Being a vegan or a vegetarian for that matter doesn't come without its own set of continuous obstacles. The first being, you need to tell the carnivorous majority that you’ve decided eating meat is a no-no and that from now on you’d appreciate if they’d respect that. From then on there are a number of possible dramas – do I buy these leather shoes? Where can I find vegan ice-cream? Is it ok that I am working in a job that serves up carcasses? Well I think the greatest hope is a sense of community, people who will support your choices, not mock them.
A community of support or a network allows you to gain all the information you will need regarding your choice to become vegan. However it probably runs a bit deeper – Most of these communities aren’t equipped to help you find work, and the reasons many vegans do not work, is because it is difficult to find a job that is ethical in a vegan sense. You can rule out the food industry, the clothing industry, and even most business in some way make decisions which send Earth critters to the chopping block.
Well, what is your opinion about this? Does being vegan mean saying no to the job at McDonalds, does it mean not working in a clothes outlet because they sell wool and leather products? It probably should, but vegans need money as well if they want to survive in society. I’ve quit a job because I couldn’t handle serving up meat to business fat cats – working as a waitress in a 5 star restaurant pays well, but it takes its toll. So I’ve gone into business for myself (writing as a journalist on Newsvine – kidding) a number of small scale enterprises and I’m taking on vegan volunteers.
My community is not a vegan community, most of my friends are not vegan, there was a time, and it was a good time, when many of my close friends were vegan, but they’ve moved on. Now I am just a resentful non-conformist, and the distance has grown between some of my other friends because I feel like I’m not protected and not respected, and I don’t really have any power to make them feel otherwise. There is some respect there, the people I spend my time with have a good sense of how to respect other people’s beliefs, but it gets lonely it gets difficult and it gets me down.
I think although they might not have high rates of employment, I think many vegans are overworked trying to belong to the community. The belief that eating meat and the industry that tortures and kills them is evil is one that challenges a lot of people. That is not to say that people are evil, they just aren’t aware that going vegetarian or vegan is a valid choice, or do not think it is a necessary one. So what? I’m vegan it’s my choice, when do I get respect for that?