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“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”  -Edward Everett Hale

Questions & Answers / Comments & Questions

[In this category of blog posts, I provide “Answers to Questions”…or I pose “Questions to Comments.” The quoted material will be actual, unedited statements directed toward me at one time or another.]

Feedlot – Dodge City, Kansas

#1…Fart In The Wind

This comment was directed at me:

“I don’t understand how anyone that is so self righteous about an ethical issue like this can continue to justify their existence in the world today. Clearly living in any part of the developed world you are contributing to the exploitation of humans and other animals without exception. Being a strict vegan hardly matters if you are worried about exploitation of living beings unless you give up all the other trappings of this modern world. If a vegan were to give it all up and live off the grid and subsist entirely on crops that grew with out aid of petro or animal fertilizer I could have some respect for their opinion and righteous indignation. Otherwise it’s just like a fart in the wind.”

My questions:

1.  Is it **self-righteous to:

  • Speak on behalf of exploited animals?
  • Bring awareness to animal exploitation?
  • State that exploiting others unnecessarily is wrong?
  • Verbalize how exploitation can be prevented/abolished?
  • Question people with difficult, but important questions?
  • Ask people to take reasonable, practical, tangible actions to help animals?
  • Advocate for positive change?

2.  Is this person trying to make a case for why I should go back to consuming animals or why he shouldn’t have to go vegan?

3.  If I can’t prevent every single instance of human or animal exploitation “without exception,” then is it pointless to make an attempt?

4.  Should I kill myself or else stop being vegan?  (Because simply by living, I consume, I use resources, and I have a negative carbon footprint on the world.)

5.  Have I ever stated that going vegan means that vegans make a zero contribution to global human/animal exploitation?  (The answer is no.)

6.  Should I give up “all the other trappings” of this modern world or else stop being vegan?

7.  Would I really gain the respect of this person if I “gave it all up, lived off the grid and subsisted entirely on crops I grew without aid of petro or animal fertilizer?”

8.  Am I really stating an “opinion” when I point out the ways that animals are exploited…or when I state that animal-free alternatives do exist…or when I verbalize that animals would rather live than die if given the choice?

9.  Is this person saying that my words are like a fart in the wind or that my impact living as a vegan is like a fart in the wind?

10.  Speaking of farts…Is this person saying that farts in the wind are insignificant? What about the collective farts of all the dairy and beef cattle in the world? Are those farts impacting global climate change?  Are cow farts just “farts in the wind?”

11.  Should it matter to me if I gain the respect of someone who makes a comment such as this one?  What do you think of this person’s comment?

**Definition:  Self-righteousness (from Wikipedia)…

“Self-righteousness (also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, a holier-than-thou attitudes) is a feeling of (usually) smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.

The term “self-righteous” is often considered derogatory particularly because self-righteous individuals are often thought to exhibit hypocrisy due to the belief that humans are imperfect and can therefore never be infallible.”

Beware!  There’s a new children’s book coming out this week.  It’s called “Vegan is Love:  Having Heart & Taking Action,” by Ruby Roth.  A book about living compassionately surely needs a warning label, don’t you think?  Fortunately, the U.S. media’s version of that label aired on Friday, April 20th on NBC’s The Today Show.

The show’s pre-recorded segment with Ruby Roth about her new book was a positive portrayal of vegan parenting.  Ruby’s young stepdaughter indicated that her favorite food is KALE.  Impressive!  Fortunately, the nutritional integrity of a healthy vegan diet for children was not called into question…because it shouldn’t be.

Instead…great “concerns” were voiced by the 2 in-studio guests regarding the supposed use of “scare tactics” in the book (surrounding food as well as other issues of animal exploitation, such as animal testing.)  To hear the guests speak, you’d think that Ruby’s book will scar children for life:

“There is so much fear in this book.”  “Why do we have to scare them?”  The book is “teaching kids to fear food.”  Fear, guilt, “graphic pictures:”  Very scary stuff.

But who is really afraid of this stuff?  Is it really the children?  Will they seriously be harmed by a book that honestly exposes them to the real world?  Are children so fragile that they cannot handle the truth about animal exploitation, when it is presented with gentle candor and realistic illustrations?  Will children truly react negatively, or will they logically respond with compassion and concern?  Won’t children want to help animals and take action?  I don’t think we give children nearly enough credit.

I think the adults are the fearful ones.  Fearful and feeling guilty.  It’s actually the adults who can’t bear to look at graphic pictures of animal slaughter.  Adults won’t listen to the truth about unnecessary animal exploitation.  Adults are resistant to change.  Adults don’t want their routines disrupted, their palate pleasure disturbed, or their minds opened.

Are adults– parents– most of all afraid of having their own apathy exposed?  If, for example, their children reads the book elsewhere and comes home to share the cruel truths with them…what then?  How will they justify their own complicity in the violence?  How will they try to convince their children that they do care when maybe they really don’t?  Or, if they genuinely care, then how will they explain the hypocrisy in their actions?  Children are quite capable of recognizing inconsistencies.

Let’s stop pretending to worry about the children.  They’re just fine.  Children are inherently open-minded, curious, and adaptable.  Children very easily grasp the basic concept of Veganism, which is about non-harming.  Young children, in particular, naturally consider animals their friends.  Why would they want to hurt their friends?

“Vegan is Love” gently asks young readers to take personal responsibility in the form of taking actions that help make the world a better place for animals.  Children are not afraid to do that.  They are not fearful.  Adults could learn a lot from children.

Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, written by my vegan friend from Indonesia:

“I did a talk on Veganism to a bunch of 7 year olds.  They totally get it.  We also went to a local market in Indonesia and one of the kids happened to see a chicken killed.  During the subsequent talk about what happened, children mentioned how horrible that was.  I said, I know, but how to you think the meat comes to you?  One little girl said, ‘I think it’s mean. That chicken wants to have a family and look after its babies too!’  I said ‘I agree with you,’ and she said, completely off her own back, ‘I don’t think I want to eat animals either!’  Kids get it.”

Check out Ruby Roth’s website here:

(Picture is my copy of Ruby Roth’s first book, “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals”)

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown


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