Posting photos of dead and dying animals in order to shock and shame your classmates: Probably not the best use of Instagram, vegan students of Elk Grove High School.
Vegan students at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, CA, have been accused of bullying students who are in the school’s agriculture program. According to Fox News, students in Elk Grove High School’s Agriculture Sales And Service Academy have reported incidents of online bullying via social media sites like Instagram.
Allegedly, students who identify as vegan have been posting graphic photos of dead animals, as well as of animals being slaughtered. There are also reports of agriculture students being called “carcass munchers” and other derogatory names, including in fliers that have been passed out on campus.
Apparently, outside vegan groups have also been involved in the debacle. One vegan student talked to Fox 40, telling the news station no one had used the term “carcass cruncher” and that she personally had not passed out any fliers.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to make of this story. It comes from Fox News, for one thing, and I doubt they’re an outlet that’s very friendly to vegankind. But we’ve written several times about when passionate vegans use less-than-perfect judgement in trying to raise awareness about their cause: Remember the vegan vandals, the trainer who said a poor diet leads to school shootings, and the vegan couple who incited a controversy by bringing their own pasta to a restaurant?
I’m sympathetic to both sides of this story. I think being vegan is terrific (research continues to show it’s a beneficial diet in terms of health) and I even tried it myself, with good results. But the truth of the matter is that people in this country do still eat meat, and we need trained professionals to produce animals for that purpose. I think it’s great that teenagers can study agriculture at the high school level; I don’t know anything about Elk Grove High’s ag program and if it supports humane practices or not, but I know there’s a lot more involved in agricultural work than just killing animals for food.
Ideals and passions are high in the teenage years, whether that passion is a firm belief that “meat is murder” or the belief that your curfew should obviously be extended to midnight because you got an A in science last quarter. Sometimes that passion can get a little overdramatic; Whether or not the alleged bullying is true, it’s not hard to see that these teenage vegans are truly enthusiastic about their plant-based diet and the belief that humans shouldn’t eat animals. Let’s not demonize them for that. But if the reports of bullying are true, I hope the kids who bullied will be chastised in the proper way, either by their parents or by the school system. Name-calling and negativity, even in support of something you find to be morally just and true, is not the right way to go about changing anything.
Photo: Flickr user striatic