year btw. This has been this week’s Thursday Thoughts. Good night and good luck.