Archive for the ‘Controversy’ category

The Offensive Vegan

August 14th, 2011

This post was originally written 8/8/11. I waited a few days before posting to be sure it was how I still felt. It is. It’s a little rough as I typed it up quickly as the ideas were fresh in my mind. Many will not agree with some of these statements, vegans included. Whether you agree or disagree I still appreciate you taking the time to read.

I can’t count the number of times someone has taken issue with me being vegan. It happens quite regularly. Most often it occurs when I tell someone I’m vegan only when offered something to eat. I’ll politely decline and then I’m asked “Why? Do you not like (fill in animal product)?” I’ll reply “No, I’m vegan.” Most people know what what vegan means when I tell them. After all, Oprah, bless her money-filled little heart, taught the soccer moms everything they needed to know in order to be a perfect vegan right down to what processed plastic food to buy so little Jimmy would like dinner**. Still, I sometimes get the blank gaze of confusion like I just proclaimed to be from the planet Garzepon. “Duh, what is vegan?” After explaining that I don’t drink milk, eat cheese, eat eggs or any animal product including meat the obligatory “But you eat chicken, right?” or “Fish is OK, right?”  You see, people can’t grasp the idea of going without the cholesterol laden foods they’ve come to love and in turn they can’t imagine anyone else doing without.  So, naturally they believe, though you state emphatically you consume nothing from the animal world, that you’ll indeed eat chicken or fish because, let’s face it, those aren’t really animals, are they? Well, at least they clearly aren’t considered such by these brainiacs.

Today I was working at a local business while an employee had lunch nearby. She went on about how she enjoyed the McDonald’s she was pushing into her face like a person stuffing an already overstuffed suitcase. She asked me if I had tried something that was apparently a new item at the Poison Arches. When I told her no she jumped to insist I go right away and try this dreamy concoction. Then upon telling her that I’m a vegan I was quickly met with, “That’s not healthy! You need the vitamins in meat!” I need the vitamins in meat? Not wanting to quickly lose a client based on my diet and arguing about it while making the money they pay I decided to just let her talk. Listening attentively, the non-intelligence that ensued from the woman’s mouth ranged from the original, “Those sharp teeth are for meat.” to, “I bet you have no energy.” At that point I politely invited her on a 100+ mile bike ride with me and asked if she’s tried P90X. I told her I have more energy now than at anytime in the 28 years I consumed animal meat.  No excuses from her or explanations of my high energy. I asked her to explain, she couldn’t. You see I get these arguments all the time. None of her statements were new and neither was the last thing out of her mouth: “The bible says…” I don’t know what she was going to state from her bible as at that moment I finished my work and interrupted her to say have a nice day and then leave.  I wasn’t about to give her my thoughts on what she was surely about to spout as religion and work never mix well. I clearly offended her by choosing to abstain from the consumption of animal products.  It is not the first time I’ve had this experience with someone and it is sure to not be the last.

If you’re a vegan chances are you’ve been in this situation before. You may have handled it differently. I get it so often I try not to carry out the argument. I’ll inform them, if they seem open to the discussion, that since being vegan I don’t get sick nearly as often. I have more energy that I ever did. I pay more attention to what I eat and how I prepare what I eat now than before being vegan and in turn I eat healthier. Do I get enough protein? 90-120 grams a day, thank you. Yes, I keep up! Do you? No? Then why the hell are you asking me if I get enough and how would you know that I don’t or, even better, that YOU get enough?

Here’s how it is with me: I don’t preach the vegan mantra 24/7. I’m not the guy walking up to you with VEGAN tattooed on his forehead asking you to please put down the cheeseburger because the cows love you. If you want to eat that slab of beef then fine, that’s your choice. But DO NOT tell me my choice to be vegan is wrong. DO NOT tell me my decision to not fill my body with poisons will be a decision that will kill me. DO NOT sit gorging yourself on your pus-burger and tell me that I’m not getting the proper nutrients. You sound like the fat idiot drone the cattelman’s association has grown your lazy ass to be. They would be proud of you.  Send them a picture.

I’m sure some vegans aren’t happy with me. I don’t go gung ho, all out vegan like I’m a PETA die-hard. I’m sure there are some meat-eaters that may be reading this ready to jump and tell me where I’m wrong similar to what Ms. Big-Mac-Is-Clogging-My-Bowel wanted to try to point out. Go on and try but remember, you’re doing it because you feel guilty. Yes, it’s true. Deny. Deny all you want but in the end you will be the one in a nursing home hooked to an oxygen machine with a colostomy bag at 60 years old. I’ll be the one biking down A1A in the sunshine. But I’ll think about you lying there. Yeah, you should have put the Whopper down.

In the end I just care what my family puts in our bodies. No processed foods. No junk. No poisons. No pesticides. No cruelty. I also care about animals. Oh, I guess I’m not manly enough because I care for the little animals. I care for them because I have the human quality of compassion. It covers all living creatures. Practice it and it might make you feel a little better about yourself.

**Mentioning Oprah is typically done with massive amounts of disdain and sarcasm. Here it is no different.

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Oprah Goes Vegan(ish)…Again

February 2nd, 2011

So the time rolls around again and I hear the talk of the upcoming event, Oprah is doing another show on veganism. The Twitter is aflutter and people just can’t rock their socks loud enough to get the word out. Now listen people, Oprah isn’t going vegan. Don’t get so excited to think that the Queen of Materialism is about to put a Vita-Mix and a lifetime supply of Earth Balance under the seat of everyone in her audience and spew forth the news that she will shed her life of all animal meat edibles. No, I’m so sorry to say that won’t happen, nor did it. These are just some quick thoughts on the show that I have.

Yes I watched the show, reluctantly and only to prove to myself that I was right. All I saw was a TV show skimp over an issue while sugar coating everything, “Oh, yes it isn’t easy.”, “We’re only doing it for one week but we’ll make it with these food replacements.”, “No, they don’t taste good.” Enough! First, if you want to show the virtues of a vegan diet, and diet was all you touched as veganism is so much more, if you want to show how great a vegan diet can be get off the processed fake meat replacements!

When a woman pushed the point of having eggs as long as they are from “happy hens”, Oprah’s guest Kathy Freston, a self-proclaimed “veganist” said yes, sure. Now, I’m all for allowing whomever to eat whatever they choose but if you’re calling yourself a “veganist” the least you could do is serve up so well-intentioned facts on why one shouldn’t eat those eggs. Opportunity missed. At the end of the show Freston goes through Whole Foods promoting every processed and prepackaged food she can get her hands on. Apparently, she doesn’t care about how delicious and nutritious fresh veggies are and how absolutely easy the are to prepare. I’ll go out on a limb and say Kathy Freston is as fake a vegan as the fake meats she pushed.

Michael Pollan, who only serves to cuddle the guilt-ridden meat eater and pat them on the back all the while telling them thier corpse ingestion is not the greatest thing but a little bit two or three times a week is OK, seemingly tells the audience that eat all the meat you want as long as it’s from Cargill as they have the cleanest factory farms and slaughter-machines in the nation.

As far as taking people into a slaughterhouse and showing what happens to the cow pre-steak that’s great. I think everyone should see that but that entire segment seemed to show reasons why it was OK to eat meat. Is Oprah scared of the meat industry now after her run ins a few years back? Michael Pollan did nothing but say what a great job Cargill does and stroke the executive sitting next to him.

There are vegans that think this was great publicity and getting the vegan word to the masses. It was the wrong message. This did nothing for veganism as the vegan message was toned down through the course of the show from full vegan diet to eating meat to 2-3 times a week, to vegan-ish (whatever that is) and finally just settling on Meatless Mondays. This was not a show on veganism as much as it was a show on a diet leaning toward plant-based. Veganism is about so much more than food, don’t count on Oprah to ever understand that.

In the end the episode did more to show reasons why your SHOULD eat meat than reasons to adopt a vegan diet, not to mention the vegan lifestyle it didn’t even touch on.  From allowing, and agreeing, that Cargill puts out a good product, animals get a dignified death and vegan food doesn’t taste good as shown by staffers in line at the Harpo cafeteria eating processed junk the loud message was “meat is OK”.

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts? Were you a meat eater that has been transformed by this? Are you a vegan who thinks there is potential in what Oprah does for veganism? Let me know, agree or disagree I would love to hear from you.

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The Fact I Am Vegan

April 27th, 2010

I am vegan.
I don’t do it out of contempt for you or your hamburger.
I do not desire to take your right to eat a hamburger away from you.
I do not threaten your livelihood.
I am doing this for the benefit of my health, any animal and the Earth.
If you feel you cannot be around me because of the fact I am vegan that is your issue, not mine.
Making jokes about tofu only makes you look idiotic.
No, I actually don’t have urges to eat meat occasionally.
Being vegan is not just about the food I eat.

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Revisiting PETA

January 5th, 2010

peta_suffer

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then you have heard of PETA. In fact, there are probably few people in the US who have not. If the circus is in town then you will likely find caged scantily-clad women somewhere in the vicinity touting the virtues of a meat-free, furless, petless life. Today PETA protesters were reported to be showing up at Buena Vista Elementary School in Nashville wearing bloody elephant costumes to protest the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Of course, the mere mention of this event in the local newspaper drew vile comments.

I’m not a supporter of PETA for reasons I won’t discuss here though I will say they’re not of the typical anti-PETA reasoning. It isn’t easy to find a PETA supporter in the vegan ranks. They are out there, many of them celebrities who lend their voice to the cause and can be found plastered on billboards or on pages of vegetarian magazines but the usual day-to-day vegan doesn’t always support PETA and many are as vocal in the distrust of the organization as the are the love they have for tempeh or tofu.

Many people point to PETA’s euthanization practices as a disconnection point. Many others claim their tactics are far too in-your-face to be worthwhile. You can find all of the information you desire agaist PETA simply by searching for “anti peta” and I won’t list what can easily be found elsewhere. There’s equally the same amount of information in support of PETA. That’s not what this is about. This is about my curiosity. I simply want to know why people are so set off by the mention of PETA. The local story I mentioned earlier has a list of comments from people blasting PETA.

Do you agree or disagree with PETA? If you disagree and want to blast them feel free to do so in the comments but back your remarks up, don’t just post hearsay and rumors without the facts. Yes, those anti-PETA, non-veg, pro-meat people are free to post but remember, we all know what junior high, imbecilic minds think PETA stands for.

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PETA’s Predicament

August 24th, 2009

PETA Billboard - Save The Whales

Every major cause has at least one major action group behind it.  American Cancer Society, National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  All groups have its detractors and supporters but here recently PETA has been pushed into the spotlight by some vegans on their new campaign promoting go vegetarian as a way to lose weight.  Billboards which have been showing up in the Jacksonville, Florida area have been drawing heavy criticism and in a press release PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman states, “Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters.  Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”

PETA has made efforts in the past to combat factory farms and the animal cruelty plight found there by sending undercover workers in to film actions and document the violations.  They have tried to place themselves as the foremost group in the fight against animal cruelty and as an advocate for vegetarianism  However, many vegetarians, and even more-so, vegans, fail to see PETA’s actions in a positive light.  Many cite their actions of near-nude demonstrations and paint-throwing as shining a bad light on a good cause.  The majority of responses I received on Twitter when asking how others felt about the organization were in line with just that idea:

@RogerYates PeTA have become a bloated welfare corporation. They need shutting down. With www we don’t need such orgs anymore.

@ccaum I support most of PETA’s work. There are sects in the org I highly disagree with. Particularly the paint throwers & name callers

@VeganMudblood No, I do not support PETA. They are backwards, hateful, and ridiculous. Not beneficial to animals! Support abolitionist groups!

@Ocveggie Nope. Their campaigns only exploit and degrade. Not to mention make us seem stupid.

@vegheadjones I think Vegan Outreach, CoK and best of all HSUS do a much better job of reducing animal suffering

It does seem that some of PETA’s tactics can be seen as maybe not the best ways to a means. Does protesting in front of a KFC really shed any light on what goes on in poultry factory farms?  Does it cause anyone to skip the drive-thru and pass on a two-piece dinner or does it just make them buy more out of spite?

Peta - Human Meat

It seems PETA may be in a situation where they are alienating the very people they depend on for support, the vegetarian and vegan community.  With in-your-face tactics most vegetarians and vegans are more and more wishing to not be associated with PETA as they feel it makes them look crazy for adopting a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.

UPDATE:

I wrote this article over the weekend for posting on the following Monday.  On Monday, PETA backed down from pressure and replaced the “Whales” billboard with one less offensive.  In a statement PETA said:

“By replacing the original artwork in the billboard, we’re able to give a fresh perspective on the issue and keep people talking about going veg to lose weight. We’re excited that so many people across the country have been motivated by the billboard…”

petanewad.jpg

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