A vegan “offended me”

*heads up* this blog isn’t a democracy and I delete posts that I find offensive. One thing I find offensive is an inability to read the post fully before replying. Try reading every word. Another is simply being an ass. And, a head’s up to the last person who got deleted, the “race card” was played by a white woman. That’s why I used the term.

vegan offended meI checked the joke three times before I posted it, just to make sure there wasn’t anything offensive that I’d missed. I had to because I know how butt-hurt meat eaters (aka carnists) can get when faced with vegan humour, no matter how mild. But it looked fine so I shared it with the title of “for my fellow vegans”.

It garnered a couple of chuckles and then it happened, a friend posted a picture of herself eating a burger from Wendy’s. Immediately one of my vegan friends jumped in to say that was really crappy of her and she was a shit human being to do so. I stepped in to say that she was a good friend of mine and this was really out of character of her. And she certainly wasn’t a shit human.

Then her own post showed up on my newsfeed saying that “white vegans claim oppression over nothing”. No one had said anything about oppression and there’d been no discussion of race but she knew if she wrote that she’d posted a beef burger in a vegan thread she wouldn’t get much (if any) sympathy so she, a white person, played the race card. I hope all her friends are happy at how well she manipulated them. Then she went on to block me and two other (non vegan) friends. Their crime? Telling her she’d gone too far. We’d been friends for seven years and simply seeing a vegan joke was enough for her to block me. She then went on to report my post and Facebook, who will leave up posts telling LGBTQ youths exactly how to kill themselves, immediately complied.

Vegans make an easy target. There aren’t many of us and, as in any group, there are always some vocal outliers to focus on. The problem is that people act like those loud spoken few are the majority. That would be like me claiming all Christians were like Westboro Baptist. You’re all just hiding those placards, ready to bust them out, right?

Lately I’ve seen a few posts against veganism, sadly from friends, and I decided it was time for a rebuttal of my own.

One of the first assertions is that vegans claim to do no harm. Umm… that’s so not true. There might be a small handful who think they’ve achieved perfection but the rest of us are a lot more aware than that. Vegans try to do as little harm as possible. Every vegan group I belong to fully supports prescription medication, for example, even though it’s all tested on animals, simply because we deserve to live just as much as animals do.

I’ve heard and seen it mentioned far too many times that vegans are all white women following a trend. Did you know Ghandi was a vegan. He started in 1931, far before any such “trend”. Plus my vegan groups span the globe, encompassing people of all races and religions.

People argue that veganism is a rich person diet. I say those people are woefully ignorant. Sure, someone who goes to an expensive grocer and buys all organic produce and processed meat substitutes are going to have an expensive diet but what about rice, lentils, dried beans, tofu? I buy produce off the clearance shelves whenever I get a chance. Each package is 99 cents. And, in the States, they have Dollar Tree, which sells frozen, canned, and jarred vegan products for a dollar each. If you travel anywhere in poor, rural countries, you will see people cooking meals with very little, if any, meat. They’re not vegan, they just can’t afford meat. Meat is a luxury, not the other way around.

They go on to claim that around 500,000 thousand undocumented children harvest 25% of American crops “but I guess brown people don’t fucking matter”.

Wait for it… wait for it…

opinion receipt

Sorry, that one slipped out.

On what planet are vegans the only people eating produce? Every non-vegan meal I’ve ever seen has had plenty of vegetables and grains served on the side. So, if you think the above argument is valid, go look in the mirror because you’re part of the problem. Actually you’re even more of the problem because guess who eats most of the soy crops? Cows. They eat around 85%. And, since soy is added to almost everything, it’s not just vegans eating the rest. Plus one third of the world’s grain supply is fed directly to animals. There would actually be more food for starving people if we ate less meat. More potable water too as farm animals drink a lot.

Then comes the argument over quinoa, saying that it’s leading to starvation in South America and it’s all white vegans fault. Once again claiming that white vegans don’t care about brown people. Know who eats quinoa? It’s been billed as a superfood so fucking everybody. I’m currently enrolled in a wellness class that has a nutrition component. The POC nutritionist was extolling the virtues of quinoa to my mixed race class. I guess my brown nutritionist doesn’t care about brown people. Right? Isn’t that how it works?

I used to belong to an atheist group that mocked vegans on a regular basis, with no provocation. Someone asked an honest question, “Are you vegan for health or ethical reasons and can you explain why?” and I answered. One of the moderators started in on me because I have a smart phone. Didn’t I care about child labour? Of course I care about child labour. So I asked her where she got her child labour free phone. My contract was almost up and if there was the equivalent of fair trade for a phone, I would certainly look into it. Her response? “I don’t give a fuck about the children. I just wanted to harass you.” Alrighty then.

Then comes allergies as an excuse. Soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts are all common allergens and people with those allergies can’t be vegan, goes the argument. Except there are all sorts of people who are vegan with those allergies. No one’s living solely on those four products. There’s beans and legumes, teff, the ubiquitous quinoa, spelt… the list goes on for longer than I care to type. I’ve seen people with more allergies than just those four who are successful and healthy vegans. I don’t see the reverse argument though. Milk is a common allergy. Does that mean having milk products should be frowned upon?

confused girlSomeone claimed they’d starve to death as a vegan because they can’t eat nuts. Umm really? Deep sigh. Vegans eat a whole lot more than nuts, which are expensive and full of fat. First there’s all the fruits and vegetables, literally all of them. Then there’s legumes and beans. Then there are grains like wheat, spelt, and teff. That person could make a feast at every single meal and never use a single nut. If they don’t want to be vegan, that’s fine, but don’t claim nut digestion to be the reason.

Honey gets mentioned several times. First claiming that people are against bees by not eating honey. Honeybee farmers are trying to save the bees (while making a profit off their labour). Bees are transported from farm to farm, resulting in accidental deaths due to the jostling of the hive. I’ve also read that bee farmers consider a 15% loss of bees acceptable each year as some bees will starve because sugar water is not honey and doesn’t sustain them as well. I don’t know about you but I actually don’t need honey. It’s not a necessity.

The second claim is that vegans shouldn’t eat any fruits or vegetables because they were pollinated by bees, thus exploiting them. Refer to above picture for my reaction to this. Bees pollinate flowers so they can make food for themselves. If, for some bizarre reason, we stopped eating all plants and let the land go fallow, bees would still be out there pollinating the flowers. They don’t care about the plants at all or us eating them for that matter.

Then comes the incidental damage to animals. Rabbits getting shot at, mice getting run over by combines, rodents getting killed, warrens destroyed. As I’ve mentioned before, vegans are not the only people who eat produce so it’s hardly only vegans. And the whole mice and other small animals getting killed by combines is mostly a myth. I’m sure a small amount get caught but they have legs and are fast. They run away from combines. They’re more likely to be eaten by hawks as the combine flushes them from the earth. Still a death but definitely a natural one.

I hope this blog post made you think, because I want you to think. I’ve had people say they dislike vegans because one vegan was an ass to them. Okay. So, using that logic, would it be okay to hate all Chinese people because a Chinese person was a jerk? All white people because some white man cut you off in traffic? No? So throw out that attitude. Chances are there are more vegans that you interact with regularly that you don’t know about simply because most of us don’t talk about it. And if you ever want a kick ass brownie recipe, let me know because I know one.

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One of my yummy vegan dinners

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Saying goodbye…

“Mom! Mom! Something’s wrong with Ben!” Jeremy wailed. “Please, can you help me clean his cage? He needs to have a clean cage to die in!”

It was 2 o’clock on Saturday morning and the quickest I’d woke in years.

“Jeremy, give me your guinea pig and I’ll cuddle him in bed,” I said as reassuringly as I could. Zie handed me a freshly washed, sopping wet piggy and I tucked him under the covers and cradled him beside me. Ben snuffled my hair and started chewing. I’m his food lady but today I arrived empty handed. I guess he figured my hair would be good enough.

“Can you give me something to feed Ben?” I asked and Jeremy promptly handed me a carrot.

“Ben’s front leg isn’t working,” zie cried as Ben happily chewed on his favourite food. “And there’s something wrong with his left eye.” I could only see his right which looked fine to me.

I cuddled with Ben for about ten minutes then changed into a dry nightie and went back to sleep. Luckily Jeremy went to sleep as well. I snuck into the living room yesterday morning fully expecting to find a body. Instead I found a bright eyed piggy happily gnawing on his pepper; his full weight on both front legs. He’d eaten well the night before and looked perfectly fine now. I assured Jeremy all was well and zir geriatric piggy was on the mend. Then we went out for the day. Ben still looked fine when we got home.

I woke this morning and decided to start my day off with a morning hike. I had to pass the guinea pig cage to get my shoes. No squeaks greeted me. Anyone who’s ever had a piggy knows how unusual that is. Ben was curled oddly under some hay in the back corner of his cage and he bit me when I reached in. I grabbed him by the waist instead and lifted while Ben flailed… both right legs hung uselessly. His waist was tiny and his anus protruded alarmingly.

I cradled him in my arm and gently fed him a carrot, which he took eagerly, whimpering for more. Then he stopped wanting the carrot but continued to whimper helplessly. I called the local vet clinic only to find out they were closed. One more day… one last day with Ben.

Of course I needed to tell Jeremy and woke zir as gently as I could. This is zir very own pet, one we’ve had since zie was 10 years old, I knew it wouldn’t go well. I handed the piggy over and headed out for apple sauce and baby asprin. I wasn’t going to have his last day full of pain.

Thankfully I bought a mortar and pestle from Dollarama last month so I was able to grind the tablet down to a fine powder to mix with apple sauce. I found orange flavoured ones too so the bitter taste wouldn’t deter him and managed to spoon feed him the whole pill (after checking weight and dosage for cavies). Twenty minutes later he was groggy and ready to lie down. So was I.

“Mom! Mom! Ben’s doing so much better! His legs are working again and he can walk… see!” Jeremy announced eagerly.

I blinked and rolled over in time to see Jeremy place Ben on the ground. The piggy stood trembling for a second then attempted to take a step with legs that no longer worked properly. He collapsed onto his side, legs twitching frantically in his panic to get back up.

“Hon, pick him up now. Please!” I implored. Jeremy immediately complied.

“See, he’s doing even better than before,” Jeremy said happily. “Once he gets more food in him he’ll be even stronger.”

Zir words felt like a blow. Ben’s unable to walk and can no longer lap water from his water bottle. Instead I’m feeding him water from a dropper. He can’t walk and he’s having massive issues with pooping. And he’s eight years old! His brother and cage mate died on my birthday almost a full year ago. He’s an elderly pig and it’s his time to go.

After dinner I’m bundling Ben up in a dish towel and taking him out for a walk in the woods. He’s enjoying being held and, while in our arms, he can feel the wind and smell the grass, trees, and flowers. Then I’ll dose him up with more pain medication so he can have a pain free night before we say goodbye to him tomorrow.

Hopefully Jeremy will be able to forgive me for letting Ben go.

Ben2