|Enewsletter • May 27, 2001|
Beam me up, Scotty.
Thank you for your wonderful outreach! I handed out your pamphlets as part
of an informative speech on veganism at my super-conservative school. Everything
went surprisingly well! Several of my classmates expressed the desire to learn
more and consider making a change, saying "I just didn't know!"
(I earned a high A on the speech, too.)
I've been too silent as a vegan for many years, but your brochure Why
Vegan? has inspired me into wanting to speak up.
I just want to say thanks to you for your insights. Coming from a place of
compassion for all things living, including those who are committing the "evil",
as we may see it, is clearly the only way to begin to make a difference.
I appreciate the approach in a world already filled with anger and hate and
misunderstanding and defensiveness. Keep up the good work!
I am 18 years old and I just picked up your Why Vegan? pamphlet.
I was so shocked to see what kind of cruel and inhumane treatment these animals
go through just to feed us. I almost started crying but that is not the point.
I have made a decision today: I AM GOING TO BECOME A VEGETARIAN. I am also
going to take this pamphlet and show it to people at school; I hope to do
some good with it.
Hi. I'm 12 years old. When I read your pamphlet, Why Vegan?, it
made me cry and throw up. I am going to try to convert to vegetarianism and
I am going to write to the papers about your pamphlet. This really makes
me sick that people think that they can take any liberty with animals' lives.
(The following is not meant to reflect the official views of Vegan Outreach or any of its members.)
This past week, I received several emails listing things that are not vegan. Most recent was that animal fat is used in the production of plastics. This goes along with animal products often being used in the curing of concrete, the vulcanization of rubber, the smelting of steel, the filtering of water, etc.
As we write in Tips on Vegan Advocacy, we believe spending time on such minutia is counter-productive. Long lists of animal ingredients and non-vegan products make veganism a much more intimidating lifestyle, suggesting that it is impossible to be a vegan, and/or all vegans are ultimately hypocrites (if we claim "purity," the latter is easy enough to prove with the animals that die in the growing of plant-based fare).
While some vegans have worried about the sugar in Tofutti and beef flavoring in french fries, the number of birds and mammals killed for food has increased by hundreds of millions each year. For the last year for which statistics are available, the number butchered in the U.S. rose from 9.4 billion to 9.8 billion. The jump itself – 400,000,000 – is ~ *ten times* the total number of animals killed in laboratories, shelters, and for fur, *combined.*
If this increase in suffering is to stop, we must focus on what is important and effective. I believe that the most important change that could come about would be for veganism no longer to be a negative, dogmatic laundry list of society's pervasive utilization of animals. Rather, veganism should be presented as a positive and practical tool by which an individual can work to changing the fundamental basis for animal exploitation – the slaughter of animals for their flesh, milk, and eggs.
The most important tool we have in the journey toward justice is our mindful and reasoned example. If we could focus all our energies on understanding and outreach, rather than on minutia, the world would be significantly better off – as would we as individuals. Living thoughtfully and compassionately as a vegan is an affirmation of life, a means to fulfillment and joy; these positive and practical aspects of veganism are what we must embrace for ourselves and communicate to others.