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Posts tagged ‘veganism’

A conversation with a vegan.

This blog is an edited version of a conversation I had with a person (marked in italics) who would like to remain anonymous.

Eucalyptus poisoning inhibits my ability to bite my tongue: Fact.

You know what they call the insects that eat eucalyptus? Spit-fire bugs.

Here’s the thing. I believe you care, I believe you want to make a difference. I am not attacking you. I’m really sorry for the rant. I don’t intend to make you feel bad. I want to thank you for giving me a forum to speak and clarify. I am frustrated at the (short-sighted) ways that people are approaching attempting change. I respect your perspective, however, I want to challenge your way of thinking. You are in a position to reach people. That is important. You are passionate, and that is important as well. But think carefully about how you go about educating, and your intentions underlying your actions.

‘They sit and wait before they die; Listening in horror as the other rabbits scream and cry. Such a cruel existence, one can only wonder why?’

I don’t really want to be seeing pictures of animal abuse. I am vegan for three years now, and so not responsible for what the people in these images are putting these people through. While raising awareness is important, I think putting energy in the direction of innovation, change and solutions is important. People know animal cruelty is happening. Nobody wants it to be happening. But as long as we are trying to provide meat cheaply, animals will suffer. As long as low prices drive the economy, companies will be trying to cut corners to drop costs. Have you seen the documentary ‘The corporation‘? I think it might help you to know what I mean.

You are responsible. If you know these and you are not doing anything, you are responsible. If you know a better way to stop this, I’d be happy when to hear your way works. But don’t try to stop me. because you can’t. Hiding these facts not showing these images, isn’t that the reason that we all use to be involved in these murders? Isn’t it the reason that we didn’t know why we shouldn’t eat meat? Isn’t it the reason that we couldn’t make the connection between the food on our plate and animals in slaughterhouses? If these are happening why we shouldn’t show it? If it was happening to you would you still want me to don’t tell the others what’s happening to you?! It’s our job to tell them. If you don’t want to make your friends sad by showing them what they are doing to animals, I will post two pictures, one of them on behalf of you! Keep people in ignorance is exactly what industries want. I’m not gonna help them. You make your choice, I make mine.

I am not responsible for the choices of others. I am responsible for my own choices. I am responsible for my own truth, and my own education, not that of others. If someone is blind, they choose to be, and that is their prerogative. I lead by example, and am open to sharing what I know and helping others to make a change when they request it. I used to be involved because I chose to be, and then I chose not to be. It had nothing to do with seeing a film. We all have our own truth inside ourselves. I always made the connection, I just chose to ignore it. As many other people do. I think if people knew more about food and cooking, they would naturally eat less meat. Nobody likes animal cruelty! But the point is that the problem is systematic. Do you know why things as are they are? You seem to think you are somehow seperate from the evil ‘corporations’- but they are ordinary people like you, working with the information and education they have, within a system that is inherently flawed. Disturbing images are alienating and sensationalist.

If I see two men are hitting and killing a kid on the street. I will do something. I feel it’s my responsibility to stop them. I won’t take my time to make sure they are not gonna feel sad. They are killing the kid. You want to go and work on something else,  you feel like it’s none of your business,  you think it’s their choice: I don’t. I will do something. I think this is the difference between you and me.

I’m not killing a kid, and this is not happening in my presence or because of my purchases. So why do I need to feel sad, or watch?

Seriously? Because you can try to stop them killing the kid. And if you stop them the kid will stay alive, if you don’t the kid will be killed. Wasn’t that obvious?

You assume that screaming at me that someone else is killing a kid, and making me upset, will change it. How will it? Go and scream at that person, not me. And even then, what will your anger do, if it happens behind closed doors?

‘If you’re not enraged, you’re not paying attention’, -Author unknown.

It is possible to pay attention and hold awareness without being outraged. I am not sure anger is a constructive of emotion. I understand activists think it is, along with ‘resistance’, but I am not sure about that. I wonder how Buddha or Mahatma Ghandi would reply to that statement. What about compassionate understanding for all beings affected by suffering, including the humans? Your statement seems to hint at concepts of demonisation, in making someone the ‘bad’ guy, and I am just not sure that is the case. I understand what is happening to the animals is bad, it is horrible, and it makes me cry, but have you heard the stories about what of the factory workers who are involved in the process? My heart breaks for them as well. And the consumers are the ones who ultimately create the situation by needing low prices… but they are also struggling to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.. So the problem isn’t a simple one. It is widespread and insidious. Calm reflective thought and conversation, meditation and prayer, as well as economic revolution, are what will help more so than outrage.

 It is very kind of you that your heart breaks for them, but if they were doing these things to your family, would you still mind about their reason? I ask again: If these were happening to your mother, father, or you sister and brother or your child, would you still pay attention without being outraged?! Please don’t tell me there is a difference. The only difference is you know those people and you like them more. But tell me what Buddha or Gandhi would do if they were alive? We are not killing these people. We are not hitting them. All we are doing is we show the world what they are doing, and we don’t even have to tell people that it is wrong. It’s obvious. I don’t care what do you feel after seeing this. Just do something. And don’t try to stop me.

You are free, and I am not telling you to stop, I am just asking you to think about things a little deeper. You might have compassion for the animals, but you need to have compassion for the humans. That is what Buddha would say- compassion for ALL living beings. And you know what? In the words of Gibran:

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong
as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
If any of you would bring to judgment the unfaithful wife,
Let him also weigh the heart of her husband in scales, and measure his soul with measurements.
And let him who would lash the offender look unto the spirit of the offended.
And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness
and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots;
And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless,
all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.

The violence is within you, true change comes from within not without. If you want to go around telling people what they need to do, I will do the same for you, and I will say: You need to have compassion. Any action you take will be a reflection of the presence or absence of compassion and understanding within you. Again, Gibran:

Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.
Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.
And you who would understand justice, how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man
standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,
And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.

I don’t care what people do. I don’t want to change anyone. I don’t have the time to change anyone. I don’t care what people eat. I don’t care what people think. I don’t care what’s people’s goals. I don’t care what’s people’s way.  I want to stop killing and torturing animals, and humans. The most right way that I found, and the most powerful and humane way that I’ve found, IS TELLING THEM THE TRUTH. It seems like we have different perspectives. You want to keep people happy while they are killing animals. I think if you are killing and torturing animals or humans, you should feel sad. I’m not sure with your food how are you going to stop killing animals for their skins, stop torturing and killing animals in labs, for entertainment, stop killing animals in shelters… I have many people that come to me and ask me about veganisim, and they become vegan just because I showed them the truth. This is my way. Every second millions of animals are being killed. I don’t have time to use political ways. My way is : Just tell ’em the Truth. If the truth is sad, and makes you sad, and makes you cry, It’s not my fault. It’s happening. And we need to know.

You think it’s okay to use to anger, guilt and sadness to motivate people. I don’t. I don’t believe change motivated by anger, guilt and blame will be lasting.

No, I think it’s okay to tell them the Truth. Even if the truth makes them feel angry, guilty, or sad.

It is a partial truth you are telling. You aren’t telling the story of the people who have stopped eating meat, or the stories of the people, who, for example, have been ‘educated’ that they actually need to eat dairy to have calcium. Those people really believe that. You aren’t telling the stories about the laws which result in the farm treatments farmers use, the financial pressures, or the fact that the governments subside meat and dairy but not vegetables. Besides, the problem isn’t eating meat. Some people are genetically more suited to eating meat. The cruelty and distortion comes from commercial farming practices, and things on large scale. Large companies, large production. Whereas if you can empower people to grow, shop and produce locally, these problems will go away. No-one would do it in their backyard. The knowledge you are giving people isn’t empowering, in my opinion. You upset people without giving them a full solution. ‘Get angry’ is not a solution.

And, as far as ‘the truth’ is concerned… What about say, the starving children in Africa? And the wars overseas? And the environmental destruction? And the polar bears? How come they aren’t part of this truth? What about the people who are being exploited? What about the… I could go on. My point is, the world is in a shit-storm, bad things are happening all over the place for reasons that are complex and difficult to understand. But I resent the finger-pointing and the over-simplification to the exclusion of all the people who are doing constructive things. I think by spreading the images, you perpetuate the violence. I do not agree with inciting anger! I feel if you empower people, if people are truly happy, and in touch with themselves and the planet, things would change. ‘As within, so without’.

I have said enough here. I do want to ask you though: do you think that angry people can create a better world, truly? Or do you think that if people stay the same- sad, angry, guilty, and blaming, that once the pigs are out of the factory farming stalls, we will still be facing the exact same problems in a different form? Once the fishing stops, the fish are going to die from environmental pollution anyway. Everyone in the world could become vegan, and the mother polar bears will still starve because while they were feeding their baby cubs, all the ice melted. The communities in Africa still will not have drinking water, human babies will be dying of preventable disease, and the first world will be sitting at home with their laptops and wi-fi being angry about those ‘evil companies that abused pigs’ and congratulating themselves on being vegan; while eating processed food, nutritionally starving, and watching their loved ones die of cancer. I don’t have an answer, but I strongly feel ‘get angry’ is not it. Do you know what causes depression? Anger. Depressed people can’t change their own underpants, let alone the very fabric of society. The problems we are facing require thought and attention, as well as action. I am willing to take considered action. I just don’t think rubbing images of abused animals in peoples faces is the answer. People know something is very, very wrong in the world. They just don’t know what to do to make it better. I think telling people that being vegan is the answer does them a disservice. Being vegan isn’t going to save the bee populations, or the frogs. I think that a more holistic, compassionate, and systematic approach is requires to elicit societal change.

You do your way, I do mine. If we have the same goal, it doesn’t matter. But let me ask you, would you do the same thing that you are saying if your family were in a slaughterhouse right now?

We have the same goal in that I do not want animals to be abused. I also do not want people or the environment to be abused. I believe healthy people makes for a healthy world, and I do not understand how pictures of animal abuse help people to be healthier. (And being ‘vegan’ doesn’t make people healthier, necessarily, if they are eating processed foods). There is a bigger picture.

Who are my family? Animals, trees, and all peoples. The earth is my family. My family IS in a slaughterhouse! We are all going to die, some far too soon. (Though, the question of whether or not humans are carnivorous is a different one. If a lion is eating a zebra, and you save that zebra, you starve the lion. Again, it is not humans eating meat that results in cruelty. It is mass production). If you want to stop cruelty, anger will not work. Compassionate right action will. In a society incapable of responsibilty or forgiveness, there will always be cruelty.

I am not going to swallow what I believe to be true just so that you like me. My way of thinking may be foreign to you, and so you might not grasp what I am trying to say. You might look for other explanations, you might judge me as selfish or apathetic. Maybe give it some time, and re-read what I have written , then maybe you will see.