In almost every blog I read on the internets, if the author hasn’t updated said blog in awhile an explanation is required and often times an apology that she has had her devoted “followers” waiting with bated breath and hungry for more news and enlightening dialogue. Hah! I hardly believe this is the case for me and therefore I will not provide any explanation or apology that I haven’t updated in over a month! Fuhhgettaboutit! In all seriousness though, I had to take a step back from my previous posts and look inward for a bit. I had to reexamine the methods I was using to explain what and why I’m writing this blog. I needed to do much more research (on everything really) and what I’m most interested in and what has been a big factor in changing my life; animal abolitionism.
(note: most underlined words are links)
I know at the conclusion of many of these posts I promise to continue on a certain subject and then I haven’t/don’t. I think it’s because at the moment I write it, I truly believe I have gathered enough information and thoughts to continue on to another post. This hasn’t exactly been the case. Or I somehow lost my writing groove and/or get distracted or too busy or I’m out of town etc.
However, I really will write a second post having to do with the exploitation of slaughterhouse workers but it probably won’t be the exclusive subject. I did also mention an upcoming post on Walter Bond (or other direct action activists that are doing or have done prison time such as the ever illustrious Peter Young) that I may have been working on. Well, I haven’t worked on one at all. Nevertheless, I have been doing a lot of research on direct action and the non-organizational (albeit, this can be argued) Animal Liberation Front. This includes an enormous amount of time spent in front of my computer and on the couch surrounded by books in the late night/early morning hours reading the large array of information on this subject. Hold that thought.
I know I wanted to make sure I put some personality into this blog and really make it “alive.” I know that a good amount of research is essential but I wanted to elaborate on somewhat of a slow personal transformation that has taken place within me for the past few months.
The decision to become vegan in my life to the greatest extent possible was a huge change though easier than I predicted. In fact, I want to just mention to whoever is thinking it is extremely difficult to be vegan; that it is so easy! If you truly care about animals and it makes sense then the rest is almost effortless. Though it is easy, of course you must do a certain amount of research to make sure you are getting all your healthy vitamins and all that good stuff. Yes. Also, a vegan lifestyle beyond food is a change in itself and requires you to read labels in the store and to know even how these companies phrase not testing on animals to truly determine if they’re full of shit of not.
There are numerous online resources to help you do this. And it all depends on how far you want to take your veganism. For me, the decision was to abstain from any animal products to the greatest extent possible. In addition to not eating animal products, everything from toothpaste (also must be without animal ingredients) to not eating honey or wearing wool also applies. That is one thing that is tricky as well. How do you know if animal ingredients are in a product when it doesn’t spell it out for you at the bottom in bold? Again, there are numerous online sources (and even books but that is an unnecessary expense considering the value of the internet,) that tell you exactly the ingredients to watch out for. For instance, lanolin, which is found in some lotions, is obtained from the fat extracted from sheep’s wool. Mohair, which is found in some clothing like sweaters, is made from the hair of an angora goat. Casein, which is fairly common, is milk protein. Cholesterol is in itself is all animal fats, oils, nervous tissue, egg yolk and blood. Others are painfully obvious like mink oil, down, gelatin, guanine, keratin (maybe not so obvious but is a form of protein found in hair, hooves, horns and feathers.) Pepsin is an enzyme usually derived from the stomach of calves or sometimes pigs etc. The point is some of these ingredients are sneaky. However, don’t let that scare you because you learn to recognize companies and logos (think the bunny icon on the bottle), which tell you what you can trust.
What is so effortless about all that research, you say? Look, when it makes sense to you, when you are aware of all the horrific suffering that takes place to acquire these animal products in our name, which are not necessary for you to survive, but only for human taste, entertainment, and convenience, you seemingly unknowing have adopted a new way of thinking. I’m getting a little ahead of myself but for me; veganism is a political and ethical stance that explicitly rejects the method of thought that animals exist as a means to our ends. When you truly believe in something like that, everything else like research and all that IS effortless. As I said, when it makes sense, there is no going back. Animals deserve equal consideration in the moral community. Again, getting ahead of myself. So where am I anyway?
I really want avoid getting all vegangelical up in here. However, as a disclaimer, it may seem like such but I assure you that my goal is to live by an example of a happy and healthy vegan who is informed and desires to inform others. A blog can serve as a platform for this though it is not an advertisement for veganism. While I may think its fucking fabulous that you may decide to check veganism out after either reading this or may find you’re inspired to do your own research; that isn’t entirely my goal.
I was listening to the podcast “Vegan Freak Radio” hosted by the authors Bob and Jenna Torres and they were discussing the conversations that tend to come up with non-vegans whist discussing veganism and there are truly people you talk to who are curious about what you’re doing and why and would like to know more. However, there are those who find delight in dangling meat in front of your face or making other juvenile remarks and who get downright hostile and argumentative. Bob looks at these situations as triage, explaining that you can ask yourself, “is it really worth spending thirty minutes of my time explaining my veganism to someone who isn’t remotely interested in going vegan and is rather just looking to argue?” No. It is not. On the flipside, it may be worth it to civilly discuss the topic (preferably NOT over the dinner table) with someone genuinely interested who may consider going vegan after gaining more information and insight. Rad! I’m totally up for that shit let’s do it up!
People who tend to get rude and argumentative I look at in two ways: first, I believe that these people get very defensive because they themselves may be reluctantly considering what they are doing may actually be morally wrong so they must fiercely kick out at you because of this. Second, they are assholes that thrive on ridiculing people who are different than themselves. I feel sorry for those sorts but again, triage.
This is not to say that there aren’t people in between these two extremes. Think about your friends. No doubt, some of them may be uncomfortable with your new decision especially if you speak freely about your reasons. I feel this way sometimes and I’m still sort of shy going full force discussing it so the best way is to live how I live and if the conversation comes up so be it. I did have a very cool conversation with a friend of mine today who I greatly respect and I think she’s so incredibly badass and intelligent. She was making this wonderful homemade pasta sauce with green and red peppers, fresh tomatoes, onion, and zucchini. Delish. Anyway, it was a respectful conversation where I carefully went into my reasons from abstaining from anything derived from an animal and she admitted she’s like to learn more vegan cooking even though she will probably never give up meat but that she thought it was cool I was standing up for something I believe in. And hey we’re still friends. This is all very cool. There are no doubt friends of mine and coworkers who probably look at me in a different light and some of them are cool with it and some of them may quietly pull away from their “radical vegan” friend and have trouble relating to me. I sense that. If asked, I have no hesitation about telling the truth and explaining my reasoning. I have absolutely no intention of making people feel uncomfortable or being viewed as trying to make them feel guilty. That’s all silly and gross.
Side note: If you are vegan for the love of GOD don’t wear a t-shirt that says something pretentious and obnoxious like “Vegans Taste Better,” or “Vegans Fuck Better,” or “I’m Vegan Because My Body Is Not a Graveyard!” Or really any shirts that PETA or PETA2 carry. They give the intelligent and mindful vegans a REALLY bad name. Almost as foolish as the “Save a Cow Eat a Vegan” or “Meat is Murder (tasty murder),”or, “If it’s got a face I’ll eat it.” GAG.
To wrap up this rather disjointed update: I’m ready to update more now that I have more of a handle on how to explain my intentions.