The Flaming Vegan

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Lame Arguments
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Lame Arguments

I have a neighbor, I'll call him David.  He's in his mid-sixties, educated, interesting, a middle school science teacher and animal expert.  He's studied animals in the wild in Africa and South America and advocates for wild animal rights.  He's also had a heart attack and has a stent in one of his main arteries.  He knows I'm a vegan and on a bike ride with my husband (I wasn't present) he began on a diatribe about why he's against veganism or vegetarianism.  Here was his primary arguement:

"Most people I know," he said, "who are vegetarian or vegan have to be on some sort of supplement in order to get their daily requirements met." 

That was it.  So, my husband came home and shared what David had said, in all his wisdom.  I chewed on it a bit.  Sure, I do take supplements, but I don't have to take major prescription meds to address serious health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any of the other major medical issues facing most people over the age of 50 in our country, including my neighbor.

So what if I take B-12 once a week, and an iron supplement that was recommended by my doctor for low iron (blood test taken when I was still a meat and dairy eater, btw).  Most people aren't able to absorb the vitamins and minerals consumed through diet alone anyway.  I'm not a big user of supplements, but from what I've read, dairy is one of the biggest blocks to iron uptake, not to mention calcium absorption.

What really bugs me about this man's ragged arguement is that he really is a smart, compassionate person, but he is so very attached to eating meat even as he's had to undergo serious heart surgery.

His second argument, when my husnand brought up animal rights, was that he and his wife choose local meat, farmed with compassion and killed humanely.  My husband asked him if he'd seen the actual facilities where the animals were raised and slaughtered.  He had not, as have not most people I know who claim to purchase only "humane" meat and cheeses. 

But David is just one of a zillion people who will stand by their meat and dairy, defending it to the last bone.  Recently, the founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary released her book on her life and her mission.  She was on the Diane Ream and Leonard Lopate shows.  Both of these raidio shows are aired on various NPR stations throughout the country.  The listeners are usually open-minded, literate and "informed."  I was astonished at the number of negative comments that were posted on the websites of these shows against Jenny Brown, the author and founder.  People were actually taking offense to a woman who founded a farm animal sanctuary.

Talking to people about animal rights is akin, in the US, to talking to them about the right to bear arms.  They will defend their right to abuse and consume animals in the most surprising ways. 

But, I stick to my guns, or rather my animals in my solo mission to eat what is right for me, the animals and the planet. 

Further, I've found a great site that discusses the myth behind "humanely" labeled meat and dairy.  www.humanemyth.org It's worth checking out, and the next time someone tells you that they only eat humane meat or dairy, you can direct them there.

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  1. Veganara
    Veganara
    Brilliant blog Tatterhood, I am with you all the way! I know, it's funny how far people will go to defend their meat and dairy consumption, isn't it? It's not just in the US either, it's just the same here in the UK! There is something very primal and atavistic about it, I always feel - a lot of people need to evolve, like we vegans have! I am out of votes now, but I will come back and vote for this tomorrow. Btw, you might like my new blog, Make Your Own Toothpaste! I am trying to cut down on chemical additives.
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    1. Tatterhood
      Tatterhood
      Thanks Veganara. I didn't know we had a limited supply of votes. Is that per month? Will check out the toothpaste blog.
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        Re votes, we get 10 per day. At least, I do, and I presume it is the same for everyone else! I quite often run out as there are so many great blogs to vote for on this site. I have voted for yours now, btw!
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        1. Akanksha
          Akanksha
          And I suppose there is rationing too..you get 5 in the morning and 5 in eve.
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  2. SnakeWitch
    'Humane meats' has different levels of certification. We really have to know them to be able to make proper decisions about this. 'Free range' is not necessarily great because the chickens are still cooped up in a very small space and don't actually move much. They're just not locked up in obssessively small cages. Same goes for 'Fair Trade' - it only means the people working are paid at least the minimum wage in their own home country, yet may have been duped into selling their farm at unreasonably low prices to the company that now claims to be nice to these people. Stick to what you believe in! We're here if you need support! I voted for you! You can check out my new article as well, which is about tofu based dairy and egg replacements.
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    1. Tatterhood
      Tatterhood
      Thanks SnakeWitch. I was at a farmer's market yesterday and was reeling at all the claims for "naturally raised" meats and cheeses. There was even a sign for a vendor that had several of their artisnal cheeses listed. At the end of the list was "veal." I get the feeling that no one besides me got what that meant: that the cheese farmers need to kill of the males, and so crate them for six months and sell them as veal. Even my vegetarian friends fail to make this connection. Will read your article today.
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  3. Akanksha
    Akanksha
    Good to see you back after a long time Tatterhood! Taking a few supplements is always better than taking medicines for unexpected diseases. Actually it is just the opposite. Meat-eating folks need to take plant based supplements because they don't get enough nutrition from meat alone. If you (or him, I hope) check the ingredients of any natural supplement, they will mostly be plant concentrates.
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  4. Kate Noel
    Kate Noel
    Great blog! I find it funny that some can become so adamant in their "right to eat meat." It makes me think that those types of people secretly feel guilty about consuming animals and that's why they become so defensive. I have an uncle who's that way. It's as if my presence alone makes him feel as if he has to defend himself. He's also a hunter and avid supporter of his right to bare arms. I also find it amusing that they think supplements are somehow worse than taking blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, cholesterol medication, etc. If you have a moment, check out my recipe for Fresh Fig Cookies.
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    1. Tatterhood
      Tatterhood
      It really is amazing, isn't it? And yes, I agree that their defensiveness comes from guilt...otherwise, they'd just be open to learning more. Will check your recipe for fig cookies. Thanks for writing.
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        Yes, it is the people who deep-down feel most guilty about killing animals, for whatever reason, who get the most defensive and hostile towards vegans. As Kate says, it seems our very presence is enough to start them off on an anti-vegan rant (not us trying to start any arguments, etc.) It becomes so stressful that I don't usually tell people I am a vegan unless I absolutely have to - I want a quiet life as much as possible! Btw, I was just made aware of this website the other day: it' s kind of hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time! The lengths some people will go to in order to justify eating meat and using animals. Have a look at this site - sadly, I think it is a genuine one, not a joke! : http://www.vegetariansareevil.com
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        1. Veganara
          Veganara
          Sorry, it didn't save the link, but if you type that address into your browser, it should bring it up. Brace yourselves!!!
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          1. SnakeWitch
            Yeah, I'm not surprised. I read a book that same the same things about environmental activists. Wish I could remember the name of the book, but it went something like Green Hell or some other greenie-bashing name. History is packed with this sort of useless and uncalled for fear and repression. Alexander Graham Bell, the famous telephone inventor, was much more known, in his days, for his work against deaf people marrying each other and having children together because he was convinced that they would create a super powerful race of beings that would take over the non-deaf population! Do check it out - I'm not joking! And the worst part - his wife was deaf! Here's one article that explains briefly his work: http://www.pbs.org/weta/throughdeafeyes/deaflife/bell_nad.html
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        2. Akanksha
          Akanksha
          Even I try avoiding the news..it surely helps. People get annoyed of people doing something (and talking about it) they don't understand or think they can't do.
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          1. Veganara
            Veganara
            Wow, I had absolutely no idea about all that stuff about A G Bell SnakeWitch! I have just read the article, thanks so much for that. It actually says that his mother was deaf, rather than his wife (although maybe he had a deaf wife too?) But, whatever, it just seems so incredible that he was trying to oppress deaf people like that, refuse them the rights of normal people, when he had a family member who was deaf! As you and Akanksha say, some people perceive other types of people as threats, because they are different.
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            1. SnakeWitch
              I didn't read this article in full because I was just looking for the deaf-bashing parts, but what I've learned in my sign language interpreting program is that he married a deaf woman and inventing the telephone was actually his attempt at trying to create an apparatus to make his wife hear. But if his mother was deaf, that makes it even more confusing - why was he so mean to them? That man was a nutcase. His so-called genious was pure accident.
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              1. Tatterhood
                Tatterhood
                Really disturbing, but eye-opening. Thanks for sharing.
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  5. Demaisra
    Demaisra
    Great Article! Unfortunately your neighbor is a not alone in this country with the way he views non meat eaters. I do believe most of the world is vegan or vegetarian. I am a newbie on here as well as a new vegan, I have been a vegetarian for over half my life at 50. I have come across many people who treat non meat eaters as a plague. Like NOT killing or harming animals for food or product is a bad thing??? When people ask me why I am a vegetarian I tell them, "To me, eating meat is like eating a human, because we are also made of meat". I always point at and pinch the skin on my arm. Then I say, "have you ever really thought about what you are eating?" Or "I sure wouldn't want to be someone's dinner." That I feel it's gross getting meat stuck in between my teeth". When I talk about particular meats I say cow and pig not beef or pork just to help them think. Or tell the story of when I was 5 and in my innocent little imagination I saw an adorable little pig looking up at me with huge sorrowful eyes, "please don't eat me". I've never forgotten that image in my mind, it seemed almost real to me at that age. I always stick to my beliefs and have told people that the way I live my life doesn't affect them anyway so why are they so upset about it. I don't mind the questions, but some of the thought processes of carnivores I do mind. Education is the best way to help them understand. I have made a few people think when they eat meat now and even guided a few to become vegetarian. I love it when my friends and family ask me for a vegetarian recipe. I look forward to reading all the articles. Thank you, Sheila
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