Be kind to a vegan

I am writing because I concerned about the attitude most people take toward the practice of veganism. Many dismiss those who abstain from the use of animal products as sanctimonious radicals, and, in my experience as a student at an all-boys high school, proceed to make fun of their beliefs. In a world with an increasingly developed moral acuity, this blithe disregard holds no water (“Vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli sues her former employer (again) for copyright infringement,” April 10).

I made the decision to go vegan a little under two months ago and was vegetarian for two years before that. My reasons for adopting an animal product-free lifestyle are environmental and animal-welfare based. Humans are putting an incredible strain on the environment and meat production is a needless waste of water, land and energy. So I cut it from my diet, and I hold that no one is a true environmentalist unless they do the same. I also believe that the current system of factory farming inflicts gratuitous suffering on animals. Forcing another sentient being to suffer for a human to have the pleasure of gobbling a steak is no one’s prerogative.

People look at me strangely when I tell them I’m vegan, and for that reason I don’t advertise it much. It shouldn’t be like that. I like meat. Any vegan who says that a salad is better than a steak is a liar. But I don’t eat it because I don’t want to hurt animals. In my mind, that self-control makes me stronger than the people who call me “soft” for not indulging. I will be commissioned into the U.S. Army after college, due to my recently earning an ROTC scholarship. I expect more of the same there, although I dearly hope that my nation’s mindset will have shifted by 2022. People taking action based on their beliefs and empathy should be encouraged, not derided.

Christian Baran, Brooklandville

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