I wanted to add a little bit of clarity to why I’m vegan and why I choose to lead by example, rather than be an in-your-face, militant vegan. I made a video explaining everything here.
I’m losing track of time, but I believe I’ve been vegan for about four or five years. It’s not something I struggle with. I’m not missing out on any food. I don’t “miss” anything (except maybe 35mm film). I feel better about my body, my life and myself. For me, going vegan was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I do it for my health. I do it because I don’t agree with the practices of the “animal industry.” I don’t believe animals are ours to “own,” consume, wear or exploit. Being vegan is an ethical choice I made because I am extremely conscious of my body/health, the environment and the animals. I made the change overnight. I owe it to boredom and the Internet. I was up late, surfing the web one night, when I ran across a site informing me of the cruelties of the animal industry. One thing lead to another and I soon found myself swimming in a sea of exposed facts the dairy and meat industry don’t want you to know about. PETA’s “Meet your Meat” video was the icing on the cake and I threw the towel in. I remember being shocked, appalled and decided that moment I no longer wanted to support the “animal industry.”
When I first “converted,” I was borderline militant. I debated with people a lot, called folks out on their shit, argued with strangers on Twitter, posted graphic images on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc. It was exhausting, and was never resolved. No progress was made. Some people are set in their ways. Some people have an eye opening epiphany when they realize what happens to bring the cow in the field to the hamburger on their dinner plate. I can’t “hate” on people for their ignorance. You shouldn’t either. I was once ignorant, and “ignorance” is not meant to be used in a condescending manner. Being ignorant simply means uneducated, and there’s nothing wrong with being ignorant on a subject. It just means there’s much to learn. Some people simply don’t know/understand/comprehend the process and how the “animal industry” treats and exploits sentient beings. That was me five years ago. There’s a difference between simply “not knowing” and saying, “I don’t give a shit that animals are abused. That’s the food chain. We were meant to eat meat. If God didn’t want us to eat meat, why’d He make them out of food? I love meat too much., etc., etc.” ‘I’ve heard them all, and those are the people who generally won’t have their opinion swayed, no matter how much you yell, scream and/or shove literature down their throat. It’s a losing battle. And, quite frankly, it’s not my style. On the other hand, the people who are simply ignorant and generally shocked and appalled, which results in a sudden change in their diet.
With my adopted PMA, a couple years after going vegan, I put the brakes on in regards to “vegan outreach.” I never stopped making vegan merch, talking to folks who were interested or making delicious vegan baked goods. I just stopped trying to go out of my way to educate people on where their meat/milk/eggs/leather/etc. comes from. These days, I keep to myself. Sort of. I make vegan related zines and buttons in my online shops, I tag delicious meals I create #vegan and, above all, I lead by example. To me, this method is more effective. I don’t come off as pushy or militant. I simply show people how easy it can be to live vegan (in Seattle, WA, USA anyway). People respect that, and I feel like I’m able to reach out to more people because I’m not scaring folks away with frightening images and stomach-churning videos. While this shock factor may work for some, I don’t feel comfortable with this approach. I’m sure some militant vegans, or those who are more “active” in the animal liberation community frown upon folks like me (one may use the term “armchair activist), but when I get five to ten messages a day saying “You inspired me to go vegan,” I feel like I’m doing a damn good job at reaching out to others.
I am vegan because it works for me. I am proud to be vegan because I know it’s what I believe to be best for my body, the animals and the environment. I can only lead by example. If you’re interested in exploring a vegan lifestyle, make Google your best friend, or check out my zine to help you get on the right track. (:
“If you don’t like my opinions leave. But just remember, the animals can’t leave the cages that hold them. They are captive and suffering. As you cozy into your bed tonight, try to imagine the pain and the suffering that they endure day after day and night after night. Next time you get some soap in your eyes, try to imagine that pain for 3 or 4 days at a time. Next time you have a stomach ache, try to imagine liquid plumber being poured down your throat till you puke so much blood that you bleed to death. Next time you bump your head, try to imagine being a monkey and getting a steel plate smashed into your skull at 50 miles per hour. Then, only then should you feel compelled to tell me that I’m wrong about my opinions. For all these things have happened in the name of science. They continue in abundance till this day.” / Rikki Rockett
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