Friday, December 02, 2005

now interactive!

I'm going to take the time to respond to a comment i received as it seems worthwhile and since most people probably don't read the comments section in a blog. Or maybe they do. I don't know; I don't really read blogs myself. Isn't that funny?

Anyway, nathan in St. Paul had this to say about the last post (you are from st. paul, right?):

"That is one cute doggie. I was sort-of laughing to myself when you said you were ordering a jacket for her even though I can totally understand why a wispy thing such as your Greta would need one. But my laughing ceased when you mentioned the lightning bolt - sweet!

FWIW, we have cut back quite a bit on meat. We don't buy any beef any more and we eat a lot more beans and sweet potato soup and fruity stuff like that.

While we're talking about it, what's the reasoning behind your veganism? I can understand(!) wanting to avoid animal cruelty but then you started wondering about silk and I got lost. And, you obviously have a pet so isn't it "okay" to eat cheese from a well-kept dairy cow? Or eggs from well-kept chickens? (I really want to raise chickens in my back yard and would if it weren't for my big-baby wife. ;) Is it just that you can't know how an animal is treated with commercial products or is there more to it? If so, couldn't one just find a "good" farm and just buy from there?

Sorry for rambling there."

Have you noticed that there are a lot of Nathans out there? I have. It can get confusing sometimes.

I guess the first thing that I want to say is that it isn't my intention for anyone to feel as though they have to be on the defensive regarding their diet, as I'm certainly not about to get all self-righteous and start wheatpasting "GO VEGAN OR DIE" all over town. I'm just not. In an ironic twist, however, I'll congratulate you on your move away from meat. Beans have been a staple of many different societies forever, and sweet potatoes, in my opinion, are totally under-utilized. Sweet potatoes and black beans go together well in gringo-ass mexican food.

I came to veganism as an ethical decision. I always loved meat, burgers especially, and as a Minnesotan I might as well admit that my mom cooked a mean ham and cheese casserole. So taste wasn't the issue; I'd eat anything.

This gets tricky now, because I do have my deeply rooted opinions, but beyond that I also feel a need to respect each person's autonomy, so for that reason I have to take issue with the idea of it being "okay" or "not okay" to eat certain foods. The reason that gets tricky, of course, is that I think we'd all agree that rape is "not okay", and that's where my deeply rooted opinions come in (i.e. I hope for a day when we can all decide that it is "not okay" to eat animals or animal products, however impossible that dream might be).

I guess what I'm saying (and possibly overstating) is that while I might enjoy imposing my opinons on others within the comforts of my own head, in practice I tend to be more of a live and let live kind of a guy.

Taking that to an insane degree (which is pretty much my M.O.) means caring about silkworms, too, and according to, "Slaughtering silkworms for their silk is done by boiling, baking, or steaming the live worm directly in its cocoon. When the worm is in this chrysalis stage it is not dead; it is transforming. Therefore, we must believe on faith that its sentience remains intact. To assume otherwise would be unconscionable." Not knowing much about the process myself, I have to trust their information and agree with their moralizing. Besides, worms notwithstanding, silk kind of creeps me out, so it wasn't much of a sacrifice to exclude it from my life.

One could just find a "good" farm and buy from there, and I guess I do believe that they exist, although I'm sure some vegans would disagree. I guess for me it's more an issue of necessity, land management (use of resources - water and food given to an animal could have been given to the land for a higher yield), which then gets into human rights, etc. etc.

Cows, like humans and other animals, don't lactate indefinitely; they must be impregnated and then continuously suckled or whathaveyou, the latter part of which, according to my friends who are mothers, can be rather painful. What does the good farm do with the calves? Do they, too, become dairy cows? What if they are bulls? Family pet? I'd like to think so, but in the end, my guess is that they would be slaughtered for the table, and that's something I can't sign on to.

I don't know enough about chickens to be able to comment on egg production and what all goes into that. Is that basically a menstrual cycle (I'm serious now), or must they, too, be impregnated first? I'm probably just embarrassing myself now. Why did I ask?

So those are my thoughts, reasons, etc. Again, I don't know that I think there should be a vegan bible or anything like that, but my guess is that if each of made an honest effort to tread as lightly as possible (to borrow a hippy-ass phrase), we'd be a hell of a lot better off than we are now in a lot of ways, and it wouldn't really matter whether we had the labels right.

Labels are nice for tattoos, I suppose, but for the most part I find it's best to leave that shit for high school.

I really need to start making sense.


Blogger Nathan said...

Hey, thanks for sharing. Good point about how even "good" farms would have to do something with the male animals.

Not that you asked but since we're sort of having a conversation here... I don't have moral objections to killing animals for food but I do think they need to be treated well while they're alive. Our moving away from meat is due mainly to environmental and health reasons. If it were up to me we'd buy only organic meat and dairy for the sake of the animals' quality-of-life as well as our health but I just make the money, I don't buy the groceries or deal with our budget.

One thing I figure, too, is that animals eat animals so what's the difference with us? Shoot, even our worst butchering techiques are no worse than how some animals "butcher" their prey. So, while I hope/want/expect us to do better than even the "best" animal carnivore, you do too - really you're just further down the line than me. I'd love to hear more about why you're further down the line but I don't want it all to get irritating or unpleasant for you. Maybe you've got a link to direct me to?

Oh - yeah, St Paul.

9:06 PM  

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