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:
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.
Feb 28, 12
I overheard a friend of mine explaining to a meat-eater, “Yes, but vegans believe meat equals evil.”
This is another subtle but pervasive opinion of vegans which I take issue with.
A phrase like “vegans believe meat = evil” trivializes the belief that killing innocent beings is immoral.
“Evil,” these days, is a hard notion to take seriously. “Meat” is a faceless, tasty product that most of us in the United States grew up eating. Most importantly, I think, a phrase like this keeps the animal out of the picture and the emotionless product, meat, as the focus.
A non-vegan listening to my friend would likely construct in his head an image of a wobbly, little, pink cut of meat and a red-eyed fringe lunatic vegan screaming “evil” at it.
Many vegans think killing innocent beings is immoral. Meat is a product of killing those beings, just like a black eye might be the byproduct of getting punched in the face. No one would scream that black eyes are evil, yet nearly everyone would object to an old lady receiving one (unless she works at the DMV).
In all dealings with those who think like us and with those who disagree, we absolutely cannot forget about those who, for food and entertainment, are stabbed, bludgeoned, slit open, drown alive, electrified, gassed to death, prodded with hooks, chucked with their brothers and sisters into grinders, chainsawed and even thrown into pits of despair (for “science”). At this very moment, by the thousands, all of that and worse is occurring.
If we think anything is evil, that is it. Not “meat.”
Jan 27, 12
Inspired by the currently-trending Twitter topic, #30WaysToMakeAGirlSmile. This is slightly tongue-in-cheek for those of you with your Serious Hats on all the time.
- Make her feel safe by not exploiting other females for their milk. Girls get nervous when they think you’re going to steal their breastmilk.
- Acknowledge that enslaving female animals and forcing them to reproduce is a human feminist issue.
- Cook her a truly happy meal.
- Don’t claw her to death with the big, scary apex predator claws which you do not have.
- Smile at, don’t bite her with, your stubby little “canine” teeth that are cavity-prone and need braces to keep straight.
- Don’t force your beliefs down her throat! Learn to kiss properly!
- Adopt, do not breed!
- Learn to count to 30.
30. Go vegan!
Even if you still eat meat, deviating even once from the social norms is going to get you reactions like this. If you have no interest in going vegan, then at least try eating a conspicuously vegan meal a few times in mixed company. For instance, vegetable fajitas when everyone else is having cow in theirs, or a veggie burger at a place which servers cow burgers. Watching people’s reactions as they try to figure out why you’re not joining in on the meat eating is fun and philosophically profitable.
You may notice the jacket looks really familiar to a certain sweater worn in another webcomic. For my first page, I wanted to pay tribute to Penny-Arcade, who have provided me with years of chuckles and a few outright guffaws.