To V or not to V.

  I’m toying with that idea again.

The one where I push my vegetarian efforts a step further and strive for that dreaded “v” word.

Vegan.

Have I mentioned lately the number of times when people ask if I’m vegetarian and I say “yes,” and then the say, “but you’re not planning to go vegan, ARE YOU?”

So bizarre. 

The stereotype is that vegans go around, eating their bowls of quinoa and blackbeans (YUM!), and heaping derision on anyone who still eats meat. My experience has been the opposite. 

How can you not eat meat? [pretty easy to do actually, especially these days.]

I could never live without bacon. [pretty sure you can, and maybe longer. But maybe not longer. Who knows how long any of us have?]

I’m often surprised by the fervor against veganism. 

I read an opinion piece recently about the language used in the animal rights movements, and why one should/should not invoke the language of slavery regarding discussions around animal rights. Fascinating article on its own, but I was struck by a comment:

“…she [will be] just as uncomfortable with [a] reference to animal rights when dead fish [are] on her plate…she must change or forever be uncomfortable.” 

Perhaps it’s discomfort that makes meateaters take the offensive on veganism? Those who have brought it up to me have been pretty passionate about their dislike for the lifestyle. “They’re self righteous.” “It’s not natural.” etc.

Unfortunately, I’m the least argumentative person when it comes to lifestyle choices. I wish I were a Truman Capote/Christopher Hitchens-styled blowhard who could dessimate your reasons for eating meat with a simple roll of my eyes, and a well-timed barb. But I have learned to accept that I will never make for a goods spokesperson–I’m slow with responses, I stumble over my words, and if I get too angry, I may start crying. Not good.

The one thing I can do is live my life in a way that represents what I think is best. My own little spot in the world. We all have one, happily, and I’m lucky enough to get to shape mine, as do most of the people I know. (So many don’t have that opportunity, often due to circumstances beyond their control.)

Living in the midwest, and making the seven hour drive between central Illinois and central Ohio on a regular basis, I spend a bit of time on the open highway, and I pass many cattle and pig trucks. They turn my stomach.

 [Once, many years ago, I was with a boyfriend in Ohio and we saw a pig truck. “They’re going to the football factory,” he said and I burst into tears. He felt terrible.]

So, yeah. Pig trucks. Cow trucks. Once it was a chicken truck and the feathers were flying everywhere. And I just can’t stand it. Factory farming and the corresponding pain/suffering of those animals, just to have meat at dinner. Troubling. 

But dairy farms/egg farms (both of which I still partake) are no better. Still much suffering. 

There lies the rub.

I’ve been thinking of buying only locally farmed eggs. (I have a information for a farming family that delivers eggs all year round.) I’ve been thinking of buying only organic milk from local farms.

But the question I have to decide is what do I want my life to look like? 

I’m a committed animal lover and vegetarian. I want to stop contributing to the horror show that is factory farming. 

Is it enough to buy from a farm I can visit locally, and where I can see how the animals are treated, even if the animals are destined for a similar fate but are treated humanely in the meantime? Or do I want to avoid participating (as much as possible) in any endeavor that requires killing/exploiting animals?

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