Anthony Dagher–known to his 932 Twitter followers as @7AnthonyDagher7–is one of veganism’s worst enemies. In case you missed it, Dagher spent a few minutes over the weekend lambasting a fellow vegan who’d purchased some non-vegan ice cream for a distressed child. He’s spent the hours and days since replying to his critics with the blind, facile zeal of a college sophomore.
Like many young vegans, Dagher has fallen into the trap of self-righteousness. He’s why people always ask other vegans, “Why do you care more about cows and chickens than about starving children?” He’s developed sympathy for animals and left humans to fend for themselves.
I understand the temptation, of course. Humans have come to dominate most other species on this planet–certainly those we use for food, anyway. I understand the impulse to protect those who can’t protect themselves from our inhumane practices. The thinking goes something like: humans can fend for themselves, so animals are more deserving of our care.
To me, however, veganism isn’t about prioritizing one species over another. In fact, it’s about showing that all species are equal. An abused man, woman, or child deserves just as much compassion as an abused pig, goat, or fish.
In this particular instance, a woman was buying ice cream for a crying child–someone who was clearly in need of compassion. Would it have been better to purchase vegan ice cream for the kid? In an ideal world, sure–especially if the child weren’t distressed and the woman had the luxury of being choosy. But in the heat of the moment, she made the right decision. And Dagher didn’t.