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September 14, 2012: Why are Vegans so serious?

Originally posted on this blog.

Vegans are sometimes accused of not having a sense of humor. Far from being a "general truth", what this really refers to is that many Vegans donít find jokes involving cruelty to animals and eating meat funny. Though technically not 100% Vegan, I myself can think back to certain times when I would laugh at similar jokes, ones that these days I wouldnít find the least bit amusing. So what changed?

To understand why people like me donít laugh at those types of jokes, even though we completely understand that theyíre just jokes and donít necessarily mean that the person actually harbors these feelings, one has to understand our beliefs. Namely, one has to understand the depth, intensity, and personal connection to how we view or relationship with other animals. In Effaism, when one is fully empathetic towards the suffering of animals, we say that this person has attained what we call Animal Empathy Enlightenment. What this means is that the person is able to empathize with the suffering of other living beings, and is very sensitive to the injustices around him/her. Itís important to remember that for someone who has connected to this higher level of consciousness, the empathy one feels is of a deeper variety, and a personal chord is struck every time one witnesses an act of cruelty, sees animals confined in cages waiting to be slaughtered, or sees an abandoned dog roaming the street. Someone who has not attained this level of empathy may also feel "sorry" for these animals, but this feeling will not be as deep. Someone who has not attained this level of empathy may simply not understand some of our reactions, as is the case here.

Once we get to that level, where the injustices of how we treat other animals begin to strike a personal chord within us, we no longer find jokes about this funny. If you canít understand this based on the human-animal relationship example, try thinking about other analogies. Many people who have a personal connection to injustices and violence do not find jokes about these topics funny. Most rape victims do not find rape jokes funny, nor do the family members of these victims. Most victims of torture do not find jokes about torture funny, nor do the family members of these victims. Family members of someone who was killed by a drunk driver will most likely not laugh at jokes about drinking and driving. Many people who truly love animals are as aware and as sensitive to the injustices that animals face as the above-mentioned people are about their issues. Hopefully, having shed some light on this, people will start to question the jokes themselves, and not our reaction to them.

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