Saturday, October 16, 2010

Living Vegan

Living as a vegan means seeing an animal for what it is.  It means understanding the reality of this world and accepting it.  Being vegan means looking at an animal of another species and not seeing something that I can use, exploit, or hurt simply because I can, because I am more powerful.  It means crediting the interests, joys, experiences, and suffering of beings of other species, and not merely excluding them because they are not homo sapiens sapiens, or 'my' dog.  Being vegan means not supporting people who will use animals as things.  It means actively working against animal use, in any way that one knows how. 

Interestingly, I have heard the phrase: 'practical veganism', as if to label it superior.  This seems like a misnomer to me.  'Practical veganism' cuts out the obvious things (so basically eggs, dairy, meat) but does not attempt to go too far beyond that.  This strikes me as terribly odd.  It is not a problem for someone to stop buying brands of soap that are made from pig fat or cow fat or products made by companies that do animal testing (when there is an alternative to buy).  It is not difficult, nor unfathomable.  'Practical veganism' would be better labelled half-assed veganism or the easiest possible way veganism. 

The point here is not purity.  It is intent!  The 'practical vegan' does not intend to eliminate animal use from their lives past a certain point; whereas other vegans knock things off as they go.  Again, the point is not purity but intent.  Anyone who tells you that intent is not important probably does not like to look in the mirror.  They will cite an anecdote that points to the cliche that "the road to hell is paved by good intentions", as if that could possibly make intent irrelevant.  Acknowledging that cliche tells us that intentions can go awry in a certain way.  It is important to remember that intentions can be not good enough as well and that this is not only a reflection of who we are but how we want the world to be.  The soundness of one's intent needs to be matched by their actions indeed, and that is precisely the point.

I do not want to turn my back on animal's suffering, or pain, or unecessary death.  That is not a challenge.  It is an imperative, a goal.

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