Meat-eaters and vegans are getting into an angry spat involving a New York restaurant, and oh my God can they both please shut the hell up right now.
An organic restaurant in New York, GustOrganics, recently decided to phase meat off its menu out of concerns the meat industry is having on the environment. They didn’t get preachy about it, they just decided for themselves that they’d rather go meatless, which is fair. They of course immediately started getting hatemail from angry customers the owners started referring to as “CrossFit people” (I guess CrossFit involves a lot of meat-eating? Maybe that ridiculous Paleo diet I’ve heard people talk about? I have no knowledge of diet or exercise fads), because, sure, that’s a totally reasonable response and not the sort of thing a spoiled child would do. In response to the story about the hatemail, GustOrganics started getting messages of (occasionally snarky) support from vegans and oh God why are we still having this whole stupid conversation.
Let me start by making clear that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more carnivorous than me. I’m pretty sure my bloodstream is about 90% bacon grease at this point. And yeah, if a restaurant I liked decided to go completely meatless, I’d be a little sad. What I wouldn’t do is throw a hissy fit and start sending the restaurant angry e-mails. There are plenty of other restaurants out there, and I am not and should not be that important to them because it’s their restaurant.
As long as the restaurant is clear about what sort of place they are now (e.g. whether or not they are vegan/have vegan options), what exactly is the problem? If a restaurant wants to go vegan, it’s their damn restaurant — just like if a person decides to go vegan, it’s their damn body. This meat-eaters vs. vegetarians/vegans thing couldn’t possibly be more of a stupid argument, and an incredibly emotionally-charged one.
Look, this shit needs to stop. I’ve actually seen a human being argue with a straight face that a vegetarian diet was inherently classist, which...I mean, I don’t need to take time to explain why that’s ludicrous, right? While yes, it’s true that meat is cheaper in America relative to vegetables than it is in many other countries, the dollars and cents cost is irrelevant when it comes to that sort of judging attitude — if someone chooses to (or doesn’t choose, if it’s a medically-related issue, which happens) not eat meat, it’s their damn life. Judging people for not eating meat is one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen someone do. Other peoples’ lives and diets are not ours to police. It should also go without saying that any meat-eater who tries to trick a vegetarian into eating meat is a fucking awful human being.
Likewise, if you’re going to climb up on your high horse and spout off smug, superior shit about how animals have souls and how anyone who eats meat should be ashamed of themselves...stop. You’re accomplishing nothing other than the feeling of your own superiority, and everyone hates you. Environmental concerns about the meat industry are a real thing, and they’re an issue that should be getting more attention, but the only solution these particular people are offering is “just stop eating meat, period.” They damn well know that isn’t a feasible answer to the problem, and it only serves to make them feel better about themselves.
I’m happy to hear out anyone offering an actual potential solution (as student researchers at Cornell did recently), but aside from that, I truly couldn’t care less if someone thinks eating animals is inherently immoral and that I am a horrible murderer for continuing to eat cheeseburgers. Arguing for the ethical treatment of food animals before we turn them into dinner is all well and good, but the moment they argue about the inherent immorality of consuming meat is the point where I stop listening, and the moment they wander into a restaurant and start screaming about their chicken baby is the moment they’ve officially taken the Express Train to Lunatic Mountain.
So just knock it off, both of you, because you’re acting like petulant children and the rest of us are tired of it. Live and let live.
Image via FocusDzign/Shutterstock.