May 10, 13
I received an email this morning from a friend of mine. Very few of them write me about my activity on animal rights, so I thought her letter and my response was worthy of posting online.
It can be tremendously isolating to be the only vegan in your group of friends. Some will, wrongly, expect you to show up at their BBQs and throw buckets of blood on their faces. Or scream, “Meat is murder” at them as they eat their eggs even though you yourself ate meat for many years.
It’s nice when a friend writes me and is genuinely curious. It lets me know my online advocacy is not falling into a black hole.
Hello my beautiful spirited friend! I love your posts about animals and veganism!
I want to ask you: you know how I’m always teetering back and forth between vegetarianism and not. I would full-heartedly love to live the vegan life. I do not know how you do it. It seems impossible to me. Especially living with a meat eater. He’s gone a lot so scout and I stick mainly to fruits and veggies and grains and sadly dairy.
I could so live without meat. But I cannot eliminate the dairy, and you taught me that’s the worst industry.
Can you give me some inspiring words? Kudos to you and your family and for your love and devotion to animals.
Thank you for the kind words! Here are some tips. I hope they help you make some changes that make you feel better and help the animals.
The beautiful thing about being vegan is you get a chance to creatively help the animals, and make a real impact on their lives without having to ever leave your kitchen.
Milk is pretty easy to replace. Think of how many alternative milks there are: hemp, rice, soy, almond, coconut, just off the top of my head. Vegan butters are for sale in places like the grocery near your house. Cheese replacements don’t taste quite the same, so that’s why I say just pull the cheese out and put something interesting in its place: avocado, cashew / basil pesto, etc.
Being vegan with a nonvegan spouse can be challenging but it’s totally doable. Think of it like trying to quit smoking while living with a smoker.
Eating vegan can seem impossible because it can be a totally new habit, but if you take one recipe at a time and put in plant-based alternatives, you’ll inch your way toward a vegan menu in no time.
I’d pick one meal a day to make vegan (breakfast is an easy one). Any recipe you have trouble making vegan, just ask me or check these sites for ideas:
May 03, 13
The Dalai Lama eats meat. Why this bothers me can best be summed up by my favorite quote from Norm Phelps in his book, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights“:
Thinking like a lawyer or an academic logician and claiming that it is acceptable to harm another sentient being for our own selfish benefit based on hair-splitting distinctions and nimble logic is contrary to the teaching of the Buddha.
I ate meat for 32 years. It wasn’t until then that I read enough to realize that animal flesh simple is not necessary for humans. What a relief! To know that eating meat (and obviously dairy) wasn’t necessary. I can’t tell you how good it felt to find that out.
Since we don’t need it, and there are alternatives everywhere, eating it is really only an act of preference. Okay, some people prefer it, that’s fine. They’ll come around.
The Dalai Lama eats animals. Having people kill animals for him to eat is the opposite of compassion.
Aug 19, 12
We do not allow animal abuse in our house.
This question only comes up from people in meat-eating households, because only in those households is veganism seen as trivial and flippant a “lifestyle” choice as what hobby to pursue or what color of shirt to wear.
Everyone is welcome to their opinions. The question we must each ask ourselves is: Does my opinion result in actions that harm others?
Many people will not see eating flesh as animal abuse. Somehow, killing an animal does not count as abuse, in that mind frame. In my household, the children will not want to harm cows or chickens any more than they want to harm cats and dogs.
Children have amazingly good bullshit detectors. They “get” fairness. They understand justice. The cognitive dissonance parents cause when they tell children to love one animal and eat the flesh of another is confusing and inconsistent for completely arbitrary reasons. A vegan diet provides a consistent, clear and truly compassionate framework built on honesty, healthy eating, love and, yes, even on justice.
Aug 17, 12
Sorry about the clutter! I’m redoing the site to make it easier to navigate and search. Also to add fancy.
May 23, 12
In an MSN article today – a headline article – a Pit Bull mourned his friend for fourteen hours after she was killed by a car. Here’s the link, if you want to depress yourself for a while. This is front-page news because people still want to believe that only humans have “higher” emotions such as grief and love, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
When people write, discuss and link articles like this, it is usually because they are saying, “Well of course the dog feels that way,” and “How sad!” It is not until they think about what they eat that people will cite some outlandish fallacy to describe why this dog is different, and eating a pig or drinking cow milk is perfectly fine.
I disagree strongly with the idea that dogs mourn while chickens do not, and science backs up my belief.
When news articles and discussions like this come up, it’s a good time to interject some observations. Before people get to the point of citing inherited cultural stupidity as if it were their own (“Jesus ate fish 2,000 years ago therefore yay bacon and foie gras“), this is an excellent time to bring up a few discussion points:
- All animals mourn the losses of their loved ones. (See also: my “bear machines” article). These dogs are no different than pigs. What makes us so certain that we can inflict this kind of mourning on innocent animals?
- Killing the dog painlessly still inflicts a harm upon her friend, the survivor, even if you do not accept that removing all future experiences from killed animal is a harm. (Try telling a grieving family member that their grief is not suffering).
- Pigs are allegedly smarter than dogs. (Not that it matters). When we eat pork chops, bacon, pig lard, we create scenes like this for them.
- The location could change but the grief would be the same. Standing in line waiting to be slaughtered does not magically render the animals happy to smell blood and hear the screams of their friends and loved ones ahead of them in line.
- Going vegan= eliminates, among other things, the mourning a mother cow does when her child is ripped away so humans can steal her milk.
Many of us accept that animals love, play, fear and fight. We need not eat them to survive, therefore we cannot justify eating them for pleasure.