9 August, 2008, 809 pm
Filed under: My Experience with Existence | Tags:

Here’s why I’m so strongly considering veganism right now. Vegetarianism is a slightly hypocritical stance. Supposing you’re in it for ethical reasons, you’re trying to limit the suffering of animals. You’re trying to cut down on the contributions, but only to an extent that is convenient for you (because vegetarianism is actually one of the easiest changes I’ve ever made). If you really cared that much about the animals, then you’d go all the way and be vegan. And as a teenager, I understand that this is hard (but not impossible, of course) when you live with an unsupportive family that is willing to starve you back into at least vegetarianism, but as an adult, you really have no reason not to be vegan yet. I’ve looked into it, and really, the conversion is no more difficult than vegetarianism. You’ve just got to substitute, and things are not always necessarily more expensive. You can work on the same budget as you did before. You’ve just got to choose things wisely.

And whenever the vegetarianism conversation comes up with people, I’m compelled to mention that I’ve been considering veganism, and then they’ll mention something about cheese or ice cream or whatever. Milk. How difficult that must be, right? No honey. Impossible. And I’ll smile and nod and vaguely agree, maybe, but this is my way of attempting to stay connected to someone I have little in common with as far as ethics go. The truth is that I don’t drink all that much milk to begin with because I find it disgusting. I feel real raw guilt every time I consume eggs or something with eggs in it. I try to deny and justify, but I already know where this stuff came from, and I know the suffering that will continue to go into it. It pisses me off when people think that’s such an extreme route. Veganism. I have the utmost respect for vegans not because what they’re doing is difficult, but because it’s right.

A part of me tugs me back and tells me that the system will be corrupt no matter what I choose to do, but I know that at least I’ll be limiting my contribution to the problem as much as is reasonably possible.


6 Comments so far
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“It pisses me off when people think that’s such an extreme route.” —you just hit the nail on the head.

Comment by divya

i’m really proud of you, by the way.

Comment by divya

Goo for it. If you want to go vegan, you will feel so good when when you’ve made the step.

It can take some time to get used to, but I’m very glad I took the step. Why should you make living feeling beings be treated in ways I would never let myself be treated?

Comment by xen

My fellow vegetarian friends had a farm in France where they kept chickens and we had fresh eggs for breakfast every day. The chickens laid the eggs, wondered off around the farm seemingly indifferent to them and we just took them as needed. They had a great life, as far as chickens go, and didn’t seem to miss the eggs or bother about them. Eggs have no consciousness, so, all in all, where was the suffering in all this eating eggs?

Comment by Michael

Your friends in France have hearts. God, I love the French. Unfortunately, over here in America, we have factory farms, which are tools of capitalism.

Basically, you’d think that we’re not killing laying hens when we eat their eggs, but here’s how it goes. The living conditions of the hens are atrocious to begin with. And I’m not talking, “Oh, golly, I don’t have a whole acre of land to run around on.” I’m talking, “Oh, golly, I can’t even move my body because there are all these other hens up in my space and I live in a tiny crammed cage.” The hens who are producing more “livestock” have daughters who grow up to become laying hens, too, and sons who are thrown out in dumpsters and such, because there is no use for a male chick in a factory farm. Meanwhile, the hens who produce eggs only do this until they become unproductive or are not producing at a rapid enough rate. Then they are slaughtered and they become meat. Thus, vegetarians in America think they’re not contributing to the problems by eating eggs, but it really indirectly leads to pain and suffering. It’s not the egg. It’s the condition of the chicken who laid the egg.

Also, I forgot to mention that since chickens will peck at one another and at themselves when they’re stressed out, these hens are debeaked with a hot blade without anesthetic. I don’t think that’s too ethical.

The same sort of argument goes for cows who produce milk. Their sons are crammed into small cages and then become veal, and their daughters become milk cows who are pregnant nine months out of every year just so they can produce more milk for us. And when they stop producing milk and children, they become meat, too.

And the whole idea is that we shouldn’t exploit animals. I’m so glad you asked, though.

Comment by indiechouette

I agree with you about egg production, but don’t you have such a thing as ‘free range’ eggs in America, monitored, as they are here, by the RSPCA etc? I’m painfully aware of the horrors of factory farming, that’s terrible and I never buy factory farmed/barn eggs, but I see nothing wrong with free range eggs which means the chickens are allowed to run free and have access to the outdoors. In every shop you have the option of free range or factory-farmed and that often applies to meat too, although I don’t eat that so it doesn’t apply to me. That’s in the UK by the way.

I also agree you shouldn’t exploit animals and I try not to all the time, but it’s virtually impossible to get through life without doing so to a degree, so it comes down to gradients of it. I mean, where do you draw the line, do you not wear wool? Do you not buy an airplane ticket because they kill the birds near the runway, or because the plane may have leather on the seats etc?

Having said all that though, I admire you for being a vegan.

My friends weren’t French, they just lived there a while but since have moved down the road to Germany because they couldn’t stand French bureaucracy and laws. For example, that in rural France every citizen has the constitutional freedom to access any land, so there is no such thing as private land, and they would often have run-ins with hunters and anglers on their land who they had no power to stop doing so, which, being vegetarians, upset them some. I wouldn’t get the idea the French are great vegetarians! It’s hard t to get vegetarian food in French restaurants etc and if you ask for it, they look at you like you just asked them if they could seve you a plate of rocks or something.

Comment by Michael

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