Lately my husband has been has been making a very spicy lentil curry. Today I heated up in the microwave for lentil curry over right rice, and topped it with roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and hemp seeds.
My husband makes all these wonderful vegan dishes for us to share and eats lots of vegan meals so people are always asking if he is vegan / veganish, too. I’d be fine if he said he was veganish, given how many vegan meals he does eat.
However, my husband always insists that he isn’t even a little bit vegan because he likes meat, dairy products and eggs and fully intends to continue eating them. I have a feeling it may also be because he isn’t down with the concept of closing down animal agriculture so that we can instead produce nutritious, affordable, accessible, allergy-friendly, animal-friendly foods for people to enjoy. I’m down with that, but he isn’t. I get the impression he wants to make it clear that this (closing down animal agriculture or making it obsolete) isn’t his thing.
Nonetheless, what a great supporter my husband is, of me and my choice to choose vegan / veganish / animal-friendly food in support of animals. I mention this because sometimes I hear vegans / vegetarians talk about being allies with people who are currently meat eaters, as long as they support the concept of animal rights rights and the eventual goal of closing down animal agriculture. However, it’s also possible for someone to be a powerful ally for the animals even if they don’t agree with the vegan philosophy.
It seems to me that my husband is an example of someone who fits that description. My point is that we don’t have to convince everyone to believe “what we believe to be correct” in order to help animals. People can switch to choosing more animal-friendly meals more often, and animals will eventually be helped (if enough people participate). That will be true, even if no one changes their mind on anything.
Also: it’s not just a willingness on the part of people to consume vegan and/or animal-friendly alternatives. The part I mentioned above … making the animal products obsolete … is an important, practical part of the equation. It isn’t reasonable to expect others to choose the animal-friendly or more sustainable or more “whatever you think is better” products until the alternatives are affordable, widely available, accessible, allergy-friendly, and just as nutritious / tasty / useful / convenient as the traditional options.
People like my husband, who make their purchases primarily for practical reasons, versus ideological ones, will naturally choose vegan / sustainable / animal-friendly options more often when those options become more practical. Yes, willingness to choose the alternatives is important, but just as important is to change our food systems so that the alternatives are actually present and practical for people.