December 25, 2011
How Can Vegans Remain True to Themselves at Christmas?
I’m not writing this post as a prescriptive because I truly don’t know how a vegan can glide through the holidays when celebrating them with meateaters. When I look at the Christmas cacaphony of bacon fryers and leather handbags and turkeys, I see the places they came from and this doesn’t make me feel like celebrating.
Instead I will post a conversation between myself and a family member about our attempts to reconcile the lifestyle clash. When meateaters argue with vegans, it can be exhausting, especially for the vegan because they’ve probably had this convo a million times before. Ring any (jingle) bells?
Meateater VS Vegan – Conflict @ Christmas
M = Meateater
V = Vegan
V = I appreciate the efforts you make to provide vegan options and gifts, but please realize that when you gift everyone else twice as much of the opposite kinds of gifts, and feed everyone else ten times the amount of non-vegan food, I feel upset because I see all the violence it took to obtain those products.
M = Well, those are your beliefs. I don’t get why you have to ‘push’ your ‘beliefs’ on the rest of us.
V = The nature of and prevalence of factory farming is statistically documented. It has nothing to do with a belief – this is what’s happening in our world right now. I’m speaking the truth and being myself.
M = You are making me feel bad when you say something about gifts such as the PiggyWiggy bacon fryer.
V = I am not ‘making’ you feel anything, but I am drawing attention to the violence behind this gift.
M = Well why do you have to do it in an attacking way?
V = The slaughter of pigs is the ultimate act of attack. If you perceive someone mentioning this as an attack, then maybe you are creating that experience out of your own inclination to defend this consumer choice.
M = How do you know that the animals suffer?
V = Would you suffer if you were strapped to the floor of a gestation crate and raped over and over until your innards spilled out of your body?
M = Well have you gone and actually witnessed this yourself? You just watch these videos and assume it’s true.
V = I could go into the factory farms but then I could be prosecuted as a terrorist according to new U.S. law.
M = Why do you need to try to change us? We don’t force you to eat meat.
V = I am not trying to change you. I am simply sharing my experience with you and the essence of who I am. Changing you would be a waste of my time, if you choose to grow for yourself that’s great.
Also, me reminding you of the violence in animal products is very different from you pressuring me to support violence.
M = What if we don’t want to change?
V = We are always changing no matter what – the only question is in what way. On a personal note, if you learn about animal agriculture and simply don’t care – I don’t get that.
M = I care about other things that you don’t care about: poverty, homelessness, various charities, etc.
V = I care about those things, too. If I was doing something directly to cause these things and I had other choices, I would choose the least harmful options.
M = So you really don’t want to change us?
V = Would I love to live in a non-violent world? Yes. Am I going to go around begging individuals to change? No.
M = Can’t you just be pleasant?
V = I can be a lot of positive things. But I’m not willing to silence myself.
I’m going to stop there because it’s excruciating. I would like to point out though that it’s not the veganism that tears families apart – it’s the violence behind the animal products. Just like it wasn’t women’s rights that tore families apart, it was the sexist laws of that time. Just because an animal based diet is currently more popular, doesn’t mean it’s natural or normal.
Christmas can be a difficult time for those who have seen the truth behind the animal products the ‘mainstream’ chooses to purchase because we are simply unable to appreciate or celebrate them.
Vegan Xmas Options
a) celebrate Xmas among meateaters and shut up, feeling as though you are a phony
b) celebrate Xmas among meateaters and speak out, probably causing defensive responses from others
c) spend Xmas with vegans (but be guilt tripped by meateating friends and family who you’re ignoring)
d) volunteer at a homless shelter and serve people… turkey
So it’s kind of a no-win sitch. But it’s all good, because it’s not about us anyway in that our feelings of exclusion and alienation pale in comparison to the atrocities faced every day by animal slaves.