Just this week William Sitwell, the former editor of the Waitrose Food Magazine, resigned because of comments he made to journalist Selene Nelson about “killing vegans” and “force feeding them animal products”.
Since his resignation there has been a wave of sympathy for Mr Sitwell on the grounds of free speech.
While I completely support and believe in free speech, I also believe in common decency and respect. Sitwell lacked both with his comments, which we should remember were made to a vegan. I would personally find these comments offensive and would struggle to “laugh then off” as has been suggested.
This may well have been a joke or flippant comments, but there is little doubt that they came from a darker place. Sitwell clearly has little or no respect for vegans or veganism and has probably, over time, became frustrated by the rise of veganism and the fact that ever more regularly people were suggesting that he include plant based articles and recipes in his publication.
The Evening Standard suggests that vegans do not need society’s protection and there we agree. We neither want nor need protection from those who attempt to mock or belittle us. As a vegan of 50 years I’ve heard ever joke, every put down and ever argument as to why we should be eating animal products going. And I’m still standing.
As people become more aware of the reality and cruelty of intensive farming, the damage livestock production is doing to the environment and the health benefits of a plant based diet, there is a fast growing trend towards veganism.
Veganism is an irresistible force and animal agriculture is no immovable object. We don’t need your protection because it’s only a matter of time until you will become one of us.