My response is not simple. Many of my friends are ethical vegans and animal activists whom I love and respect for their tireless work to help end the horrible suffering most farmed animals endure.
I can’t officially call myself a vegan though, because every summer when I embark on my solo motorcycle adventures, I don my 20-year-old leathers…very grateful for the protection they provide. I am certain that in my closet or in my bathroom cabinet or on my shelves there are things which, in their manufacturing process have harmed animals. This computer, for example, and all the electronics in my life – how many rivers were polluted, how much wildlife was harmed in the process of making the software and hardware in my flat screen tv? I feed my cat turkey & salmon. My local organic farmer last night left me a dozen eggs from his truly free range chickens, who live their lives outdoors, pecking in the dirt, rolling around in the sun.
I am thinking of whipping up an omelette for the first time in years. I whipped up a 3-egg omelette, with daiya vegan cheese, green onions and avocado.
A few weeks ago, a scandal rocked the vegan world. I know, right? Scandal in the vegan world! My friends at VegNews were discovered to have printed images of animal products posing as vegan foods. I was disheartened to see the inciting article written by a popular vegan blogger and the vindictiveness toward the amazing team at VegNews that enspewed from the mouths (keyboards) of her readers.
Life is never as simple as right and wrong. I wish we lived in a perfect world, where suffering of all creatures, human and animal, was over for good. I do my best to have considered conversations with people about what we eat and why without imposing my own beliefs, and I try to remain open to others’ beliefs. There is always something to learn.
Our farmer, “Uncle Jorge,” at the L.O.V.E. cafe last night described his life with animals. He believes he is doing the right thing, raising his creatures to live full and healthy lives, free to roam, free to just be in their nature. When it comes time to send them to market, he does it himself, quickly and precisely. I couldn’t do it, and I believe that if humans had to kill their own animals to eat, most of us would be plant eaters. But I respect his life, and I’m grateful for his labour that brings me and my customers our bounty of incredibly healthy vegetables. (Who do you know who would spend all day in a forest filled with torturous black flies picking 3 bushels of fiddleheads?)
To me, evolution is not a single path, but many divergent paths, all valid, some getting us lost, others getting us found.
So my answer to “What are you?” at this moment goes something like this: I am a flawed human being striving to walk the right path, willing to be wrong. I prepare and serve up what I believe to be the healthiest food available for body, mind and planet. I am always learning.
This TED talk on being wrong was a timely post today on a friend’s Facebook page:
And this is simply hilarious. What are you?