Why I’m not “A Vegan”.

I had an interesting learning experience last night. I made a post on a vegan forum (one that claimed to be inclusive, peaceful, and accepting of all questions) – “If you could source yarn knowing it’s origins (from rescued/pet sheep, organic, spun by hand in Australia, dyed naturally with plant dye) would you choose it over synthetic fibre? Asking for business research. All comments which are positive/constructive will be appreciated and respected.”

Some people said “Yeah sounds good!”

Others said “Mmm I personally wouldn’t, but my mother in law is a keen crafter – she’d love it!”

Some said “Nah. Not vegan. Any animal product is not by definition ‘vegan’. Have you thought about cotton or hemp?”

I learnt so much, and most people were so lovely and positive.

Others were downright viscious.

I had no right to call myself vegan. Stupid people ask stupid questions. This question has no place on a vegan forum. I dont really care about people anyway.

These reponses are why I shy away from saying the word ‘vegan’ when talk to people. Why I hesitate, holding my breath for the uncomfortable silence that inevitably follows, and watching the other person prepare their defenses. I dont want to be associated with extremists. (Wait… is this how it Muslims feel?!?!)

So I learned something. I eat vegan food that does not come from animals. I try not to wear leather (unless it’s 2nd hand). I believe cruelty and exploitation of animals is wrong.

But would I choose commercially produced, environmentally unsustainable, chemically treated, possibly sweatshopped synthetic fabrics over the fleece my goats have shed and I have handspun, just for the ‘no animal fibres’ principle alone? No way.

I dont believe in “ethical perfection”, and I dont have one philosophy. I wouldn’t choose animals over environment, animals over humans, or humans over animals. I dont think it’s that black and white.
I ride my horse. Therefore I’m not a vegan. I vaccinate and desex my dogs. Therefore I am not a vegan. I feed my dogs meat. My kids wear their cousins’ hand-me-down leather shoes rather than buying new. I buy and cook local free range meat for my husband (but not often!), because I respect him as a person and respect his choices. I adopt ex-battery hens rather than have them be killed, and sell their free range eggs cheaply, so that others will have an alternative to caged supermarket eggs. Therefore I’m not a vegan.

One forum member put it beautifully:

“I just try to do the ‘most vegan thing’ in each situation”.

Perfect. That’s my mantra. Well nearly: “I just do my best to be kind. What is the best, most compassionate thing I can do here?

I dont think vegans are wrong. I dont know whats right or wrong. I’m not an expert. I’m not the Messiah (“Im just a very naughty boy!”). I dont need a definition, a title, or a ‘box’ to put my beliefs in. I just do my best. We’re all just trying to do our best.

Respect and love to everyone who’s just trying to do their best.

xx

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What do you think? Is it really your own thoughts…

Religion.
Ask anyone about it and you get a different answer. Sure some may be based on the same general idea, or have the same name, but the real answer wil be something different. That is beacuse religion is something personal and it means different things to different people.
Our beliefs are defined by family, friends, experience and interests. These differ from person to person and across nationalities and socio-economic barriers. Yet our religion and our beliefs always get put in hole or pocketed away to become this all encompassing tag we carry around forever. Whether we are Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist or other, we are defined by what other people think about that tag. These thought feeling and indeed beliefs about other religions come from experiences (good and bad) and though interactions and the real evil in this world The Media.
Look at any news show, paper, magazine or website and you will see someone or something telling what to believe – and yes even this is doing that. We as free thinking human beings have to take, what they tell us and really examine it, think about it and decide to take on that idea, dismiss it or otherwise. I want to know can we truly dismiss it completely? Or does that idea, good, bad or indifferent really leave us.
For example, the Cronulla riots in 2005, had ideas about white supremacy and the hatred of Musliums. The amjor theme was that Middle Eastern or Southern European youths had conducted assults or intimidated people in the Cronulla area. A force of white supremacist then went and attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance, which then resulted in pay back assults.
Do those ideas and the fever from thoes days stay with people? Even thoes that dismissed them as racist? Or have thoes ideas taken a hold in the minds of people to fester and grow so that one day when say something else happens these previously dismissed beliefs come back to haunt them.
Say for example Sam, a person of mainly pale skin background, who would be thought of as coming from a mainly Christian heritage was walking home one night from work. He takes a train from the City to an outter suburb and walks the 4 blocks home to his flat he shares with other people of a similar background. He saw the riots on television in 2005 and was shocked at the blatant racisim toward Middle Eastern people. He dismissed the idea that Middle Eastern people are evil or bad and went on with his life. On this night is attacked and mugged for his wallet ($40, Credit Card and incovience), the attckers (there where two) where of Middle Eastern appearance. Now since the riots there has been many images in the media about attackes and violence all with hints (some more obvious) that Middle Eastern people where bad and always at fault.
So does the previously dismissed ideas come back to haunt Sam, maybe even turn his opinion and make him believe that what was said is the truth now he has experienced this attack. Or can his reason, in a clear and thought through way make him see this attack as a separate incident to the issue?
What I am trying to say here is – even though we dismiss ideas that are evil because of what they make us feel and how we know we should be as free thinkers. Do these same ideas infect us with fear and anger even as we reject them?
I suppose this all comes from watching to much crap “current affairs” shows on TV. Shows like Today Tonight and A Current Affair which seems to promote nothing but fear and anger at people, races, business, governement and individuals. I wonder if maybe even though I can look at the “stories” with an objective view am I really safe from being lured under there spell. Am I safe from being able to hold true to my beliefs and not be turned to think like they seem to want me?
Religion.
It used to be the answer to your belief. I am a Christian, I am a Jew… Now you have to ask whether or not you believe what the TV tells you, or the internet or the guy at the water fountain. It used to be that you could avoid being brain washed by avoiding the Church or public speakers. This open and continued bombardment from the Media means that you are constantly attacked, your person beliefs questioned and opposing views thrust at you. How can one stay true to oneself when everything you believe is constantly attacked?
What do you believe?
Who do you believe?

Trust no one.