I came across an article that speaks of the advice column in a the same newspaper, the timesunion.com. Here is a summary of the request. A woman writes to receive advice about her marriage. She is a vegan and when they got married, her husband was also vegan. Now, he claims that he no longer wants to be vegan and returned to the way he used to eat before marrying that woman. She is sorely disappointed because the two of them used to have heartfelt discussions about animal cruelty and factory farming, and now he just doesn't care.
What upsets me is the take the columnist takes on the story. She first mentions that this woman doesn't respect her husband anymore. However, if she accepted him because he had the same values as her, and now just blatantly drops them, it's different than agreeing to marry a person that is not vegan and mentions that he or she may never be vegan. Then the herbivore can make a real choice, a decision based on the person's real personality, and not a diet and lifestyle that just might have been accepted to be with someone, and not about the real issues. I have often told men that I want to marry a vegan, no 'ifs, ands or buts' about it. If you're not herbivore, forget it. And don't become a vegan for me, either. Do it because you believe in it, and be sincere - otherwise, at the slightest sign of problems or the smallest argument, the chances of you going back to spite me are pretty big. You may even go back to your lifestyle just because you realise that it's not you. Is this the case with this couple? The letter doesn't mention it, but the adviser doesn't take it into account, either.
She goes on to say that the newly-returned omnivore is entitled to his opinions. Yes, he is. She's right about that. But the basis of marriage is to trust each other, and if this man lied by promising to be a vegan forever, and this is an important factor not only because of the choice of food but because of the values that stand behind this decision, then the trust is the marriage crumples. I certainly would have a hard time accepting this from a man. I've had a hard time accepting that a friend did this, and it's because one of the main parts of the foundation of a strong relationship - be it friendship, marriage or famiy - is the bond created by ways of seeing life. At least she has the respect to say that the couple now has to analize whether they can agree to disagree, or just move on to someone else. Which is definitely true.
However, the issue of money is the one that stings me the most. I can't emphasize enough how much our dollars are our vote for the way we want companies to run their business and to decide what kind of products end up on shelves and in restaurants. So, the fact that she says that this is something that should not even be mentioned is false. This is more important than anything else. The man doesn't work at the moment. How long has it been? If he isn't vegan anymore and is now even trying to make her 'take care' of him financially, this is part of the problem. This looks more like a man who is with this woman because he believes she can be rolled out like a red carpet and trampled over. He quit his job and she hasn't kicked him out yet. He know decides to stop being the good granola-eating vegan. What next? And of course I understand this woman's disgust at buying meat. I refused to pick up milk for my dad once because I can't stand the thought of being seen walking out of the store carrying it, even if my parents are going to reimburse me for it.
The last sentence is the one that makes me want to scream the most. Yes, we have pointy teeth. And? This is the only part of our body that may have been adapted to accomodate meat. The rest of us still screams 'vegan'. Our digestive system is a herbivore's; we need 12 hours to fully digest our food. A carnivore needs only 3 or 4 because meat would ROT in their stomachs if it took longer. Plants don't rot that quickly, and we need more time to properly absorb the nutrition. Furthermore, we don't own claws like carnivores do - picture yourselves trying to 'claw' into a carcass with your bare hands. Carnivores can claw into them; we would die of hunger depending on our weak nails. And I would love to see how sick people would become if we stopped cooking meat. Anyone who says that our bodies are meant to digest meat should do just like all other carnivore animals: eat it raw. We'll sit by the phone and wait for their call from the hospital to let us know what they're going through.
Is there such a thing as an ethical omnivore? Of course. Their ethics aren't stemming from their diets, though. And this columnist seems to want to bash veganism. Why?
What is your take on this story? How would you feel if this happened to you?
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)