I might lose a few readers with this one, but I am feeling defensive and maybe someone out there can relate.
Yet another study has come out linking veganism to depression and anxiety, saying that people who eat meat have a lower risk of both. It is a meta-analysis of other studies, which is when researchers look at a whole bunch of studies together to see if there are any trends in the results.
The problem is that many, if not most, of the studies pitting omnivores against herbivores in terms of mental health tend to ignore or downplay two confounding factors:
- Empathy for another’s suffering and toward the victims of violence and cruelty is linked to vicarious trauma, and vicarious trauma is linked to depression and anxiety.
- Ignorance is bliss.
Okay, that second point is sarcasm. But I get annoyed when these studies come out, not because they show an association (I don’t doubt that vegans may have a higher risk of depression and anxiety than meat-eaters), but because they do not put the results into context and account for the kind of people who become vegans in the first place—people with high empathy, a population already vulnerable to depression and anxiety.
And of course the study was funded by the beef industry, which is why I’m not linking to it. The conflict of interest is too great.
Another thing that irks me about studies like this is the response to them. Omnivores who troll around on social media like to use these studies to go on about how “unhealthy” veganism is.
Right. Tell that to these guys, as posted by vegan bodybuilder Nimai Delgado:
NOT that the vegan community doesn’t have its share of trolls. It absolutely does. However, I find that even though trolling is a childish and cowardly game played by people who cannot manage their emotions and impulses and is never a good tactic for trying to convince anyone of anything, and I am not a vegan myself (but close to it), vegan trolls at least have the right motivation—preventing cruelty to animals and saving the environment—whereas omnivorous trolls are just there to antagonize and disparage. It’s telling that they get bent over someone else’s choice not to cause harm, and my suspicion is that many of them do it because they are overwhelmed by cognitive dissonance and their conscience is eating away at them: Yell loud enough and maybe you’ll convince yourself you’re right. Also, not for nothing, omnivorous trolls also tend to be on the Ugly Neocon spectrum, as from my observations there seems to be a significant overlap between omnivorous trolls and people who use the term “libtards.”
At any rate, I wish vegans and omnivores would refrain from trolling one another on social media. It is counterproductive, contributes to cybertoxicity, and is a waste of time and precious mental and emotional energy. Say what you want on your own page, but don’t come at me on mine with the intent to rag on me. Not only will I block you, I’ll make a note of you behind the scenes so that others may block you and spare themselves the annoyance of encountering you. Do it on sites that I host and I’ll simply edit your comment in a way that I guarantee you will not like. My blogs and journals are not democracies, I discriminate against trolls, haters, and other toxic types, and I make no apologies for any of it.
In related news… Although the video for this song portrays someone struggling with a substance use disorder, Chrissie Hynde later said it’s really about animal rights.
P.S. Yep, I slacked off on Horrordailies. Been looking for new digs and spent much of last weekend making that happen. I doubt anyone noticed, heh!