Why We Choose Ignorance
One of the weirdest things about being vegan is trying to understand how the rest of the world isn’t. If my moral compass says this is not OK, why is your moral compass telling you that this is totally fine? If I can’t stand even the thought of a chicken spending it’s life in a cage, how in the hell are you at a pig roast right now? It’s astonishing. And a lot of the time, it’s frustrating.

But it’s a littttllllee relatable, isn’t it? Because we are all guilty of choosing ignorance in some aspect of our lives. We are buying products made in sweatshops, not shopping locally, not recycling enough, smoking cigarettes, buying SUVS, not keeping up with current world problems, whatever it is… none of us are perfect.

One of the most important things we can do, as compassionate and aware vegans, is to be compassionate towards those who are not yet aware. The thing is, just because someone doesn’t eat cruelty free doesn’t mean they are cruel. It just means they are not there yet. The key to motivating others to change is extremely dependant on our willingness to understand why they can’t.

It is emotionally taxing to care. 

It’s a defence mechanism to feel indifferently towards the suffering of animals. It’s a lot easier to eat the bacon and enjoy the taste rather than think of where it came from. I mean, REALLY think about it. It’s sad. No one wants to feel anymore sadness or discomfort than they absolutely have to.

Change is inconvenient.

Once you open yourself up to knowing and caring, you will most likely feel obligated to make a change. This change can be hugely inconvenient, or at least seem that way at first. After years of veganism, we kind of forget about how hard it was to stop going to our favourite restaurant or to turn down our Grandma’s famous banana cream pie. A lot of us take comfort in our routines and changing things within our daily lives can seem extremely daunting.

Feeling alone is scary. 

Finally, after we have made the switch to veganism, it can feel lonely to look around at all of our friends and family eating meat, without giving it a second thought. It’s isolating to be a vegan in a non vegan world, especially when surrounded by friends and family who don’t share the same concerns about animal welfare or constantly question your lifestyle choice.

How can we help? 

While sharing gruesome videos, pictures, and information can be helpful in a “tough love” sort of approach, we have to acknowledge that some people do not respond to shame, guilt, or sadness. Sometimes it’s more effective to help others come to the conclusion that change can be refreshing. That by giving up Grandma’s banana cream could mean finding a dessert they enjoy even more. That even if their friends and family aren’t supportive of their decision, there’s a whole community of other vegans out there looking to share and connect. Activism can come from a place of identifying with others, in that we all have our vices, and we all, at times, choose ignorance.

  • Rebecca Puffin

    Great read. I can relate to a lot of this and sometimes find it hard to understand why people aren’t ‘awake’ to certain things. This has helped. Thank you

    • Annessia

      I agree, it can be very frustrating. Especially people who you share information with. For instance, I would talk a lot with my husband about the horrors of factory farming but he didn’t make the switch for years! I have come to realize, everyone does things on their own time. :) Thank you so much for reading, and I am so happy that you found it helpful.

  • Jenny Henry

    I found this very helpful. I feel alone and isolated a lot of the time.

    • Annessia

      Are you on Instagram? I find the vegan crowd there extremely motivating and supportive! That’s where I met my co-blogger, Beth (the other half of crueltyfreefamily…and a few other amazing, amazing individuals. They really helped me maintain a vegan lifestyle, as I was struggling, going back and forth between vegan and vegetarian for many years. Thank you for reading, Jenny! I am so glad that you found it helpful. :)

      • Jenny Henry

        Yes I am! @jennybhenry :) I live in Nebraska and don’t know that many other vegans so it can be difficult at times!