If enough people repeat a lie enough times, then the lie becomes part of the culture. When the lie is transmitted through the generations, it becomes tradition.
Traditions are the third reason why a person does not commit to veganism. They are not innate, nor natural, but we learn them from our family and our society. Many of them are not harmful (at least not directly), like policemen’s uniforms, gift exchange on Christmas, or folk art, while others perpetuate archaic immoral behaviours, such as early marriage or female genital mutilations. Being part of a tradition or a culture is often used to justify these transgressions, but it doesn’t make them any less harmful for the victims. Fortunately, our society condemns the examples I gave.
But we still need to open our eyes on many others. Bullfighting, foie gras on Christmas, dog meat festivals in parts of Asia, European hunting traditions, wearing fur … All traditions involving someone’s pain that we were taught to ignore. As children, our instinct was to protect animals and play with them, but our feelings of love towards them were suppressed in favor of capitalism. Not that all children’s acts based on instincts are necessarily good ideas.
This is why I strongly suggest questioning the origins of what we know as true, our habits and traditions, especially if they are destructive. I recently wrote an article on reality* suggesting three sources : our tendency to conform to the group, our research of a social consensus, and the projection of our desires and our perceptions of reality on reality itself.
Reflecting on culture and traditions shapes our critical thinking, open-mindedness, empathy, and is an important step for the evolution of Humanity.
You can click on “Continue reading” if you are interested in my short response to tradition being used as an excuse, and why it is irrelevant.
Tied in closely with tradition is the following statement :
“Our ancestors have always eaten animals and this is how we evolved.”
People do not base their actions on the ones of their ancestors, especially not the primitive ones. There is a huge gap in the context, the lifestyle, and the ethics between primitive humans and us (our technology, housing, languages, hygiene rules, laws …). Note : are we talking about Homo sapiens, or before that ? Did they even have ethics, really ? Isn’t it something that came up later in the evolution ? Yes, eating animals helped us to survive through times of food scarcity, but in contemporary society, it is definitely not necessary.
Concerning our closer ancestors, the fact that something has been done for a long period of time is irrelevant. According to this belief, we should still have slavery for example. Our modern day morality is not and should not be dictated by our ancestors.
Here are the links to the 2 previous reasons that I covered recently :