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Fanaticism

People call vegans fanatics. To be more precise, some people call some vegan fanatics. But what is fanaticism? According to Wikipedia fanaticism “is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal”.

So some people claim that some vegan are fanatic because they go too far with their agenda and their way of life. What is going too far? For example, not eating a piece of chocolate, only because it also contains an infinitesimal portion of dairy seems to them like fanatic behavior.

Is fanaticism always a bad thing?

There are 2 things that I am fanatic about. The first one is life. The second one is freedom. By declaring this, I’m not different than most people; people have made laws to protect life and they have made laws to protect freedom, they have actively stopped people from taking lives and have stopped people from taking away others’ freedom. They educate their children, they educate others too, that life and freedom are the basis of existence.

I claim that people who are not vegans, who eat meat and dairy and eggs, who buy products that were tested on animals, who buy fur and leather – those people are fanatics. But the sad truth is that, like most fanatics, they don’t realize what they are; they don’t see their behavior as fanaticism.

So why are those people fanatics? And why are vegans not fanatic? The answer to the second question is simple: Vegans are extremists in their advocacy of life and freedom for every living being, and that, obviously, includes animals. Is there any logical or moral reason why animals should not be entitled to their own life and their own freedom?

Who fits the description?

The answer to the first question, however, is more difficult because the answer goes against something that was programmed into our brains since birth and has been part of civilization for generations. That is the reason why eating meat and dairy, even at the cost of the lives and freedom of millions and billions of animals, is not considered abnormal or extreme. The harsh reality is that people who are extreme about protecting life and freedom are considered a fanatic minority, while the people who are extreme about taste, their food habits and their convenience are not.

The sad reality is that people who invite death and suffering into their homes, their plates and their bodies are not extreme in any way – and that in itself is extreme. A behavior that ignores any thing in its way in order to justify a tasty meal can be considered “dietary fanaticism”, ironically the same “crime” that vegans are often found guilty of.

Speciesism

Racism is now taboo, but racism has been common and accepted in most parts of the world until the fight for equality and human rights began and continues to this day.

Speciesism has also always been and still is a part of human behavior, but unlike racism, those who suffer from this discrimination cannot speak, protest or resist.

The victims of speciesism are animals and the crimes committed against them in the name of speciesism are the most cruel, remorseless and vast, forming the most prolonged and colossal genocide in history.

The fight against speciesism is a long fight, longer even than the fight against racism or sexism. It is hard to fight for speechless victims. It is a struggle to be humane; to live up to our ideals not just for our sake, but for the sake of non-humans as well. And who better to succeed in being humane towards other living beings than us humans?

These are a few sources of information and inspiration:

Animals Should Be Off The Menu: Philip Wollen at the St. James Ethics and the Wheeler Centre debate

The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear: A lecture by Gary Yourofsky

Earthlings: An award-winning documentary film (narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, music by Moby)

Forks Over Knives: A documentary film about the effects of animal-based food

Uprooting The Leading Causes Of Death: A lecture by Michael Greger, M.D. on the effects of animal-based food