Saturday, May 18, 2013

"They're not vegan"

I have a lot of friends who are not vegan. My entire family is not vegan.

Just wanted to put that out there.

I believe everyone is on their own path. My path included eating animals for many years. It included not really caring what had to happen for me to eat that burger or piece of chicken.

For me, veganism is more about a way of life, or a philosophy, than it is a diet. I became vegan not to get healthier or lose weight, yet because I had learned enough and knew at that moment that I no longer wanted to participate in the killing and cruelty and torture of animals just so I could eat. Or worse yet, just because I liked the taste of something.

I would like the whole world to feel the same. What a great world, in so many ways, that would be. I am also centered in the fact that this is my decision, this works for me, and that not everyone else is going to think the same thing.

So what does one do? Well, I try to be the best example of a vegan as I can. It's not always easy. There is enough judgment out there, enough hate and discontent. I don't need to be a part of that. When folks interact with me and somehow find out I am vegan, I want them to think that vegans are pretty cool, kind people. At least kind.

I have been thinking about this because I had a conversation with a vegan at a vegan event which included me asking him if he had heard of this one animal sanctuary. I asked because he was from the same area of the sanctuary and Mike and I had begun donating to this place. The first thing he said to me was "you know that they're not vegan?". He then listed the reasons why "the vegan community" in the area didn't like these folks not simply because they were vegan but because they also have barbeque's that include meat at the place.

I understand the dilemma here. I don't understand the judgment. In my head it doesn't make a lot of sense (to me) to care for these kinds of animals yet eat, and participate in cruelty towards, these other animals.

This has become a whole thought process for me. In my life, I want to be open, diverse and inclusive. I want to meet folks where they are, and if any of them have the slightest interest in why I am vegan or about first steps in becoming vegan, I am thrilled to talk with them about it.

Food for thought. I would LOVE your feedback.

Thank you for reading!


  1. To me, it seems like these are two separate issues. Being kind and open to people who are and who are not vegan is clear. Of course, we should be kind to each other.

    As to the second issue of the sanctuary, obviously I don't know this particular sanctuary. However, it seems to me like a conflict of interests to create a sanctuary and safe haven for some animals while ingesting other animals who suffered without the same benefits. It also deepens the cognitive dissonance for those who are visiting the sanctuary. It furthers the message that some animals are deserving of being saved and others are not.

    Since I only have a limited amount of resources, I personally would rather give the money I have to a sanctuary whose ideology is in line with my own. It seems like most people, when looking where to donate time and/or money, put their efforts into organizations with matching philosophies. I don't think it's unkind to put my money where my values are.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. We are totally grateful.

  2. This really is food for thought. Not everything in life is black and white. So much is grey and contradictory and sometimes hypocritical, and this is one strong example.

    Regarding the sanctuary, if you feel that what they are doing is inherently good, then continue to support it. If it does not sit well with you, then do not support it. I know plenty of animal rescue folks who are carnivores. Yes, it puzzles me too, but they do whatever it takes to get the animals out of harm's way and into a better place and that is a great thing in my book.

    Perhaps eating meat cancels out saving the exploited animal population. Perhaps not. This is something each of us needs to work out ourselves and come to our own conclusions regarding our comfort levels.

    Here is my take on it. My tolerance for the dissonance has changed over the years. I used to be very "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." While I still feel on some level that is true, I have also decided to take every positive development as a victory and be happy with it because a step forward is a step forward. And that is enough for me.

    1. Lori! Thank you so much for taking the time to write! This is a huge conversation for us.

    2. I was thinking about it today, whether being vegan is a prerequisite for so many things. I am so glad you bring up these important questions. xoxoxo

  3. I agree with the reader that says that, considering our limited resources, I'd rather help those who are more in line to what I believe. I should add that my husband and I are vegan both for ethical AND health reasons, and we're trying to raise our kids with the same beliefs.
    Did you ever read this post by Jo Tyler on the sanctuary that is also a slaughterhouse?

    It caused a very big uproar of people who don't see any problem in saving some farm animals while raising others for food. In the same property.

    I am as inclusive as I can be with "non-vegan", but I'm very choosy as to whom I support. That's just my 5 cents.
    Thanks for this post.

    1. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you reading our blog and sharing your thoughts!

  4. You bring up such an interesting question, Dan. I'd like to know what the sanctuary's motivation is in the first place . . . why do they even have the sanctuary? I agree with Cadry: why are some animals ok to eat and others not? I have found there is so much hypocrisy when it comes to animal rights. I know so many self-proclaimed "animal lovers" who seem to pick and choose which animals are worthy of their love. Just the four-legged domesticated ones that you can buy in a pet store? They'll get gushy over a picture of a sweet little calf or lamb on Facebook, then turn around and eat veal or a gyro. And don't even get me started on wearing leather! In my 3-1/2 years of being a vegan, I've run into so many of these "selective" animal lovers and I have to bite my tongue at times, even though I'd like to smack 'em up side the head. (But how do you do that without alienating them)?!

  5. Thanks for a great post! This is an issue that I think virtually all vegans face from time to time, if not daily. I often think about how difficult it is to live in this world that doesn't understand our reasons for being vegan, doesn't share our concern for all sentient beings and thinks nothing of celebrating any number of "life-affirming' events by serving murdered animals. It is a constant challenge for most of us to find balance, and, like you, I do think balance is important. I used to consider the choice to consume animals or animal products a "personal choice." Now that I have "learned enough," as you say, I no longer consider it a personal choice when it involves the suffering of others. Yet, I also recognize that we vegans are not the norm yet. We're the oddballs. Like you, I agree that a compassionate approach to gently offering education (sending requested recipes, sharing great vegan food, providing information, etc.) is the best way to gain allies and potential converts. Turning on the "angry vegan" mode only serves to alienate others and hurts our cause--which ultimately hurts the animals. It tugs at my heart every day, but, since I choose not to live alone in a cave somewhere, I have to balance my ethics with living in the real world around people who don't understand. We who do get it have to support each other, but we can't turn our backs on the rest of the world without doing more harm than good. Thanks for this important post!