25 November 2008

Dear Omnivore

Each day I make the choice to live vegan. I read labels before I buy: food, clothes, cosmetics, etc. (Well, at least 99% of the time – sometimes I get too comfortable.) I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to deny myself more, be a radical or make my life or anyone else’s more difficult. For me the decision to go vegan was the result of a lot of research and thought. I don’t feel at all burdened or deprived. If you ask me, I will gladly share my reasons for being vegan, but I’m not going to badger you if we share a meal and you chose to eat a cheeseburger. I’m just not a fan of proselytizing, religious or otherwise. I will respect your omnivorous decision and expect the same consideration for my choice.

So why do some people feel the need to badger me about my meals? My decision to be vegan is not a criticism of you or your lifestyle. Veganism represents the vast majority of my values and ideals. It covers everything from human welfare to animal welfare and the environment. When you criticize my food choices, you are in fact criticizing some of my most deeply held thoughts and beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a sense of humor and can take a little teasing. But don’t start throwing outright falsities at me in attempt to convert me and presumably make you feel better about yourself. Case in point: today a co-worker was prodding me for the umpteenth time about drinking milk. She tried suggesting that by my choice to not consume dairy, I was causing cows’ utters to become unnecessarily engorged and thus causing them very great discomfort. Wrong - on so many levels. My support of the dairy industry would in fact encourage the meat industry (research veal) and create more demand. This idea is like suggesting that livestock would overrun the world if everyone stopped eating meat. Such comments, as is the case here, are often not intended to insult; but they do.

All I’m asking for is some respect and consideration. Let’s keep an open dialog. I won’t criticize you or feed you hyperbole, but I ask that in return you not criticize me or feed me any animal products. Thank you.

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