The whole vegan thing...

I picked up a bunch of vegan books over Christmas thinking it would simply help me get out of some of my vegetarian cooking ruts. But instead I found myself having to think about things I’d rather not.

Health considerations aside, I’m actually wrestling with ethical ones.

Mentally, I’ve always drawn a line between pets and livestock. But in living with dogs and sugar gliders and in feeding the birds, my perspective has changed. Our gliders actually love us. Lucky gets scared (storms) and Casey feels proud when John tells him what a fine dog he is. Toby…well Toby is pretty self-centered, but he does love to be near us and likes to play the game where we try to grab his toes. This isn’t us humanizing our pets. This is emotion and interaction they generate.

So what about other types of animals?

At the vegan restaurant a few weeks ago, Lynette and John had a conversation about the dehorning of cows and the castrating of goats. Please understand that I became vegetarian because of heath concerns…not over animal rights, but, what if those animals are closer to my pets in their experience of pain and emotion than I want to think about?

One of the books I picked up was Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres. I grabbed it to learn how to eat better when I travel, but instead it left me with knowledge that now I have to make a decision on.

I remember reading about Marie Antoinette in high school and thinking I could never be that ignorant about what it took to provide her lifestyle. But I’m sad to say, I’m there. I don’t think about the industry that provided me with my leather coat or the suffering of the animal that was raised to produce the product. I don’t think about the working conditions of the person whose hands made the shirt I’m wearing. I go to the store. I put stuff in my cart. I take it home and use it.

I always thought conscious-living was for hippy-dippy types and left-wing activists, but what if conscious-living is actually for me?

Going vegan can’t be easy. Animal products are in almost everything I use from cosmetics to shoes. Where would I even start? And what about John and Bethany? Would they be up for this? If they aren’t, could I do it without them?

(Thanks, Bob and Jenna.)
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall