A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK I’M AN EXTREMIST – AND THEY ARE RIGHT.
Now, to be clear — I don’t consider myself an extremist.
I don’t FEEL like an extremist.
And I sure as hell don’t LOOK like an EXTREMIST. I think.
(To me I look and act pretty average. Normal. Nothing special or unusual. That’s my photo up there, so you can see for yourself.)
And yet — that’s what I am.
An extremist. Or a strange person. A weirdo.
According to them. And when I think about it — they may be right.
They think I’m an extremist, because I’m vegan and I refuse to consume animal flesh and dairy– and yes, that includes dairy, so NO EGGS, MILK, CHEESE made from animal secretions, and NO FISH (yes, fish are animals and they do feel pain!), not visiting zoos and circuses, or Sea World, and riding carriages pulled by horses, or buying cosmetics tested on animals, because I believe that we cannot justify *any* animal use for human pleasure or convenience.
So, if they consider me an extremist in that respect, then they are right, and I’m okay with that.
I am an extremist who opposes use of animals for our own pleasure and entertainment – just as I oppose any abuse, mistreatment, and violence – racism, sexism, rape, exploitation of children, child molestation, wars, cruelty and killing; as well as all kinds of violations of fundamental rights, whether of humans or non-humans.
Many people think I’m an extremist, because I care about the animals too much. Don’t I care about the people? Sick children? People dying of incurable diseases? The homeless? The unemployed? The environment? I mean, these are just animals we’re talking about. And they are already dead, so let’s just have a little meat in the soup – it’s no big deal, right?
I’ve even been accused that I care about cows, chickens and pigs MORE (because I refuse to consume them) than I care about my own child (because I refused to take him to a doctor when he had a little rash).
Just to clarify, I do care about people too. It is possible to care about more than one thing at one time, you know. I do care about abused children, and therefore I don’t abuse any children (including my own; even though I do have differences of opinions with him from time to time, and I tell him to do or not to do certain things, which he may or may not like, I also told him why I don’t eat animals, and why I believe he shouldn’t do that either – but that’s not abuse, that’s called parenting).
I do care about people who suffer due to racism, sexism, as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation – and therefore I don’t engage in those forms of abusive behavior. I also care about the animals and believe that they have the fundamental right not to be treated as property and objects – and certainly not killed for our pleasure – and therefore I don’t consume them, choosing plant-based vegan-only foods for my own nourishment.
If it seems that I care MORE about the animals than I do about other things, such as people, the environment, and world peace in general– it’s because my actions of not participating in animal exploitation stand out starkly in the world where the animal use and abuse is so widespread, so ingrained, that it seems *natural* to do so, and *extremist* not to do so.
It just so happens that I cannot do much to end the wars, feed the hungry children, cure the sick, find occupation for the unemployed, or give shelter to the homeless.
When it comes to the animals – STOPPING the consumption of their flesh is the least I can do. I wish I could do more.
But just as I would not participate in child abuse, or killing, or rape, or slavery, I don’t want to participate in animal exploitation.
Some think I’m an extremist, because I allowed my son watch a video about what animal farmers/abusers do to animals, and when he watched just a few minutes of it, and that I was crying when I watched it with him (that was not intentional), he then announced that he wanted to go vegan too. They accused me of inflicting my beliefs on him (isn’t that what parents do? If you send your children to church, or educate them on any issue, isn’t that inflicting YOUR beliefs on your child?). Some told me that I’m depriving him of the pleasure of consuming tasty foods – condemning him to a life of boring foods, being a social outcast — (unfortunately, I’m one against my entire family on this one, which means my son is no longer vegan, but I do have hope that once he is grown and independent, he will be again).
My son’s reaction to that video gives me hope, because I saw that a natural reaction to seeing the violence is compassion and refusal to participate in it by wanting to go vegan. Children don’t have the baggage of years and years of being immersed in the culture of exploitation, and they don’t have the lifelong habits to change – so change is easy – and obvious! to them – provided they parents or someone from their nearest surroundings provides the right example, guidance, and support.
Many people think I’m an extremist because I refuse to consume animal milk and eggs – even though animals are not killed, and expecting others to stop consuming these products would deprive them of invaluable source of calcium (everybody knows that we need calcium for strong bones! Women approaching menopause are constantly indoctrinated on the supposed importance of eating yoghurt and cheese to prevent osteoporosis, and children supposedly *must* drink milk or else they won’t grow and their bones would disintegrate), as well as pleasure (that cheese and cheesecake are simply irresistible – and to die for!).
They are right.
Being a mother myself, I know where milk comes from. It is shocking that some people are not aware that cows don’t just spontaneously GIVE MILK – (yes, I have had intelligent, well-educated people say that to me – doctors, even, and engineers; I’m not proud of it but I admit that I even believed it myself back in the day when I was still not vegan – I thought too that it’s natural for cows to just GIVE milk, and we’re doing cows a favor when we’re milking them – that’s what years of indoctrination would do to even the smartest and most educated persons. So, just to clarify this for everybody, cows (and goats, and sheep, just as humans) are MAMMALS, and mammal females produce milk when they give birth to a child to FEED THAT CHILD. Being pregnant and giving birth ARE PREREQUISITE to producing milk. No baby, no milk, it’s that simple. So, now that we have that cleared up and out of the way, let’s think for a moment, why does it matter here in this discussion? What’s the big deal, we just take some of the milk that’s intended for the baby – we’ve all been thought that it’s nice to SHARE – so, what’s wrong that the cow and its baby share some of the milk with us, humans – babies and adults?
Well, first of all, I believe that any form of enslavement and exploitation is WRONG, and the thought of taking away cows babies and killing them for meat, while you continue to milk the mother, and then – when she stops producing milk, she is impregnated again and again, and the cycle continues – as a mother, thinking about what those animals must feel (yes, animals do have feelings, you know), it just breaks my heart.
And no, it’s not cows’ JOB to give milk, as well as it’s not a horse’s job to pull a carriage, or lion’s job to be an exhibit in a zoo, as I heard someone say. In this world, everybody has a job to do, everybody has to earn their living. Except that they didn’t sign up for this. They are not employees, they are SLAVES, and if you don’t see a difference between an employee and a slave, then I don’t know what to say to you (and yes, human slavery is wrong too). And the fact that you saw a few cows grazing outside when you went on a recent trip to the countryside – is NOT a proof that cows live joyful lives and are generally HAPPY to give us their milk to drink, their flesh to consume, and their skin to wear.
Some people think I’m an extremist and selfish, because I’m vegan and I expect other people to do the same.
They think I’m too extreme – being vegetarian, or mostly vegetarian, or pescatarian, or just eating “humanely raised”, free-range meat and dairy – is surely enough, there is no need to be so extreme. Especially in the world that has so many other problems to deal with. Right?
They are angry that I reject the idea that some people simply NEED to eat meat for their health. That they would not be well. They would feel weak, constantly hungry, their teeth would fall off, or their bones would disintegrate. I laugh at their purported “empirical proof” that people are omnivores. Just look at their teeth. That’s what people have been doing for millions of years – hunting and farming animals for food. What would people living in Antarctica eat? What if you were stranded on the desert island. Or in a boat floating at sea without any food or water.
The animals don’t have a voice in our society. They cannot defend themselves. They cannot go on national television or to court and denounce their oppressors. They cannot start an uprising. Organize riots. Start a freedom movement. Billions of animals are killed each year – terribly abused, die horrific deaths; and so few people care. Looking around all I see are images – advertising, supporting animal abuse and exploitation – and that’s okay. Yet, when someone tries to oppose that or even just NOT PARTICIPATE in that – they call her an extremist.
But if THAT’S being an EXTREMIST, then I’m okay with that.
I reject the idea that being vegan is too hard for a normal person; that it’s too complicated, too inconvenient, that most people cannot afford it, won’t be satisfied eating this way, cannot imagine themselves giving up meat or cheese or fish. That veganism is too extreme. Besides one’s diet is a question of personal freedom of choice – and everybody should decide what’s best for them.
I believe that many–if not most–people already embrace moral ideas that can lead them to veganism. They oppose the violence to pet animals. They know that animals can feel pain, sorrow, joy and display empathy.
If they think I’m an extremist, then I’m okay with that. Because this kind of extremism is the only morally acceptable response to the violation of fundamental rights whether of humans or non-humans.
With great love, passion, and compassion,
PS. This has been on my mind — so I wrote it down and published on my blog and my social media. I may even use it as a chapter if one of my upcoming books. What’s on your mind? And have you been sharing your thoughts lately? Or you just suck it up and keep your feelings inside of you — not to antagonize, not be different, not be labelled as an obnoxious, angry vegan, or a weirdo?
The world needs you. The animals need YOU to start speaking up and sharing your truth.
PPS: I invite you to join the #SpeakYourTruth CHALLENGE and unleash your inner warrior. It’s about sharing our truth with the world, telling it like it is — the way we see it, and taking ACTION. Join HERE.