opinion

The reason why no one likes vegans.

There are two reasons why I am vegan: I hate and don’t support how animals are treated while they are farmed and the method by which they are slaughtered, and I am concerned about the environmental impact commercialised farming has on our environment.

In my days of sitting in city peak hour traffic, I often daydream of packing up and moving to the country. Getting a little farm. Some ducks in a pond. A couple of cows and sheep. Definitely a pony. It’s in these daydreams that I wonder if I would go back on my vegan ways and eat beef if I knew the cow grew up on a happy, loving farm.

That is exactly what Californian couple Matthew and Terces Engelhart did. Except they didn’t dream it. After chanting “meat is murder” for 40 years, they decided to eat the animals that they farmed with lots of love and cuddles.

They didn’t make this decision because they missed spaghetti bolognese or because they ran out of ways to make tofu tasty. In fact, they run two successful restaurant groups, Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre, which have swayed celebrities like Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sacha Baron Cohen over to “meat is murder”.

The Engelharts even convinced Beyonce to be vegan. Image via Getty.

The Engelhart's say that they've come to the realisation that animals are an important link in the chain of nature. Mr Engelhart took to his blog to explain his decision. He outlines that current agricultural practices are destroying the soil which leads to desertification and limited food resources, which leads to war.

He says we need to keep the world in balance and keep the world fertile to avoid running out of food. Here's an extract:

"Herding ruminants are our best tool to restore fertility to the earth, keep the earth covered, and reverse desertification and climate change. If I knew of a better or even another solution, I would choose it. We need cows to keep the earth alive, cows make an extreme sacrifice for humanity but that is their position in God’s plan as food for the predators. Cows maintain the grass, predators maintain the herd by culling the weak and sick. We can be part of that sacrament. Sacrifice is part of life. As in the passion of Christ, we all have to spill our blood for humanity to know the Father. The cow’s sacrifice was been ordained, ours we must choose."

"BUT YOU'RE BEING UNKIND TO ANIMALS!"

No, that's not me. That's the fans of the newly created Facebook page Boycott Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. There is even a petition against the Engelharts on Animal Petitions, whose slogan is "Humans defending animals from other humans". What all of these vegans and animal lovers are beyond upset about is that the Engelharts have used profits from their vegan restaurants to fund their animal slaughtering farm - ironically called Be Love. Petitioners also have an issue with the name of the farm.

This all started because the Engelharts made a video of them eating one of their cows in the form of a beef burger. "True" vegans were horrified and have thrown rotten tomatoes and stinky banana peels at the Engelharts calling them murders etc etc.

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If you read the Engelhart's blog and websites you get an understanding that they do what they do out of deep love and respect. Now, if you can love and respect an animal only to kill and serve it with a side of roast potatoes, that's a personal decision.

That's the part that the "true" vegans seem to be forgetting. It's a personal decision.

Back in 2012, Ellen DeGeneres, the most loved vegan on the planet, let slip that she eats eggs from her neighbour's chickens. Vegans were pissed. How could Ellen call herself a vegan and still eat eggs?

Technically speaking, DeGeneres never said she actually eats them, more that she gets them from her neighbour's chickens - so she could just have them for decorative purposes. But let's assume she eats them. Some blogs claimed that this was okay - they were obviously happy chickens (unlike those on commerical chicken farms) and therefore eating their eggs were okay. Others said that she could no longer call herself a vegan, as she wasn't a vegan in its purest form.

Insert eye roll.

I hate other vegans. I know I'm not supposed to say this and I just pissed off a few friends, but really, vegans annoy me.

Let me first explain that I'm a pretty laid back vegan. I eat chocolate because I have hormones that need controlling once in a while (usually a couple of times a day). Chocolate does this (but I do feel horrible for the cows).

When I go to a restaurant I spread my bread roll (probably not vegan) with the cow's milk butter and eat it. When I go to a friend's for dinner and they have baked a quiche (with eggs, most likely not from Ellen's neighbour's happy chickens) I eat it without complaint. When I talk to human beings I don't tell them they are all sinners destined for hell because they kill innocent animals for all three meals each day.

Other vegans find my vegan-slacking horrific. They raise their nose in disgust when I don't demand that the chef ensure that my mushrooms aren't cooked in cow's milk butter. They cannot believe that I just eat around the fetta cheese in the Greek salad instead of voicing how the cows and their calves are treated for fetta to be on my plate. They cannot believe that I live with a meat eater (my husband) and I haven't told them that I feed my baby daughter meat.

"I fear the day I tell other vegans I feed my daughter meat." Image supplied.

Like I said, vegans annoy me. They don't realise they are doing exactly what meat eaters do - criticise and pick apart my decision to be vegan (which also annoys me).

My decision to be vegan is personal. It's my choice.

Whether I decide, like Ellen, to one day get some chickens and ensure they're happy so I can have scrambled eggs on a Saturday morning, it's no one's problem but mine.

If I decide that I want to give up being vegan and eat fish and chips, it's no one's problem but mine.

For the Engelharts, if their decision to be vegan was to reverse the negative impact of commercial agriculture on our planet, then they have the right to change their mind based on the new information they've found. They have the right to use their vegan-yummy-food profits to fund their ironically named farm.

It's their choice.