Featured Contributor Dylan Munoz: I’m an Environmentalist, and I Will Never Be Vegan

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Environmentalists are not mandated to be vegan, and as such should not be vilified if they choose not to do so. In today’s society, there are many organizations and communities that pressure the global population, to shift to a more conscientious approach on non-human animal rights, and food production. While I do not discredit or disapprove of this tactic, there is much to be considered before inciting criticism on those whom are environmentalists, and are not vegan. After reading countless articles from environmental and non-environmental organizations, I find the one thing that clashes with their core belief system, is well, their beliefs – their culture.

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I come from a place that eats a lot of meat. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of meat – purely a flavour preference (chicken is alright though). But I’m not going to stop eating meat just because someone tells me I need to if I want to be an environmentalist…*relax*. Despite the fact myself, and many other cultures, consume meat and other animal-by products, a lot of us value the life of a non-human animal. Believe me when I say, watching the documentaries about factory farming was heart wrenching. At the same time, I find myself in a predicament, where I want to continue consuming meat, but there are all these environmental implications that come with that decision.

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Now I know all you vegans out there will probably say, “Okay well there you go – you support animal life, go vegan”. No, it’s not that simple. While valuing the life of an animal, I also value the history of my culture in relation to food. I appreciate the types of cuisine that require meat in their preparation. There’s an art to the culinary profession, and I believe excluding meat takes away from a lot of what that culture is.

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In the end, it comes down to organizations that support veganism, promoting segregation of belief systems at the same time. I do not appreciate certain individuals who categorize me with other people who are not vegan, but do not care about the environment at the same time. Essentially what I’m saying is that everyone has their own culture, does things their own way. It’s important to be mindful of our choices, and make sure people are aware of atrocities like factory farming, but also have the freedom to decide for themselves what is right and wrong – without feeling like an outsider to the cause. I’m an environmentalist. I care for animals, and will continue to fight for their rights. But, I’m an environmentalist that refuses to be vegan.

Written by: Dylan Munoz

  • Baloo

    As a vegan I have a few questions for you. It is my understanding that the opinion of the author is that culture is more important than nonhuman life. Though the author is entitled to this opinion I take some issue with it.
    First of all veganism is not just about the life of animals. It is also a solution to many of our environmental issues such as global warming and over fishing. Especially if vegans also eat locally. It also provides a solution to world hunger.
    Even if meat consumption is critical to maintaining a culture which I don’t believe it is, does culture really come before our planet? There won’t be any semblance of culture if humanity continues to treat the planet as we do.
    Why I don’t think meat is central to a cultures identity is that food does not gain much flavour from a meat. It is more of a texture. Also colours are the product of spices and not meat. As a vegan I enjoy a variety of ethnic foods without compromising their original flavour by substituting plant products. With respect to food culture is not in the meat but the spices and method of preparation.
    The easiest way to help the environment and show the world that you care is to go vegan. Sure you can be an environmentalist without being vegan but why not cut the consumption?