As An Ethical Vegan, Is It Morally Right To Dine With Meat Eaters?

This room splitting debate is one you’ll have at almost all meetings with fellow vegans.

Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

Introduction

When Donald Watson coined the term ‘Vegan’ back on that fateful day in 1944, little did he know that it would turn into a massive movement followed and promoted by millions of people decades into the future. He had witnessed animal slaughter at the tender age of 14 and knew in his heart that something was completely wrong. He gradually leaned into the plant-based path and eventually gave up all animal products, coining the term of this plant-rich diet in 1944.

While it was definitely a courageous move back then, things aren’t colourful and rosy today, and the pursuit of a plant-based life remains to reside inside the realm of the daring and brave. Despite living in the age of development and progress today in the 21'st century, nothing much has changed for the plight of billions of animals artificially birthed into this world for the purpose of consumption.

While I shudder to think how Watson could have openly shunned meat at a time where everyone else around him dined on dead corpses, even today things aren’t that different, and there are countless occasions vegans are forced to sit and dine with meat eaters with a fake smile plastered on their faces, subconsciously acknowledging the unethical nature of their actions.

One of the biggest reasons a lot of vegans get berated by other conscious vegans is because they choose to dine with meat eaters.

Against

This band of vegans believe that when one chooses to dine on the very same table as meat eaters they tacitly acknowledge the righteousness of their actions.

They proffer that by participating at the very end stage of the animal commodification process, one silently validates the entire process, right from artificial insemination, forced birth, confinement, and torture, to the final blood curdling slit to the throat finally ending up on someones plate as a dead product to be consumed. So if one cannot accept the entire process as it is and only wants to take part in the final stage of that process, one is morally inconsistent with their beliefs. And so is dining alongside such a peron.

As per this bunch of ethical vegans, by the very virtue of being vegan one should stop dining with meat eaters whenever and wherever possible. This sends out the message that you are not only in disagreement with their philosophy (human supremacy) and way of life, but that you arrogantly refuse to participate in it too.

This is a topic that definitely splits a room of vegans into two.

For

The ethical vegans on the other side of this argument argue that one must dine with meat eaters as much as possible to prove to them that it is possible to have fun and merriment without taking part in any kind of animal exploitation.

And where the ethical vegans see a hindrance and a roadblock on the path of success, activist vegans see a priceless opportunity for activism that cannot be missed.

“where the ethical vegans see a hindrance and a roadblock on the path of success, activist vegans see a priceless opportunity for activism that cannot be missed.”

By willingly agreeing to sit and dine with “corpse munchers” — as they are casually known among vegan circles — one not only has the opportunity to indulge in activism and talk to them about the plant-based lifestyle, but also get to be a living example of it.

By sitting down and having fun along with them — while doing all of it without as much as touching a morsel of meat — you show the world that it is very much possible to be vegan and live life to the fullest at the same time. Others go out of their way to invite all their meat eating friends to their homes for dinner and show them the best parts of veganism using their culinary skills.

Like they say, the way to a mans heart is through his stomach.

Who knows, the surest way to get people to accept veganism wholeheartedly might just be through their stomachs too. In fact, it might be more effective than all the rambunctious activism in the world.

Conclusion

The thing is, people who go vegan for reasons other than ethics or morality usually don’t usually run into such dilemmas. They haven’t converted into veganism for the animals anyway. So what’s the harm in dining with a couple of their meat eating friends every now and then? Sure they too will be made fun of, they’ll get their legs pulled, and they’ll be brutally trolled on occasion. But they’ll pull through.

However for ethical vegans, things aren’t that promising. Sitting and dining alongside the very people you love and care for while they munch on the products of enslavement, rape, and torture, can feel extremely repulsive, suffocating, and uncomfortable. For them, dining alongside meat eaters is the cultural equivalent of socializing with rapists and slave traders, being well aware of what those people do (Some people don’t even like the fact that the rape analogy is used by Animal Rights Activists since the two issues vastly differ from each other, but that is another topic for another day).

Do let me know what you think about this in the comments bar to the side.

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Caffeinated Thoughts

I am an avid trekker, content writer, photographer and sports enthusiast. I write about trekking, society, overpopulation, lifestyle and veganism in general.