If you follow my website regularly (many thanks if you do) you will know that I cover and highlight any issue that I find relevant to veganism in general and my life as a vegan, in particular. There are articles about food, health, my advocacy, other voices in the vegan world, cruelty free products, my family (human and nonhuman), families of other species and so on – a potpourri of topics related to the ongoing, unacceptable and cruel use of nonhuman animals for our wants, not needs.
I must say that it has been, and continues to be, a heart strong learning experience. Changing my eating habits to reflect my new found ethics was the easy part. Relating to people in the world out there and getting my message out is not always so easy. I know it is important to at least let people know, when the opportunity arises, that there is kinder and more compassionate way, even if they don’t agree, even if they don’t listen and even if they think I am a little weird.
My daughter says that, as a species, we love to fit in and are at heart, conformists. So, I guess that presenting a completely opposite view to a socially accepted wrong might feel a little scary. But, it is not like I haven’t stood up before in my life when I witnessed great injustice being perpetrated on good beings by those who were not so good. And this is no different.
Now, that I have a little more information, statistics and real life events to back me up, I do feel more confident and braver. But I still think about it before I say something and before I act. Here is a little personal story to help frame my feelings.
I work at my computer a lot these days, looking up info, checking my social media accounts, editing pictures and writing for my website. I have been doing it in a poorly lit, small bedroom that no longer needs to be a bedroom. So, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to go forward with my long held wish to convert this bedroom into an office for me – just for me. There will be two desks, shelving, proper light, a spot for my sewing machine, a cupboard filled with shelves and cubbies, along with new paint and trim.
We hire people to do this. We used to do a lot of this renovating ourselves when it came to painting and to wallpapering and occasionally laying tile. These days, we prefer to leave it to the experts. So, we will have people coming into our home who do not know that this is a vegan household, that we eat exclusively plant foods and that we are in the process of getting rid of all the bits of remaining personal and household items that contain products made from the cruelty meted out to nonhuman animals. I am aware that the contractors’ tool belts and boots are made of leather and that some of the construction materials may contain by products made from non human animals. A lot of the glue most certainly does. So, where does this vegan draw the line?
I don’t restrict friends from coming into my house when they are wearing leather or wool, but I do ask them not to bring any food or wine that is not plant based. I try to pick my battles in this regard. I remind myself of the the words of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who says that being vegan is about doing the best we can, not about being perfect. So, my dilemma was whether or not to ask the renovators to bring only plant based food into our home. What would this accomplish in the long run? Maybe nothing, but it felt like a very important issue to me ethically, so I decided to pursue it.
I sent an e-mail to the owner of the business. I think that I would have felt comfortable speaking to him in person, but I forgot to do so when he was at the house and time was running short. This is our e-mail conversation;
Me: On a personal note, our household is vegan, which means that we do not have any food made from nonhuman animals. Could you please ask everyone not to bring into the house any food containing meat, dairy , fish and eggs. This includes milk in coffee and tea. I would be happy to provide almond milk if they would like. They just have to ask
S: I will relay your concerns regarding not eating inside.
Me: …. not bringing nonhuman animal products into the house is an ethical issue and therefore necessary.
I did confirm this info in person when the job started and G. and A. have been very respectful about eating outside, albeit on our property. I am okay with this compromise. I feel like I planted a seed-the seed that this is an ethical issue, not a diet or health issue, as many people mistakenly assume. Have any of these men asked me about my veganism? – No! But they may, and if they do, I will be happy to have share the facts. At the very least, I stated my position and opened the door for reflection.
Annie’s Vegan View
I am thankful for the vegans out there who are working tirelessly to bring about freedom for the enslaved beings of this earth.
I am thankful to my daughter who had the courage to tell me the truth in a respectful yet, firm way.
I am oh so thankful that I listened.
May all beings be happy and free.