An alternative media columnist builds an argument that exposes the core beliefs of the veggies and vegans who hate the industry. And he concludes with the ultimate, crushing insult.

I love vegans.

As a columnist, that is.

Vegans are so pure, so righteous that no matter what any producer, ranchers, packer, processors or restaurateur does to foster humane treatment of livestock, or sustainability in production, or maybe just building social consciousness around an issue that might positively affect society. It’s never good enough.

Whether you’re a businessperson connected with any aspect of animal foods production, or just a consumer eating a normal American diet, you stand convicted in the court of Vegan Justice as a knuckle-dragging savage who slaughters helpless creatures and feasts on their bloody flesh.

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.

An “alternative media” publication called the Charleston City Paper recently published an opinion piece by a columnist named Mat Catastrophe. (Which immediately made me realize that I need to come up with a kick-a** moniker, too. Maybe go the route of actor Mark Vincent, who changed his name to Vin Diesel).

Anyway, Mr. Catastrophe took to task restaurant operator Chipotle. Why? Because they removed their carnitas menu item from hundreds of locations, due to a supplier who failed to conform to the company’s animal handling standards

You and I know that those “standards” are voluntary. They have been crafted and marketed for maximum consumer impact, and they’re “enforced” through the filing of voluntary affidavits supported by self-audits.

But that’s not the real issue. Oh, no. The problem is the entire industry, as Catastrophe was quick to explain. I’m going to quote his column a bit more extensively than usual, because these excerpts are a perfect crystallization of the vegan-veggie mindset.

“A couple of weeks ago, Chipotle Mexican Grill garnered glowing attention from the press and conscious consumers when it announced it was removing carnitas from the menus of several hundred locations . . . after the restaurant chain discovered that one of its suppliers failed to live up to Chipotle’s standards for ‘responsibly raised’ meat products.

“Immediately, consumers and food bloggers lavished praise upon Chipotle for its ‘high moral standing’ on the issue of how the food we consume is produced. Ultimately, though, the praise being heaped on Chipotle is simply a lot of hogwash.

“Let’s face it, as long as Chipotle and other restaurants are raising and slaughtering millions of animals a year and generating billions of dollars in revenue off it, any claims to a higher moral standard are a bit suspect.”

Although Catastrophe claimed to be an omnivore, and even tossed in the disclaimer “I’ve tried from time to time to limit my intake of animal products,” he captured the mentality of the vegan purity movement with absolute precision.

No matter what anyone does (or doesn’t do), anything involved with the production of animal foods is to be condemned. There are many avenues for veggies to travel as they trash the industry — global warming, industrial-scale pollution, animal abuse, capitalistic profiteering — but in the end, it’s not about issues that can be “fixed.” It’s about the bottom-line immorality of the entire enterprise of livestock production and meat-eating itself.

Here’s another helping of Catastrophe to illustrate that point.

“Isn’t that the point behind restaurants like Chipotle making a lot of noise about how they are different from other places? Isn’t it the reason a store like Whole Foods places signs in their meat section advertising how their cows, chickens, and pigs are loved and cared for and allowed to roam free (without the necessary parenthetical addition of the obvious fact that all that love and freedom ends the moment the animals’ throats are slit)?”

Answer: Yes, and yes.

“It’s marketing by any other name, and it still smells like garbage,” Catastrophe concluded.

He went on to rip Chipotle for such pleasant-sounding platitudes as “food with integrity,” the company’s signature tagline. But that’s just hype, or “hogwash,” if you prefer.

“Do we give credit to the least violent murderer of the year?” he wrote. “Or the oil company who polluted the least? If the best we can do is give credit to companies for screwing up less than everyone else, are we really saying we’re getting anywhere toward ‘sustainable’ anything?

“If the patrons of Chipotle were truly interested in higher moral ground, would they not seek out non-chain restaurants, specifically ones that serve meat produced near enough to home that you could go visit the farm? And would not those restaurants function more as worker co-ops, with no bosses and no managers and no corporate structure directing money to a headquarters far away from the workers and consumers?”

Karl Marx, meet Mat C.

Now, for the knockout blow.

“We live in a society where the ‘cleanest’ capitalists come off like glorious fighters in our brave new world. If you’re really concerned about animal welfare, and if you're one of the people who feel that animals deserve legal rights, then choosing a restaurant that treats animals humanely until they are slaughtered is not a win-win for you.

“If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, then none of this really even applies to you. (Naturally).

“Individual choice inside the larger framework of corporate or consumer capitalism is largely meaningless. When Chipotle rejects both the notion of slaughtered animals for food and the for-profit model that feeds millions into the hands of a few stockholders, then they can lay claim to a moral standard. Until then, they’re nothing but McDonald’s for middle-class liberals with guilt issues.”

And when you’ve sunk to the level of Ronald and friends, you have officially hit vegetarian rock bottom.

Suck on that, guilty middle-class liberals.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dan Murphy, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator.