Should veganism come with a mental health warning?

12 June 2014

by Clare Mann

As a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience, I admit that I have a mental health disorder.

Some professionals might say I have an eating disorder because I am vegan. Others would show concern that I regularly feel anxious, depressed, experience panic attacks and even post-traumatic stress symptoms at what I have and continue to see in society’s abuse of animals.

I say this because, in the past year I have seen an increase in GPs referring people they believe are suffering from mental illness, particularly eating disorders. However, upon meeting them, I find that these preliminary diagnoses follow these patients explaining that they are vegan.

What if their associated symptoms were not signs of mental illness at all, but instead signs of extreme anguish, grief, betrayal and the madness of speciesism?

So if you are reading this and are actively involved in animal advocacy and consider yourself to be an ethical vegan, then perhaps you should be issued with a health warning?

Not a physical health warning because with the proper nutritional advice, your health will positively improve by adopting a plant based diet, but with a mental health warning.

Once you lift the veil on what is going on behind our speciesism, you will most likely reach the same conclusion – that it is a form of madness but not your madness.  The madness of how our society thinks speciesism – our unspoken superiority over the animal kingdom and differing treatment of different species – is ok.



10 thoughts on “Should veganism come with a mental health warning?

  1. Eating animal farming (aka ranching) and bush meat (aka hunting) should come with a warning for our mental, physical, and planetary health should
    Come with a warning …

  2. Ha. Being an insensitive clod is considered normal, and those with understandable dismay are not? I’d rather have the sensitivity, quite frankly.

  3. I think of animal abuse as the disease, depression, rage, and anxiety as the activists’ symptoms, and veganism as a preventative/medication to fight the disease.

    What concern me is that Big Ag and the whole meat industry will be assembling “experts” to designate veganism as the disorder.

    Classifying veganism a pathology would decrease its legitimacy as a morally chosen lifestyle. Calling it a mental disorder would target women in particular, since most animal advocates are female. Thus, veganism could, conveniently, for Big Ag be considered a disease of “unstable” woman who care too much about animals, implying that “normal” people are not disturbed by factory farms or slaughter houses or any of the other horrors to which nonhumans are subjected.

    Just thinking . . .

  4. I read somewhere that ‘women ought to be giving this misplaced love and concern for animals to their own children or it’s women without children with misplaced love and concern’ or some such nonsense! Talk about sexist.

    I also remember when I started to become more aware that I never felt good about eating meat, a nagging feeling. Then finally one day I took the plunge. It’s just monstrous today with torture chamber factory farms, indifferent or sadistic executioners who work there with an assembly-line mindset. I can’t imagine what kind of person could do that for a living, and then rejoin society at the end of the day. I can’t have compassion for people like this, the endless needs of human hordes exhaust me. I give my empathy and concern for the victims, human and non-human.

    • I’ve seen those kinds of comments too, how we shouldn’t be concerned about animals as long as people were having problems, or how sinful it is to save animals when babies were being aborted, or how people were too involved with helping animals and not having children.

      We have an unbridgeable moral/ethical chasm between animals and people. We seem to have an equal gulf between people who have empathy for animals and those who don’t. There is just something missing.

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