Father's argument against veganism - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 03-28-2016, 11:03 AM
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Father's argument against veganism

My father is against my decision to be a vegan.

He thinks it's fine for me to care about animals, the environment, and my health, but he doesn't think me going strictly vegan in social situations is going to solve any animal rights or environmental issues and he thinks that if it's for health, I shouldn't avoid small amounts of animal products if I'm served any.

I guess I would be fine with not being too picky if I was served truly just tiny amounts of animal products, but he's also against me voicing my veganism, so it's likely that unknowing servers will enthusiastically give me steak, pork dishes, fillets of fish, etc. and he wants me to not make a big deal out of it and eat it gratefully. He doesn't want me to tell people around me that I'm vegan because he thinks it will damage my social life and my relationships with others.
He says that just by saying I'm vegan is insulting to everyone at the table who eats meat because I'm pretty much saying that what they're all doing is wrong and I'm right and better than them. He also says that by not eating a meat dish that someone thoughtfully made for me or cake at a special occasion, I am hurting the people who intended to feed me or celebrate with me.

He says he thinks it's good that I'm against factory farming and the environmental damage of animal agriculture, but he says I should not avoid animal products that are served to me because that doesn't change anything. Instead, he says I need to join activist groups, study environmentalism, save energy in other ways, and actively protest against factory farming and not passively just avoid eating animal products.
But then he says I shouldn't go preaching to others about being vegan because it makes others feel bad and I would be hurting people and ruining my social relationships. And then he says he's not saying this because he feels insulted, but he's worried that others will hate me because of my veganism and he cares about me so he doesn't want this to hold me back on opportunities that develop from human interactions over dinner, parties, etc. He keeps saying "I'm against it because I care about you. It's for your own good."

We kind of came to a conclusion that I would eat animal products if I was served any in a social setting, but I can be vegan at home and I can avoid ordering meat, fish, or dairy when I have the choice. However, I know we are both not satisfied with this solution. For my father, I know he doesn't think that this "extreme" lifestyle is worth any of my time or effort, and there are other better ways to go against animal agriculture or environmental damage. For me, I want to be able to tell others I'm vegan and spread the message, and I'm willing to risk some human relationships because I know that the people who matter to me most will accept my decisions. I also don't want to have to eat animal products when I'm served them because I kind of think they're gross now (mostly beef and pork, some dairy and eggs, but maybe fish doesn't gross me out that much yet). Or at least I would like to have the chance to tell my server that I am trying to eat vegan so they could at least try to accommodate my needs (if it's not possible or if it's extremely troublesome, I think I would be willing to suck it up and eat whatever).

Even though I'm extremely annoyed by his disapproval, I am actually not saying all of his points are incorrect. Many of his arguments seem quite valid to me, and I'm even starting to feel that being vegan is maybe not worth it.
What do you guys think? Should I not be vegan if my social life is on the line? What if I'm invited to dinners with non-vegans that may possibly connect to future business opportunities? Should I prioritize making others around me feel comfortable and happy over carrying out my vegan practices? Is not eating animal products that I'm served not going to change anything? Should I join activist groups instead?
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#2 Old 03-28-2016, 11:34 AM
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This scenario seems to crop up a lot where new vegans are still living at home and in one way or another still dependant upon their parents. I honestly don't know what the 'right' answer to this conundrum is - because as long as you live at home (and haven't got a viable alternative) you may not be able to live exactly the way you want.

The only thing I can say is that by and large it's rare that your entire social life falls apart because you stop eating meat and animal products. Sure it will change but unless your entire social life revolved around eating meat you will find ways around this and you will find ways to navigate between eating and living ethically and still maintaining relationships with the world around you. Over time you build new connections with new people widening your social circle with like minded individuals.

I book a lot of dinners and arrange a lot of events in my job - it's never once occurred to me to exclude someone solely on the basis of what they may or may not be able to eat. It's only ever annoying when people don't tell you and then expect their bad planning to be your emergency.

If you feel very strongly about this you will have to find a way to incorporate this into your life. It's not going to be satisfying to live trying to hide what you know to be true - but there are so many ways of living ethically without causing the sort of social implosion your father seems to fear. I'd say that right now your father's objections have more to do with him and how he feels that your behaviour reflects on him.

Also you'd be a very odd character if you found someone else's menu choice an insult to your entire life. I may think it's better to not eat meat but I don't see people eating meat as a personal insult. And when I did eat meat I didn't think that a vegetarian option represented an attack on my whole life. I may have secretly thought that perhaps all these veg*ns were on to something and that maybe (MAYBE) they might be living a more moral life. I still think vegans live a more moral life than me but I don't see vegans as attacking me by choosing to live a good life.
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#3 Old 03-28-2016, 12:13 PM
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I've found that being vegan in social situations doesn't lead to arguments, as long as I'm low-key about it.

If someone offers me meat, I'll say, "No thank you, but those noodles (or potatoes etc.) look good. I'd love to try those!". That way, I'm not eating meat, but I'm still complimenting their cooking.

In social situations, I don't usually mention that I'm vegan. However, people usually guess that I am (because I'm the only person with a plate of just rice and vegetables).

If people ask if I'm vegan, I say "Yes - so far, so good".

If people tell me that veganism is dangerous, I say, "Oh, I'm being very careful. I'm following the vegetarian nutrition guidelines of the American Heart Association (or some other mainstream health organization)."

If people say that animals don't feel pain, I gently say, "Please don't worry about that. It's not something that I like to argue about."

Positive things will begin to happen, though. When people see you again, they will notice that you remain attractive and healthy on your vegan diet. They may not mention it to you, but they will begin wondering whether a vegan diet might be good for them, too.

Just being a pleasant and healthy person, you will inspire others to try veganism. Believe it.

_________

“Under the twinkling trees was a table covered with Guatemalan fabric, roses in juice jars, wax rose candles from Tijuana and plates of food — Weetzie's Vegetable Love-Rice, My Secret Agent Lover Man's guacamole, Dirk's homemade pizza, Duck's fig and berry salad and Surfer Surprise Protein Punch, Brandy-Lynn's pink macaroni, Coyote's cornmeal cakes, Ping's mushu plum crepes and Valentine's Jamaican plantain pie."

from Witch Baby, Francesca Lia Block, 1991
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#4 Old 03-28-2016, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lolpineapples View Post
My father is against my decision to be a vegan.

He thinks it's fine for me to care about animals, the environment, and my health, but he doesn't think me going strictly vegan in social situations is going to solve any animal rights or environmental issues and he thinks that if it's for health, I shouldn't avoid small amounts of animal products if I'm served any.

I guess I would be fine with not being too picky if I was served truly just tiny amounts of animal products, but he's also against me voicing my veganism, so it's likely that unknowing servers will enthusiastically give me steak, pork dishes, fillets of fish, etc. and he wants me to not make a big deal out of it and eat it gratefully. He doesn't want me to tell people around me that I'm vegan because he thinks it will damage my social life and my relationships with others.
He says that just by saying I'm vegan is insulting to everyone at the table who eats meat because I'm pretty much saying that what they're all doing is wrong and I'm right and better than them. He also says that by not eating a meat dish that someone thoughtfully made for me or cake at a special occasion, I am hurting the people who intended to feed me or celebrate with me.

He says he thinks it's good that I'm against factory farming and the environmental damage of animal agriculture, but he says I should not avoid animal products that are served to me because that doesn't change anything. Instead, he says I need to join activist groups, study environmentalism, save energy in other ways, and actively protest against factory farming and not passively just avoid eating animal products.
But then he says I shouldn't go preaching to others about being vegan because it makes others feel bad and I would be hurting people and ruining my social relationships. And then he says he's not saying this because he feels insulted, but he's worried that others will hate me because of my veganism and he cares about me so he doesn't want this to hold me back on opportunities that develop from human interactions over dinner, parties, etc. He keeps saying "I'm against it because I care about you. It's for your own good."

We kind of came to a conclusion that I would eat animal products if I was served any in a social setting, but I can be vegan at home and I can avoid ordering meat, fish, or dairy when I have the choice. However, I know we are both not satisfied with this solution. For my father, I know he doesn't think that this "extreme" lifestyle is worth any of my time or effort, and there are other better ways to go against animal agriculture or environmental damage. For me, I want to be able to tell others I'm vegan and spread the message, and I'm willing to risk some human relationships because I know that the people who matter to me most will accept my decisions. I also don't want to have to eat animal products when I'm served them because I kind of think they're gross now (mostly beef and pork, some dairy and eggs, but maybe fish doesn't gross me out that much yet). Or at least I would like to have the chance to tell my server that I am trying to eat vegan so they could at least try to accommodate my needs (if it's not possible or if it's extremely troublesome, I think I would be willing to suck it up and eat whatever).

Even though I'm extremely annoyed by his disapproval, I am actually not saying all of his points are incorrect. Many of his arguments seem quite valid to me, and I'm even starting to feel that being vegan is maybe not worth it.
What do you guys think? Should I not be vegan if my social life is on the line? What if I'm invited to dinners with non-vegans that may possibly connect to future business opportunities? Should I prioritize making others around me feel comfortable and happy over carrying out my vegan practices? Is not eating animal products that I'm served not going to change anything? Should I join activist groups instead?
You need to respect your father.....cuz he's your father.

He needs to respect your desires and decisions, as well.

Don't compromise your core principles for anyone else....you will regret it....even if it's your Dad.

You have to live YOUR LIFE for YOURSELF.

My daughter (vegetarian) was told by her mother-in-law that she could pick the bacon off a dish that was being prepared. My daughter said that she doesn't eat meat, so don't put bacon on my portion!

Sometimes we have to inconvenience other people....sometimes they inconvenience us.

All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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#5 Old 03-30-2016, 04:07 AM
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There are lots of videos out there about youngsters telling parents that they want to go vegan - tips galore infact. It is n't easy to stand up to parents wishes but prove you're a strong, caring individual and your father should respect you for that.
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#6 Old 03-30-2016, 02:30 PM
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The thing is, when you're living under your parents' roof, and he/they're footing most of the bills for most for your existence, you really do owe them the respect to listen to their concerns, not harm yourself in any way, and to be open to reasonable compromises, if that is best for family harmony. I promise you, there will be plenty of time for you to be vocal, adamant, and uncompromising when you fully support yourself. For now though, most of your father's concerns are valid and obviously expressed because he loves you.

You're lucky - you have parental support, you're obviously smart and passionate, and you'll likely have a full life of being a compassionate advocate for animals. So if it means that you are now a vegan when possible, but agree to eat one or two of Grandma's cookies every so often (without giving her a lecture!), then so be it.

I've been vegan for over 10 years, I'm very active in activists groups, and my family, friends and co-workers all know and deal with the fact that I don't eat a lot of things they take for granted. But it's taken a while to get to this place. When you first go vegan, it requires a lot of explaining, educating, experimenting, and re-educating of everyone around you. So relax, do your best, experiment with new recipes you can share with your family, and know that you're headed in a great direction. Living your values is one of the best things you can do for yourself - so enjoy the journey!
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It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#7 Old 04-02-2016, 02:12 PM
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I'm sorry you are in this situation. It can be indeed difficult when you live with your parents. It is new stuff you throw at them, your dad might need some time to let that soak in. Perhaps it is good to become vegan gradually so both you and your dad get used to the idea?

I had the same problem with my parents, after some research I told them I want to be a vegetarian. Their response was you can still eat meat now and then. In restaurants they asked me why I wouldn't get the meat dish that I loved so much. Saying to other I was going through a vegetarian phase, like it was puberty or something... I my eyes they totally didn't get the concept, but they were just overwhelmed and perhaps under educated about the subject. Yes we had our discussions and yes they still don't get certain things. But I'm glad they accepted it. We basically never talk about it anymore...

Personally I think it helps to say you are vegan/vegetarian. Especially to people who you will have dinner with. When you have dinners at peoples homes. It can be really awkward for both you and the cook. Perhaps offer to bring a dish? At parties I wouldn't worry, there is always something you can eat. At restaurants mention it when you make a reservation or ask the person who makes it to mention it. The restaurant knows it beforehand and can buy certain products. Or ask the waiter, a good chef can accommodate all needs!

There is nothing disrespectful about being vegetarian/vegan at the dinner table. It is all about how you talk about it: stay calm and be respectful to others. Like they should be to you. Do you have the feeling things run out of control, ask to end the discussion. And like you say people who matter the most to you will accept it. I haven't lost anyone with my decision (I'm sure some find it annoying), I gained more friends with who I share these values with.

You are doing a great thing! I would not give up in what you believe and stand for, how difficult it might be. You should not live other peoples lives, life is way too short for that.
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