A vegan explanation: Why so people get so defensive and at times abusive towards vegans?

I just wrote this on Quora, and I’m pretty happy with it, so I reckon I’ll post it here too! 

Someone was wondering if they drug the meat to make people angrier at vegans and vegetarians. Funny thought. They do drug it with just about everything else, from hormones to make the animal grow, to antibiotics and medicines to make them not die before profit, to vits and minerals to replace a natural diet. So why not drugs to make people addicted? Probably true. 

But until that comes out, I reckon the real reason is cognitive dissonance. The article is below: 
It’s cognitive dissonance. I attended a lecture on why people are so obsessed with meat. Ultimately, at the root of it, is the argument that meat made us human. So on a subconscious level, meat eaters feel like vegans challenge their humanity. You can see this overblown hatred and distrust of Jose who don’t eat meat even in the Classics. In the play Hippolytus, when Hippolytus is wrongly accused of raping his stepmother and causing her suicide (wrongly), his father is most disgusted by the fact that Hippolytus is a vegetarian. To Theseus (father) being vegetarian was the sum total distrustful characteristic of a rapist and murderer. ‘He’s vegetarian?! Says it all.’ (Better not even attempt to broach the subject of veganism, Hipp.) 

Ridiculous, right?

That’s one reason why vegans and vegetarians get such abuse. It challenges who they are, who they think they want to be, and how they think we need to live. I remember being the same. I used to laugh heartily at Hippolytus too whilst I ate my steak. 

The other reason is the cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance happens when a person feels two contradicting things very strongly, and feels them so strongly that they both cancel each other out and the brain literally cannot even think about the topic anymore. It short circuits instead. (This is on layman’s terms, mostly from the lecture. I did A-level psychology but it was a while ago.) An example of cognitive dissonance affecting brain ability is: ‘I love animals’ vs ‘I love meat.’ Most people truly do think they love animals, and are loving and kind and wonderful to their dogs/cats/horses/rabbits etc but they have been raised, brainwashed by the system, into thinking that we need meat to live. Or at least animal products. So they can’t even think about what they’re saying, that loving animals isn’t relatable to killing them. The brain won’t allow them too- it puts up all its defenders and often goes on the attack with al those predictable questions we just love, about protein, ‘deficient nutrients’, ‘you-can’t-live-without-meat’ and ‘call-it-gary’, and ‘bacon-tho.’

Only when you take the trusting plunge and become vegan do you realise survival is possible, easier, and more fun without it. And your brain works better too (not a comment on intelligence, but function) without all that cognitive dissonance!

Truth is, if you follow the evolutionary biological theory of ‘meat made us human’ (which has some gaps!) then you must also follow the evolutionary theory that people are what they needed to to accomplish their purpose, which in the days of ‘becoming homo sapiens’ was simple: don’t get killed or die before you procreate. (Also, its protein that made the hanged in our brain chemistry, not meat specifically. It’s just that animals were the easy way of getting tons of protein all at once, rather than having to spend all day gathering enough nuts, seeds and veg. The lecturer literally said that animals were what they had. If there’s have been peanut butter, everyone would be saying peanut butter made us human. It has the same amount of protein.) 

 Nowadays we are looking at enjoying a life far far beyond the age limits of those ancestors (if they existed as it’s thought they did). What they did wasn’t always natural or best. They would’ve been fine, but the health problems that come from a diet based on animal products are seen around 50–70. This means they would’ve died befire seeing those types of diseases. It’s different for us.

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