Tagged: awareness

Poor Chicken Slaves

Hot on the heels of me saying I can’t be bothered to blog, I’m blogging three times in one day. 

I need the chiming in of vegans and non-vegans alike. Seriously, some feedback/discussion would be greatly appreciated. 

One of my dear lady friends owns chickens. She owns them because it seems like everyone in Portland wants to own some chickens these days. God knows why. I grew up with chickens and they smell terrible and wouldn’t stop getting eaten by raccoons.

She also owns four dogs. The chickens, to her, are more like pets. Her boyfriend is in love with them. He built them a temperature adjustable coop and fenced off a large portion of the yard for them. Though a fair amount of the time they’re out running free with the dogs. One chicken (found wandering the streets of their neighborhood and unclaimed by anyone) is now convinced that she IS a dog, preferring the company of canines rather than the her own kind.

At several points my friend has offered me eggs because her family can’t eat all that the chickens produce. She doesn’t want to waste them by throwing them away. She knows that I attempt to maintain a vegan diet.

Her question to me was this: if the idea behind my personal veganism is that I don’t want to hurt animals then what’s the problem with eating eggs from chickens who are simply pets in a loving home?

I had no good answer.

(Keeping this strictly ethical. I know all about the health aspects and general grossness of eggs. I’m asking this in a strictly moral way because that’s why I want to be vegan. Healthy is great but I’m mostly in it so that I’m not hurting anything.)

I posed her question to several vegan friends. An answer given several times is that animals should not be pets. That just owning the chickens is going against vegan ideals.

You know where I’m going with this….

Where do you draw the line? Dogs and cats are acceptable pets but chickens are not? If my dog happened to shit vegan cupcakes every day that I happened to eat (ew, I know) then would my dog be a “slave”? Would it then be unethical for me to own my dog after saving him from a shelter and giving him a better life?

Another one: I know a girl who lives in Canada on a ton of acres with her family and a bunch of animals. Included are a small herd of goats. The goats are treasured family members, the kids adore them. They’re given names, documented in numerous photos and given a good life. Occasionally, when a goat becomes pregnant, this girl takes some of the mother’s milk and makes goat cheese.

(Pausing here to say I also grew up with goats and I adore them even though one of them used to kick the shit out of me on the daily. Their milk is disgusting though. I find goat cheese to be repulsive because it tastes exactly like goats smell. Perhaps I associate it’s flavor with getting my ass handed to me by a goat but either way, I never liked the stuff.)

My problem with milk and dairy products is the way that we get the milk. Keeping animals in a constant state of milk production is horrifying. Everything we do to cattle is horrifying.

So then, if she’s making cheese from goats who are naturally producing milk for a short period of time, goats who are well treated and loved, who prance about on acres and acres of gorgeous farm land, why am I supposed to be upset?

I’m not asking to be an asshole. I might be genuinely blind to a terrible truth. Please enlighten me.

Before I decided to give vegan life a go, I questioned the boyfriend about vegan ethics. I asked would it be okay to get cheese from small, local farms where the animals weren’t being mistreated. Due to his massive irritation at answering stupid questions like that for the last 7 years, his answer was not as detailed as I would have liked. Suffice to say, in his opinion, it was still wrong.

I understand that is naive to think that just because I buy local cheese at a farmer’s market from a kindly looking gentleman, does not mean that his animals are well treated. It’s like the Portlandia episode where they drive all the way to a farm to see where their chicken dinner has been raised to make sure he’s had a good life. I want to do that sometimes.

All this is not because I’m trying to justify eating dairy. It’s because I want answers that aren’t ridiculous.

Because of veganism I will never go horseback riding again because it’s apparently horse slavery (no matter if you love and cherish that horse and treat it like a queen), I feel guilty for wanting to have goats someday because god damn it I really like goats because then I’m keeping goats captive. If someday I get to run my sanctuary farm, will I be an asshole for loving and feeding cows and pigs and sheep? Should I rescue them and then send them off into the big world with a knapsack full of grass and a love note?

Okay, I’m getting ridiculous.

Sometimes I want to make my own rules. I want to decide what’s right and wrong morally for me as far as veganism goes. But there’s no wiggle room. There’s judgement and snark and elitism. If I were single and had no vegan friends I would feel free to adjust my life according to what I felt was important.

Like enjoy your chickens and love your goats. You’re not evil.

Now tell me why I’m a raging asshole.

 

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Oh…Hooray.

Urban Decay has decided to not sell in China where the government requires animal testing.

Good.

I’d like to think that public outcry on the internet had something to do with their decision to pull out of China. There was a whole lot of angry floating around and I hope they learned their lesson.

In other news, I currently suck at and do not give a shit about blogging.

Suck it, Urban Decay

Oh hi, I’ve been off rescuing injured south African ponies from very high tree branches. Crazy ponies. It’s been very hard to blog.

The boyfriend’s parents were in town actually. I was busy exploring the Oregon coast with them and gobbling up all the free food that I could shove in my face. Blogging was not on my to-do list.

I have over 10 posts that I need to write but only moments ago I received a text from my dear Anja that read:

“Have you read Urban Decay’s press release about starting to sell in China?”

MOTHERFUCKER!

Not even a month ago, I wrote this article about my quest to use cruelty free make-up brands. Urban Decay and Smashbox were two of the high profile companies that were adamant about not testing on animals. One week later, Smashbox starting selling in China where the government requires it.

Now Urban Decay has joined the bunny beating party,

MOTHERFUCKING ASSHOLES. 

They reached out to some beauty bloggers and let them know that they would answer any questions that the public may have. Sounds like a fat load of crap to me, UD. Better to just own up to it and say, “While we value animals and oppose testing on them, we love money way more. Therefore, we’re totally willing to to kill some bunnies in order to make a fat pile of cash off of the Chinese.

Dick eaters. Bullshit spewing cock punchers.

So kids, add Urban Decay as one more on the list of brands that you shouldn’t buy!

I’m Still Cranky!!

I’m still feeling ranty. Still a word.

I broke this up from the first rant because this has an actual question to go along with the rant. I’ll try to keep my thoughts concise but I make no promises because for some reason I’m gut rumblin’ angry today. Not about this specifically but I’d just like to punch something. Not a kitten or anything. Probably not a child. Most likely just a pillow. Or Miley Cyrus.

Last Thanksgiving was my first almost all vegan holiday dinner. I remember eating a tiny bite of turkey the year before that and thinking: “This is dry and flavorless, why the fuck would I bother eating an animal if it’s not even amazingly delicious?”. So last year we made vegan mashed potatoes, pecan pie and a Tofurkey turkey to bring with us to the family dinner.

(Side note: I seriously dislike Tofurkey turkeys. Maybe I haven’t had one made properly. The boyfriend douses it in soy sauce and then cooks it. Is that normal? Plus the shape is disturbing. It looks like a giant goat turd pellet. I’m open to try it again but I’m happy with just side dishes as well.)

The boyfriend had told me stories of the amazing vegan Thanksgivings that he and his friends had here in Portland. At this point we were living in southern California near his family and therefore we we certainly in the minority at the dinner table. One story he told me though, always bothered me.

Apparently, the majority of his friends here were vegan and everyone was super down for an all animal free Thanksgiving. But one couple, close friends with everyone, was not vegan. They asked if they could bring turkey to dinner. Not cook it there, but bring it prepared and have it for themselves. The boyfriend was absolutely adamant that this was NOT okay.

His thinking was that everyone can enjoy ALL vegan dishes, even meat eaters. I get that.

I don’t think his relationship with food is as emotional as mine is. Holiday food especially has a lot of emotion tied into it for many people. It’s a time of year to be nostalgic, to enjoy flavors from your childhood. It’s like eating memories. Memories of family, togetherness, tradition. There are foods that I’ll eat just because I miss my mom and eating a dish that she used to makes me feel closer to home. People are very attached to food and the traditions they grew up with.

Is killing a turkey every year a good tradition? No. It’s fucked up and they don’t even taste good.

But….

The thing that bothered me was that it sounded like his friends were trying to be respectful. They didn’t want to bring in a raw ham, cook it in the kitchen and then slice it up in front of a bunch of vegans. They wanted to bring what they wanted to eat, a small portion for themselves, prepared. Instead of being respectful of what their choices were, even if they’re not the same or even wrong choices, it was made difficult for them to come to dinner.

What I’m getting at is that human connection and friendship is incredibly important. If these people are good enough to be your friends, if you love them enough to hang out with them, stay in touch with them when you’re away, go to their wedding and all that, then why make them feel so shitty for turkey?

I know that the boyfriend would STRONGLY disagree with me on this one. And that’s fine.

The situation randomly came up with some other people who had been at dinner that year (vegan people) who were a little confused by the decision. So I know I’m not the only one who feels like things like that, especially around holidays when we are all pretty much orphans, shouldn’t matter so much.

If your veganism is more important than your friendships, perhaps only have vegan friends?

I went to a BBQ a few years ago where the hosts were vegan. Everyone was encouraged to bring food that they wanted to eat. The hosts made little flags for each dish that said “VEGAN” or “NOT VEGAN”.  There were two grills, one for meat one for veggies and Boca burgers. Everyone was having a great time and I never heard any food discussions while there. Why can’t it be like that?

You can’t force your friends to make a lifestyle change.

I’m curious as to what others think. I can see both sides of the argument. But I’m sure I’ll get my ass reamed anyway.

I’m Cranky, God Dammit-Part 1

Okay. I’m feeling ranty. Yes, that’s totally a word.

As a friend pointed out  on the irritating vegans post, vegans get a whole lot more shit than they give. I’ve seen the boyfriend trying to remain calm as his dietary practices were mocked. I’ve also seen him not remain calm. As for me, I haven’t experienced anything terrible yet. But I’m new at this. My grandma repeatedly asks me what I can possibly be eating if it’s not meat and potatoes. But she’s 91, very forgetful and didn’t grow up with Tofutti cream cheese. She’s not being a twat, she’s just genuinely confused.

I’ve asked my friend to write a post about his experiences dealing with taking shit from non-vegans. I’d like to try to see both sides. Vegan or meat eater, you can be an asshole. One doesn’t make you a nicer person. Both sides are handling things in idiotic ways.

Here’s my problem though, generally a non-vegan who gives a vegan shit about their diet is doing it out of ignorance or some deep down feeling of guilt. (This is my theory anyway, mostly based on my feelings from when I ate meat.) Most people have no idea what kind of cruelty and needless violence their diet is party to. Is it completely dumb to NOT research where your food comes from and how it was treated? Yes, duh. But we were all that person at one point. Not many of us were born and raised vegan. Some of us started questioning things young but some didn’t start until later in life. Even at 60 it’s not too late to start researching and looking at the facts. The vast majority of people making bacon jokes to you don’t actually want to go field goal kick a piglet and then shoot it in the head.

Gah, too many arguments in my head.

Okay, but vegans who are outright angry and aggressive to meat eaters are coming from a place of anger. They’re sick of people questioning their morals. They’re sick of being made fun of for choices that they know are smart. I get that. But what are you helping when you use anger to get people to understand why what you’re doing is so important? Using anger in arguments with ignorant people is not helpful.

Just to remind you:

ig·no·rant/ˈignərənt/

Adjective:
  1. Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.
  2. Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: “ignorant of astronomy
Not stupid. Ignorant.

I thought about taking down the irritating vegan post because I feel like I’ll probably change my tune later on. But this blog is about the journey (oh god, I want to slap myself right now), so it would be dishonest to not write how I feel right now. And how I feel RIGHT NOW is that YOU ARE ALL ASSHOLES. I don’t care what you eat, you’re assholes. Stop fighting. Stop being angry. *

*Don’t stop being angry about the practices in factory farms, don’t stop being angry about the shit going into our food. Just stop getting angry at the wrong people. Put your energy in more useful places.