Barriers to Being Plant-Based
The biggest barriers to becoming a vegan aren’t that people don’t care about their health, the amount of money they spend, the ecosystem, the earth and compassion towards other non-human animals. The two biggest concerns that need to be addressed in order for more people to switch over to a plant-based lifestyle are the lack of knowledge/education and the lack of concern for being ideologically consistent.
1. Critical thinking
The first is a problem because many people don’t have the knowledge and critical thinking skills to fully analyze what implications a value or belief can have. It can also be a problem because many are simply not taught the information in order to make the decision. The majority of people are not aware that the greatest harm to the ecosystem right now is animal farming. Most people don’t realize that animals are being tortured when they are being raised for food. Most people still believe that animal products are healthy and are in fact necessary for survival. Because raising animal livestock is indirectly subsidized by the government, it is not widely known that meat is incredibly expensive to produce. In addition, people don’t know the reason why plant products are so much cheaper in comparison to animal products, or even realize that they are cheaper.
Knowledge is important to make rational decisions. While not all decisions can be logical, it is critical that we make decisions based not only upon feelings, but facts and evidence as well. Too many make decisions based off of ignorance, lack of fact acknowledgement or lack of even making a decision. As stated before, most people are not aware of the facts surrounding animal agriculture that connects it to so many different worldly issues. Even when some people are confronted with facts, they can refuse to believe them. Thirdly, people continue along the same path that others around them walk or simply continue to do what they have always done. They do what they have been raised to do. The majority of people in the world do not consciously make the choice to eat meat. The majority of people simply do it because everybody around them does it and they were raised to eat meat. They didn’t become a meat-eater one day, unlike the decision to become vegetarian, plant-based or vegan.
The second concern that needs to be addressed is the lack of importance placed on consistent ideals. Most humans hold one ideology that conflicts with another ideology they hold. This makes an individual’s ideologically inconsistent. For example, most humans say they are against animal cruelty and suffering, but they still support animal industries that treat farm animals harshly and without compassion every day. Animals are not only killed, but they are mistreated in animal farms. However, the majority do not make the connection or deny the connection when they are confronted with reality. Can you really put faith in a person who cannot even rely upon themselves? Would you trust a person who says one thing but does another? Actions speak louder than words.
It all comes down to the first point I brought up: education. Schools need to be teaching more critical thinking skills and less memorization and indoctrination. Most students are not taught to truly think critically because critical thinking requires questioning not only your own beliefs but the beliefs and rules of others around you as well. It is difficult to manage students if they are taught to constantly question rules that are put in place and enforced. But the easiest way is hardly ever the best way.