I recently watched an old episode of Mad Men dramatizing the moment in American history when smoking suddenly started to lose mass appeal. Armed with new scientific evidence disproving the audacious propaganda promoted by cigarette manufacturers, the American Cancer Society hires Don Draper’s agency (which formerly had created ads for Lucky Strike), to come up with an anti-smoking campaign. While many members of the Cancer Society were themselves still smokers, the writing was clearly on the wall: smoking was on the way out…it was just a matter of time.
Today, smoking is still legal, and many people still “enjoy” their “freedom” to use cigarettes, but it’s definitely frowned upon. (Not to mention, heavily taxed.) I know this first hand because I used to be a smoker. I recall the disapproving looks and comments I used to receive – not only from family, friends and co-workers, but from complete strangers. I believe this social disapproval made it easier for me to eventually quit.
It seems to me that eating animal products will follow a similar transition from widespread social acceptance to widespread disapproval. After all, how long should we be expected to tolerate an optional behavior that is so incredibly destructive, not just to ourselves, but to other people, our environment, and of course, to other animals?
I am hopeful that someday soon, we will come to frown upon the “choice” to consume animal products much in the same way we have come to frown upon the choice to smoke cigarettes. Smokers generally only hurt themselves, but eating animal products harms us all.