You seem like an intelligent and compassionate gal, I was curious about what you thought of veganism? Why are you not vegan if that's not a weird question?
“why are you not vegan” is
definitely a weird question. Really, the answer is simple–on the base level I
don’t have an ethical connection to meat or eating animal products, although I
admit that contemporary farming conditions need to be changed. I could talk
circles around why I do or don’t agree with veganism in the environmental or
economic sense, but there are arguments on both sides and really, at the end of
the day, the difference between myself and a vegan is that I don’t mind eating
animal products. I have gone vegetarian before but my relationship to eating
regular, cost-effective meals is tenuous as it is so keeping myself fed has
been historically more important to me than cutting out various ingredients. If
I did go vegetarian or vegan it would be to lose weight and be healthier, but I’m
already not the healthiest eater, even with animal products in my diet to
provide easy sources of protein, etc, and as I said before, I think that philosophical
difference always prevents me from sticking to a vegan diet. I would like to be mostly vegetarian some day because it certainly helps my brain to function better.
That said, I do have some
convictions about vegan culture specifically. I don’t really subscribe to the
idea that veganism is only accessible to wealthy white people. However, I
genuinely don’t believe an individual’s consumption impacts a larger structure,
or rather, that this is the most effective way to change a structure. and
further, I believe that the large number of issues with American food culture
are not caused by meat consumption, although meat consumption certainly
is a system that is bloated and harmful–– I would argue that this
is a capitalism thing, not a meat industry thing. I believe in sustainable
local eating, putting an end to overproduction of ALL food goods, fair pay for
farm workers, and the preservation of indigenous or cultural food traditions
(THIS is one issue where radical white vegans and I tend to loudly disagree; I am extremely opposed to the idea that
everyone should be vegan because there many traditional dishes and cuisines that
are cultural and should be respected and preserved). I think that it’s
important to work with the land you’re on; American food culture does not do
this, and I believe that having soy products instead of meat products in every
grocery store will not solve this problem.
Tofu Guys Don't Eat Meat by Vicki Woods for Vogue, May 1990 (Part III, final)
We hung out all day. We hung out at the vegetarian lunch place, where we ate falafel and tahini, and a blushing girl asked River for his autograph. We hung out at Gainesville’s sound studio, where River picked up fifty copies of the tape of his new song and asked the engineer to play it for me on the studio equipment. It came soaring out, full of guitars and drums, but River said it wasn’t loud enough. We hung out at a frat party in one of the millions of frat houses that run through the center of Gainesville. That was weird. Lots of cheerful kids of River’s age and with River’s dress sense were setting up amps and drum kits to play for the party, while the athletic denizens of the frat house sat around on their balconies combing their golden hair.
We didn’t stay anywhere very long. We hung out at River’s house while Arlyn got a meal together for her son, me, and a twenty-year-old girl from England who’d met the Phoenixes in Mexico. The meal was radically vegan, organic, animal-by-product-free, and delicious, in fact. Arlyn, a chunky, smiling woman with graying hair, explained to me about milk while she squished tofu, colored yellow with turmeric, into a skillet to make an eggless omelet. “Why should adult humans drink milk?” she said. “Human milk is for baby humans, cow’s milk is for baby cows.” It was unarguable.
River clearly adores Arlyn, who does a great job as mother Phoenix. Her children are all beautiful and they seem as happy as clams; also busy, musical, drug-free, and polite. River gave me another long riff on drugs: he works in cocaine country, after all, on film sets. He said he becomes completely paranoiac in Los Angeles. “People look at you if you have a cold: you feel you can’t blow your nose.” And he can see the hand-shaking and hand-passing that goes on at parties. “I just stay away from it,” he said, “I don’t even like talking about it. It depresses me. The biggest thing that really gets me are the girls… because of being used, the way men use women. It really upsets me - the wonderful extra-virgin-olive-oil young ladies, who are so wholesome and so together and their heads are on tight, and you see them a year later and they’re” - River puts on a blank, empty face and round, blank eyes - “and all they’ve got left is just a recorded message in their heads.” He was very earnest about this. Then he listened to his own earnestness, said, “Uh-oh, I’m going to segue out of this,” put on another face, and drawled, “Nancy’s said it all for me, anyway. Just say no.” I thought the whole performance was really endearing.
The last place we hung out was with some very laid-back musicians. River bounced up the steps of a frame house in Gainesville’s main street and said, “Hi, guys”. The guys said hi and looked at me. River looked at me, too, and was socially wrong-footed for the first time in a long day. “This is… my aunt,” he said. “From England.” The guys said hi. As we left, River grabbed my arm and said, “Sorry about the aunt bit. I’ll explain it to them later."
He gave me a big kiss and drove me back to the hotel. I was charmed.
Since turning vegan (7 weeks and counting!) i have completely fallen in love with your channel and the message you stand for it's honestly so inspiring! I never thought I'd say that as I previously used to be so (ignorantly) opposed to you as i was just ill informed and labelled you as a 'radical vegan', i used to 100% support tana mongeau and think so wrongfully bad of you. And now words can't even describe how wrong i was and how shameful i feel now I've entered this beautiful lifestyle ily❤️
All that matters is that you found the vegan lifestyle 🙏 Thank you for connecting the dots 🐷🐮🐔🐠❤️
I like how Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary transcends everything on Tumblr. You can check out any kind of blog, whether it be a left-wing SJW blog, alt-right blog, black militant blog, white supremacist blog, atheist blog, religious blog, anarcho-capitalist blog, communist blog, nationalist blog, MRA blog, radical feminist blog, vegan blog, otherkin blog, furry blog, or any fandom, and every one of them will have love for Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary.
Gives me a slight hope for the future of humanity.
I hear this a lot where people say that if you don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean that less animals die. However, this is wholly untrue. As consumers, we have a huge amount of power. If consumers choose one thing over another, the chosen product becomes more valuable.
One consumer making a choice not to eat meat may seem like it has little to no impact, but in fact, with that choice, meat gets less valuable and the alternate products get more valuable, because they are being bought more. Over time, that consumer has withheld their support from the meat industry in terms of a very significant amount of money.
This money lost by the meat industry prompts a signal–the value is dropping, and in order to keep products on the market “fresh” or available for their specific amount of time, they must make less products, effectively taking a toll on the meat industry, and limiting their resources. It also prompts a signal to stores that stock their products, saying these products aren’t selling as well. Therefore, we need to stock less of them and respond to the growing call for vegan products. That one choice is important, and over time, is huge. You are actually taking away your financial support of this industry.
Think of it as any boycott–the more people join in, the more that company/organization sees that their products are being devalued, and takes a step back from what they’re doing. This prompts change. Your not eating meat does more than take away financial resources from the companies–it opens other peoples’ eyes about cruelty and conditions, as well as health and environmental factors concerning eating animal flesh. Everything starts somewhere–with that one person, that one consumer–you.
I "wouldn't be surprised" if one of the Chiang Mai English language newspapers was forwarded your prediction that one of your critics would get "stabbed" in their city during your festival. They are already working on a story about a radical/violent vegan sect led by you who meets in CM every year. This latest prediction of yours will fit their narrative perfectly.
Thailand is a wild west man! Ive been going there for 12 years now and Chiang Mai is the only place on earth Ive seen a dead body layed out on the street. (Ive seen 3 dead people around Maya Mall area). Ive seen a mans brains smashed open all over the road. Some say he was forced off the road by Thai mafia and some say he was just drunk.
do you think speciesism exist? also your view on like radical vegans? what do you think in about vegans as a whole? I`m a vegan but so many of my friends that are also vegan have such a skewed perception of the world and it irks me a lot. (They also dismiss a lot of things i say as a vet tech about their pet care. Some of them truly don`t know how to care for an animal and won`t listen at all)
Speciesism: the belief that different species are fundamentally different and therefor assigned different rights, values or freedoms based on their species membership.
Of course this exists, but the belief that speciesism is always wrong is not fair.
I think most people that invoke the ‘speciesism’ argument have a narrow definition of non-human species in mind. Interestingly, they are often the same group of people that accuse someone like me of being a pet lover, not an animal lover, because I still consume animal products.
They often think of large, charismatic mammals and birds when talking about non-human species that are discriminated against by speciesist thinking. That’s easy to do when you think about wildlife, pigs, chicken and cattle (gosh I loved working with cows), but harder to do when you think about internal parasites, locusts, the hundreds of mice that lose their homes when a field of wheat is harvested, the demodex mites living on your face that may be responsible for your acne, etc.
I’ve said before that I value the life of the dog infinitely more than the lives of its fleas.
Humans are different. We’re the only species so far wondering whether we should be putting the needs and desires of our own species above others. This trans-species altruism is, as far as I can tell, unique.
Let’s detour to talk about rights for a moment. I’ve always been raised to believe that rights come with responsibilities. You can’t have one without the other.
We have basic rights (sometimes referred to as basic freedoms in animal welfare discourse): free access to water, free access to food, freedom of movement, freedom from suffering/pain/disease and freedom to engage in natural behaviours.
Note that ‘freedom to live’ is not one of those basic rights. Neither is freedom to reproduce.
Those basic rights come with pretty basic responsibilities for an animal. You might restrict that access to food for a pony prone to laminitis, for example. This is because if that animal eats to its heart’s content, it’s going to get laminitis and its hooves will fall off. A patient with a broken limb needs to have their movement confined, at least temporarily, in order to prevent suffering. Reasonable human beings will all agree to these 'rights’ as a minimum. Some will argue that animals should be afforded more rights, depending on where they stand on the animal welfare-rights spectrum.
Humans, in addition to those five basic rights, should also have the right to life and the right to reproduce, but these are not basic rights, they are conditional. The right to reproduce needs to be strictly 'opt-in’ and the right to life should have the option to 'opt-out’, but this is getting wildly off topic so let’s save that discussion for another time.
An animal can’t have reproductive rights because it can’t have reproductive responsibility. A dog will breed twice a year if you let her, and have numerous puppies each time, but she has no means of voluntary contraceptive. Their population control mechanism is basically puppy death. Instead of drowning litters of unwanted kittens, we push to spey cats and prevent their conception in the first place. The animal can’t be responsible, so we are.
If you leave deer and elk to breed freely with no predators, they form mega herds and start stripping trees when they deplete their food supply. They destroy their environment without predators to keep them in check.
Different species also desire different circumstances. A cow might be perfectly happy giving birth in an open field, but a cat or pig will panic in that scenario, and may delay labour.
So saying different species have different rights because they’re not human may be 'speciesist’, but so long as they are afforded those five basic rights I don’t think it’s totally wrong.
Now, where radical vegans will disagree with me is that they don’t differentiate between 'death’ and 'suffering’.
Medically, ethically, philosophically and practically, there are things worse than death. Death is not great, sure, but it’s not the absolute worst outcome that certain animal rights advocates seem to think it is. There are many situations where we as humans might decide that an animal’s situation is so fundamentally unsuitable, or that they are suffering so much that death is s better option.
Here is another point where humans might be benefited by 'speciesism’. A human can say “I want to keep going” or “I’ve had enough” and we are adaptable. A human who is wheelchair bound is likely to still find pleasure in their life, but if you strap wheels to a paraplegic thoroughbred it’s unlikely to go well. (A cow might figure it out though). The human can chose for themselves, the animal usually can’t.
Oh gosh I keep wandering off topic. You can see why it’s taken me so long to write this, can’t you.
Okay, onto the vegan question. Radical vegans versus vegans as a whole vs vegans that don’t adequately care for their pets.
Firstly the vegans that don’t take care of their pets, including those that try to keep cats on a vegan diet: declaring yourself vegan doesn’t mean your diet gives you a free pass at bad things you are doing in any other aspect of your life. Don’t disregard knowledge from people who actually have dedicated their lives to understanding these animals just because you read something from PETA.
Now, onto radical vegans.
In my experience there are two types of 'radical’ vegans. The first type is the newbie vegans, who’ve just made this decision in their life and are just so excited to share their learning with you, they can’t help it. They are so keen all these vegan facts just bubble up out of them. It can get annoying, especially when their facts are wrong or it was something you already knew, but they’re generally doing their own thing, would be super happy if you joined them, and are positive.
Radical vegans I don’t quite understand. It seems like some of them jump from the 'newbie’ stage straight into wielding veganism like a weapon, using it to divide the world into 'us and them’ and turning every meal into a fight. In this world view you are either vegan, ignorant and about to become vegan, or scum. This is the group in which you are most likely to find the individuals that say things like 'don’t trust vets that aren’t vegan’ or 'don’t trust vets because all their medications are tested on animals’. I feel like some are using veganism not because they really care, but so they have something to feel superior about that is socially acceptable, so they can legitimise bullying or aggression.
This is not all that different from radical anything, whether that’s an ideal or a religion.
I have several vegan friends, and take care to incorporate their dietary requirements just as I would someone with a food allergy. The Big Ears Animal Sanctuary, which receives all profits from sales of my book 'Fairy Tales Written By Rabbits’, is a vegan organisation that is very dear to me. My vegan friends and I don’t try to change each other, but we do try to accommodate each other (they actually remember my nut allergy every time).
(As an aside, people can be dickish to vegans and vegetarians. This isn’t acceptable behaviour and can progress to bullying, but doesn’t justify extreme behaviour on either side.)
Additionally, there are always vegans in vet school. Making friends is easier if you have a great vegan cookie recipe, but many of them struggled with certain aspects of the course.
Using animals is part of studying veterinary medicine. It’s unavoidable, but there are ethics committees in place to attempt to reduce the use of animals in teaching, or replace them. For example, some of our 'animal experiments’ we had to do were replaced with videos of those experiments, so the animals experimented on consisted of three mice, once. Most of our tissue experiments were done on organs sourced from abattoirs as waste. If a dog didn’t like it’s heart rate taken too many times, it was swapped out.
Some vegan students, most still in the newbie phase, struggled with certain aspects of the course. We performed anatomy dissections on dead greyhounds, because the industry provides lots of cadavers that are all roughly the same shape and size on a regular basis. Some students were not comfortable with this, because they felt these dogs were killed needlessly, even though they were not killed specifically for our education. The university went to great lengths to find somebody willing to donate their deceased elderly retriever for a dissection instead, that had died for medical reasons.
Personally, I knew these greyhounds hadn’t died for me specifically, but made a promise that for the twelve dogs 'spent’ on my education, I had to save at least twelve more.
Part of our education also involved meat production and abattoir processing. Some vegan students want to refuse to participate in this part of the course, which I think is wrong. It’s still a piece of your understanding. Meat production and the welfare of livestock are often linked, and if you do want to change the industry it’s vital you understand what it is today.
Abattoirs can be confronting, the workline is interesting from a human psychology point of view. If you avoid it, then you’re denying yourself a complete understanding of the world you wish to work in. You shouldn’t avoid that part of the course, and it doesn’t make you bad or impure for going to the abattoir and simply observing.
Be vegan if you want to be, if it makes you happy. Remind your friends that being vegan doesn’t give them a free pass for the welfare of animals directly under their care.
As for speciesism, yes it exists, but it’s not on par with racism, sexism or similar.
TLDR: Animals are not tiny/large humans. Being vegan is fine, being an arsehole is not.