Yes my vegan friends. It's our day.
So, my hippies compadres, left-wing nutbags, granola-crunching crunchers, rabbit food eaters, Whole Foods shoppers, bleeding hearts, crazed-animal lovers, tree huggers, green-energy supporters, Prius and Subaru driving peeps, tofu gobblers, and nooch eating maniacs, (yes, I happen to be all of the above) gather yourselves up because it's time to celebrate. Come on, raise your stereotyped fists in vegan pride!
I decided to share a very small tidbit on my thoughts with regards to being vegan, as they apply to me, mostly. Also, after the jump read a most compelling and irrefutable article written on veganism and social consciousness by Ali Seiter. In addition, watch the annual food and health review by Micheal Greger M.D. from nutrtionfacts.org. I don't care if you hate me and you hate vegans. You're obligated to inform yourself. I'm imploring you.
A Very Small Tidbit of My Thoughts with Regards to Being Vegan
Choosing to be so different from the vast ocean of omnivore driven people can definitely be challenging. Whether you've been vegan since before it was a fad, are just starting out (like me!) or have yet to make that journey, I hope you're met with open-minded people. People that are interested in bettering themselves, people that are not bitter because they lack the courage to change, people that want to help. That's my biggest wish. I find that I do not come across these people as much as I'd hope to. Sometimes I get discouraged. Often times I get teased and made fun of (what's new, am I right). Occasionally, people will get surprisingly spiteful and extraordinarily rejecting with regards to just...me choosing to live a different path! It's nothing new, really, in general terms of everyday life. People reject what they don't know or can't understand.
I've realized that being vegan seems to have an amplifying effect on the good and the bad in people. Some people will do everything they can to help you with the challenges of being vegan. Some will even decide to make that journey with you! Others, however, will put you down any chance they get. They'll make you feel like a total weirdo, an outcast, like something's wrong with you. I find the worst are the people are those who try act like you must be soooo much more moral and better than them and everyone else. It's true, I sometimes step on my vegan soapbox in my real life but I mostly try to keep it to this blog. People that are interested can always find out more here and that way I'll never be accused of being preachy. I do try to offer information where I can though. Like a little vegan ninja. And I certainly don't think I'm better than anyone else.
However, despite of all that, becoming vegan has been one of the most rewarding, self-respecting and peace-inducing things I've ever done. Period. It changed my outlook on life, my values, and my yearning for knowledge. I really like to research stuff so I guess that makes sense. I'm happier, healthier and most importantly, I finally feel aligned with myself. I know that sounds weird but I find it being a common theme among other vegans. You never think your life could change that much until it happens to you!
(I took these photos the other day, and they were too pretty not to share)
Alright, enough of my blabbering. The video. If you haven't visited nutrtionfacts.org, which I am usually droning on and on about and how amazing it is (be freed from ignorance), then for the love of intelligence, go visit it. This isn't the dark age people, information can be found if you're willing to look, but most of all...willing to change. Damn, I just made that up. That's a good quote. Anyways, Michael Greger M.D. is a "physician, author and professional speaker who scours the world's nutrition research to bring you informative daily videos and articles." He makes annual review videos that compile all the most notable research he's discovered and presents it. Below is a link to the 2013 video review, as well as the 2012 one.
NutritionFacts.org Annual Review Videos
These are exceptional videos, and I cannot recommend them enough.
And now for the article. Ali hosts the blog, Farmers Market Vegan. It is a fantastic treasure trove of ethical articles for animal rights, inspiring reads, philosophical tidbits and all kinds of other wonderfulness.
Presented with permission from the author, Ali Seiter of Farmers Market Vegan
Cultivating Social Consciousness by Removing Animals from the Dinner Plate
Fostering a just food system hinges upon our ceasing to exploit and commodify non-human animals for human consumption. Not only would an end to animal agriculture fiercely combat world hunger by feeding the grain currently devoted to raising farmed animals directly to people, it would also eliminate “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale from global to local” (Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department). Additionally, considering that in 2005 the FBI deemed “the eco-terrorism, animal rights movement” as the nation’s number one domestic threat, and that in 2008 animal agribusiness contributed over $8 million to congressional candidates, removing animals from our food system would contest a number of the corrupt corporate-governmental alliances that cause such sociologists as Marcuse, Weber, and Marx to rip their hair out in frustration (Schuster, Joy 89).
Diminishing world hunger, lightening our impact on the earth, and removing a major contributor to systematic corruption all comprise quite persuasive arguments for switching to a plant-based food system. However, the realization of the moral dubiousness of oppressing and enslaving non-human sentient beings will most foster an equitable society by rendering more obvious the mistreatment of other socially marginalized groups. Indeed, as Joni Seager points out, common justifications for animal exploitation involve arguments of human/animal difference in intellectual and emotional capacities, which “are achingly close reprises of the conceptual bases for racial, sexual, and gender hierarchies” (Seager 169). By engaging in a deeply entrenched system that oppresses a massive amount of individual beings on a daily basis, our meat-eating society becomes desensitized to instances of violence and inequality perpetrated against non-human animals, women, racial minorities, and homosexuals alike.
Social theorist Herbert Marcuse would refer to the desensitization toward oppression of all varieties caused by the systematic mistreatment of non-human animals as the “happy consciousness” (Marcuse 483). An oppressive society creates in its members this happy consciousness by imposing upon them “false needs”—in the case at hand, the notion that humans need to eat meat—that perpetuate inequality under the guise of offering immediate gratification (Marcuse 479). In obeying these false needs, individuals “facilitate[…] acceptance of the misdeeds of […] society” by essentially eliminating the feeling of guilt from the realm of civilization (Marcuse 483). When one considers that animal agribusiness deems as “standard procedures” such egregiously cruel practices as castrating young male animals without anesthesia, removing newborn calves from their mothers immediately after birth, and cramming five to seven chickens into wire-mesh cages the size of a newspaper page, the “acceptance of the misdeeds” of industrial animal agriculture becomes quite apparent (A Well-Fed World). The fact that most people who eat meat today do not know about these practices showcases how, in actively working to conceal the animal abuse inherent in the industry, animal agribusiness erases the guilt of eating animals from societal consciousness. Indeed, how can we question oppressive systems in order to combat a falsely happy consciousness if we remain unaware of the system’s oppressive nature in the first place? An ignorant complicity toward the enslavement and commodification of non-human animals can extend to a lack of awareness about the other various systems of oppression that still exist in modern society, such as sexism, racism, and homophobia; once we accept one corrupt aspect of society, it becomes easy to accept others. Questioning the objectification of non-human animals aids in cultivating an awareness of a multiplicity of other social issues prevalent in today’s society.
Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department. “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (2006): n. pag. Web. 7 May 2013. < ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e.pdf>. Cornell Chronicle. “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists.” Cornell Chronicle (7 August 2997): n. pag. Web. 7 May 2013. < http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat>. Joy, Melanie. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2010. Print. Marcuse, Herbert. “One-Dimensional Man.” Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. Craig Calhoun, Joseph Gerteis, James Moody, Steven Pfaff, and Indermohan Virk. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012. 478-487. Print. Schuster, Henry. “Domestic Terror: Who’s Most Dangerous?” CNN.com. CNN, 24 August 2005. Web. 27 April 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/24/schuster.column/index.html>. Seager, Joni. “Pepperoni or Broccoli? On the Cutting Wedge of Feminist Environmentalism.” Gender, Place and Culture 10.2 (June 2003): 167-174. Web. 7 May 2013. < http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369032000079550>. Well-Fed World, A. “Factory Farms.” A Well-Fed World. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2013. < http://awellfedworld.org/issues/animalprotection>.
I hope you leave this post with a little inspiration to lead a more peaceful life, in any way you can. Happy World Vegan Day, everyone.