Other Vegan Views articles
What is Normal? by Gina Madison, Vegan Views 78 (Winter 97/98)

Sometimes, when I hear others referring to non-vegetarians/vegans as "normal" people, I wonder how perverted this world really is! Those who exploit and kill sentient creatures, eat their flesh and wrap themselves in their skins are considered saner than those who choose not to. Humans celebrating barbaric spectacles and enjoying the imprisonment of other animals are deemed to be more socially acceptable than the compassionate minority. Shouldn't it be the contrary?

Our society seems to define normality in numbers. Whatever the majority of the population does, has to be right and "normal". Whatever illogical, cruel and insensitive behaviour most people display is accepted as part of the norm, and whoever dares to criticise it is called "radical" and soon turned into a social outcast. Security in numbers.

This is why vegetarians and vegans are having such a hard time. Due to financial profits, those in power are more than happy with the present situation and will go to great lengths to keep those "minorities" quiet. Lack of accurate information available for the average consumer, or even deliberate misinformation, add their share to keep the public quiet.

Last year, I visited South India and was most surprised to find signs proclaiming "non-vegetarian restaurants". A vision of the future, I thought. But it just goes to show how normality has different definitions according to the country you live in.

I often ask myself how these rules are established and what would happen, if suddenly the slaughter of humans would be regarded as acceptable (as in times of war) - is that still "normal" then? With the discussion on abortion a current topic, I wonder where to draw the line. Regarding all this, I guess I am glad to be "unnormal" (vegan); and I would happily take ten times the amount of amount of ridicule, animosity and aggression I daily encounter, if I could only save one creature's pain, suffering or death through my conscious consumer decisions.

It is very hard at times to be part of a minority; the constant need for defence and justification, to always stand out and be pointed at.

Yet when I watch other ("normal") people and their choices in food, clothing and entertainment, I am growing stronger, knowing that I have chosen the right path and many of them will (have to) follow. And during all this I try never to forget that not too long ago, I was "normal" too.