Wednesday, December 3, 2014

4 ways to be a vegan ninja

Humane Research Council did a study in which they outlined a bunch of useful stats on veganism/vegetarianism. One of the things they pointed out was that 63% of former vegans/vegetarians didn't like how they stuck out in the crowd.

So I thought I'd write about how not to stand out in the crowd.

1. Don't intentionally stand out. This one is obvious, but, if you've gone veg for animal reasons maybe you feel like you need to defend animals at all times. I have a closet full of pro-animal shirts, but I only wear them when that's who I want to be. Sometimes I'm out wearing a pro-animal shirt and I stop feeling like being a spectacle, so I turn the shirt inside out, and voila, I'm normal.

2. Casually keep it a secret. If you go out to eat with non-vegans, and somebody asks why you're abstaining from cheese, just casually say "eh I don't really like cheese" or "I'm just not feeling the cheese tonight". Usually, if you downplay the importance, people will let it go. People have all kinds of dietary restrictions and allergies these days. If they don't let it go, just say "it's complicated" or "it's a long story" and brush it off.

If somebody asks directly about your vegan/vegetarianism, it may be a good opportunity to advocate. But if you're not in the mood to be a spectacle, and somebody asks "hey you're a vegan aren't you?", it's within your rights to say "na, I just eat like one".
it's within your rights to say "na, I just eat like one"

At the restaurant, make it out like holding the cheese is a specific request and avoid using the word 'vegan'. If you need to know whether something has meat or cheese, by all means ask, but act as though you're just not in the mood tonight.

3. Practice. It's really not hard to blend in, once you start learning how. If your meals are always about veganism, try going out with omni acquaintances once and challenge yourself to keep it a secret.

4. Hang with veg friends. Community support and social pressure are incredibly powerful forces. If you've never been together with a group that is all vegan, you don't know what you're missing! The social reinforcement is well worth getting out to that meetup, conference, or retreat.

By allowing ourselves to relax in social situations, we can avoid alienating ourselves and others, and make it more likely that we'll stay veg for the long term.


it seems obscure
yet I assure
that what we eat
and how we treat
our furry friends
and mother hens
affects our heart
in no small part

Thursday, September 25, 2014

10 reasons not to give animals rights

Imagine that it's before the abolition of slavery, and you are a normal person. One day, you wake up and realize that slavery is immoral. You begin to see everything differently. You feel compelled to speak out, but alas, nobody wants to hear what you have to say. When you raise the issue with others, they dismiss your concerns with one or more of the following 10 reasons.

The following 10 reasons not to abolish slavery are being used around the net by liberty proponents, towards the abolition of government. I found them also to be eerily similar to arguments opposing animal rights.

reason not to abolish slavery reason to oppose animal rights
Slavery is natural. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way—for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting—will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard. Raising animals for food is natural. Species differ, and we must expect that those who are more intelligent, make moral decisions, or are just plain stronger will make themselves masters of the inferior species.
Slavery has always existed. People have been eating animals since ancient history. (Other ancient practices include rape and murder.)
Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity. Every society on earth eats animals, therefore every society must continue to eat animals. (Although the premise is debatable, it's moot because the argument is not valid anyway.)
The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves. The animals are not capable of taking care of themselves.
Without masters, the slaves will die off. This idea is the preceding one pushed to it's extreme. Without animal agriculture, the cows/pigs/chickens/sheep/goats/etc. will die off.
Where the common people are free, they are worse off than the slaves. Living on a farm is a better deal for the animals than the alternative. They are fed and sheltered on farms, unlike in the wild.
Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils. In the United States many people assumed that the slaveholders would never permit the termination of the slave system without an all-out fight to preserve it. Ceasing to eat animals will cause great economic hardship to the farmers (ok, this one is a stretch, I haven't really heard anyone argue that there would be "great bloodshed". Does "I would have to give up cheeseburgers" count?).
Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem. Without farms, the animals would run amuck, stealing from suburban gardens, crowding the streets, and generally causing mayhem.
Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal. Veganism is a foolishly idealistic and impractical, misguided attempt at showing compassion. It's just not realistic.
Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation. Forget veganism. A far better plan is to focus on welfare reforms; keep the animals sufficiently well treated, "humanely" confined, exploited, and slaughtered.