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changoamable
12-03-2008, 12:34 PM
I became a vegan fifteen years ago for the complex of issues around the commodification of animals, which Iíll try to summarize as I understand them now:
Ethics: animals are sentient, feel pain, and must be granted enforceable rights.
Environmental: the exploitation of animals is one of the major engines behind the destruction of our earth. Itís also a powerful symbol of our violent human disrespect of all things ďnot human.Ē
Health: the science, just in the time I have been vegan, has steadily come to a clear, if sometimes deliberately muddled consensus Ė that the consumption of animal products is not only unnecessary for human well-being, but is likely detrimental to human health.
Politics: the uncontrolled, vapid and mindless consumerism that leads us to consume products that, by their nature, and bad for us, the earth, the world and its animal victims is representative of our like consumption of a global politics that does the same.
The process was gradual. My parents (both slowly recovering omnis) are both leftists, and militants until the early seventies Ė they gave me the space to investigate and learn about ďalternativeĒ ideas, politics, lifestyles, etc. As a teenager, through music and reading, mostly, I learned about vegetarianism. Itís notable that I donít remember knowing any vegetarians or vegans at all in my whole life Ė including now. I do remember many occasions when eating my favorite foods Ė hungry man fried chicken dinners, for example Ė feeling the dark understanding of what it was I was eating.
My knowledge expanded slowly, and slowly, the truths that I knew about meat production became experiential, by which I mean I understood why and how it was wrong. Then I learned something about nutrition and figured out that animal products were unnecessary Ė which was somehow really shocking then, and still, to me, the most damning condemnation of omnis.
It was slow. Itís still slow. The fundamentalism of new vegans long ago went away and I look around in the meat-centric world to see everyone around me on a slow road of learning and making that knowledge understanding.
I donít think its ďhardĒ to be vegan. Itís hard to watch people who you love or care about fail to educate themselves or make logical decisions the lack of which will harm their health and life. It hard not to be angry that people around you blindly and carelessly wield their privilege and cause collective harm to themselves and the world.
It hard to watch intelligent, thoughtful, feeling people do something as fundamental to being as to eat, cheese, for example. They must know where it comes from. They must have met a cow at some point. High school biology tells us only pregnant females lactate. And so much cheese! How did so many cows get pregnant? Where are the calves? What did the calves eat while rich manufacturers made thier cheese? And where did the calves end up? And the cows, when they stop giving milk?
But they ďcouldnít give up cheese!Ē
Thatís hard.
Being vegan is like anything else, a struggle. Our understandings change, we make stupid mistakes, repeatedly, learn (and donít) from them. Our cooking improves. New and shiny products come onto the market, are good or horrible (mostly horrible). Veganism above all is that understanding I mentioned. And understanding canít be unlearned or ignored or acted against Ė it can only evolve.

VegeTexan
12-03-2008, 12:56 PM
Welcome to VR. Good to have you with us.

phloxy
12-03-2008, 01:08 PM
Nice intro. Welcome!!

bumblebee
12-03-2008, 01:57 PM
Welcome :)

sitting_vegan
12-03-2008, 02:13 PM
Welcome! Well-put.

Provoked
12-04-2008, 12:37 AM
Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say...
So nice meeting you! Welcome :)

ajkochanowicz
12-04-2008, 01:20 AM
You take a strong objective stance on the issue of our use of animals. I wish I could hear more of this. Instead, there is an abundance of defeatism self-proclaimed as activism and advocacy for animals.

Welcome, a thousand times welcome.