Hello, My name is Debra, and I'm a vegan...how often I get to say those words surprises even me. But the outcome of saying it, is not the outcome I am looking for.
My husband and I are looking for people of like mind to-what, commune with? to have dinners with? to make friends with. It all ties in. We are members of many animal rights groups, and support a slough of causes, from PETA, MFA, UPC, Farm Sanctuary, IFAW, FINCA, I can't even name all the causes we support. But after three years living in the same area of Virginia, we still haven't found a group of animal lovers who love the living animal, and not their flesh.
We have even begun to solicit those same groups for some sort of meet-up, for locals. But if you are not willing to stand around and pass out flyers, they don't have any ideas. There are vegan meet-ups, but they are more central to Washington DC, than they are Leesburg, or Winchester, VA. So what is a vegan animal rights lover to do?
The natural inclination is to broadcast my diet. I'm a vegan. First and foremost, that gives people the knowledge I require them to know. I will not eat animals I'd rather pet and love, or watch, and admire. Secondly, and hopefully, it lets people know I'm fishing, so to speak. I just cast my line into the pond, and hopefully, I'll get a bite. Some vegan will say, "Hey! So am I!" Then the conversation begins.
Why is that so hard? In a movement that is growing in momentum; a movement that has been proven to feed the world and save it from the damage done by factory farming; a movement that will take the bloodbath out of our food, and the suffering out of our diet; this movement is not in every town, nor in most restaurants. It is frustrating to go through my town and see the three new restaurants being built but the word 'barbeque' in red letters on their sign. "Coming Soon... Well, it is appropriate.
So, I've contacted the Meet-up groups nearest to us some 30 miles away. I'm contacting all the organizations we belong to and asking if they would be wiling to host introductions to each other, or to allow us to contact each other through them. It makes sense to me that there is strength in numbers, that we will encourage each other in our little corner of the world.
My hope is that sooner or later, (obviously sooner,) these groups will see the logic in keeping its members in contact with each other, so that we support each other, and assist each other when there is some abuse we need to address. Then, I suspect, we will not feel like we are alone in this. That then, we can feel the soldierly commraderie that we are lacking in the spread out regions we live in. Is that too much to ask?