Thursday, May 12, 2016

Veganism & Being Vegan (My Thoughts)

I have no problem with people being vegan. It's great, it can help people out with their self image and their health and veganism (if that's a real word) has changed many lives. I can totally understand where people are coming from with wanting to be a vegan. My only issue is with how ignorant some vegans can be with their views, opinions, and how they handle or talk to people who aren't vegan, or don't necessarily look healthy or have the best eating habits. (This post was not made with the intent to offend anybody or start a fight with anybody. I sincerely hope that nobody will take it in that manner)

There are vegans who will take pictures of an animal at a farm or being handled a certain way, and they might not know much about what's happening, and that's fine, but it's not fine to then turn around and say that those animals are in a bad situation. Now, I'm not saying that everything you might see about a slaughterhouse or any kind of abusive factory farm kind of situation is false. There's tons of places who mistreat animals and do a shit ton of harm. Obviously, that is something that people should definitely be aware of, and those are places that should definitely just stop, but that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about Dairy Farms or Pig Farms, and places like that.

For example:

A vegan on tumblr, some time ago, posted this with the caption:
"A mother sits beside her newborn calf. She can see him, she can smell him, her body is already making the milk she craves to feed him, but she is prevented from nursing him. Her time with him is brief as he will be taken and killed so that her milk can be consumed by humans. She will grieve the loss, and the next loss and the next and the next.
The dairy industry is without compassion for the misery and suffering of the millions of animals it exploits.
Please, don’t support this industry."
Now, that's all well and good, it's someone trying to point out a shitty situation for a cow and her baby, but they're wrong. There are many dairy farms or other such places where the animals aren't abused or mistreated or killed inhumanely. As one such person stated:
"That calf is being weaned, because it’s time for her to be separated from her mother, it’s a gentle form on weaning, they can still see and smell each other, but can’t touch each other. Rather than cold turkey ripped away from mother and herd. That calf will then go into a herd of other calves that get raised till yearlings, these are dairy cows, unless it’s a bull, it won’t be killed, and even then it’s highly unlikely. It’ll go into production. If you euthanize all the calves, your business won’t be continuing very long. And Seriously? Are you a fucking idiot? A cow doesn't only produce milk when a calf is born. Cows are milked two or three times a day, all year round. Oh and milking is cruel? You numbskull, if the cow isn’t milked as much as she needs to be, it gets painful. The more grain they eat, the more milk is produced. If she doesn’t get milked, her udder will get too heavy and start to ache. She won’t be able to lay down or get comfortable. Not to mention if it’s left, she can get infections like mastitis. Not fun. Also, dairy farms have whole herds of dry cows. Those are the girls that aren’t milking for whatever reason, so they get a break and go out to pasture. Keeping the cows happy and comfortable and the least stressed is the priority of dairy farms, because the happier the cow, the more milk she produces. They get water beds. And you’re telling me that’s cruel? This is all coming from an animal rights activist, and a person strongly against factory farming. Wanna know something? The majority of dairy farms are not factory farms. They’re family owned. All the milk goes to a co op and sold from a major company. I’ve done my research on this, and spent a lot of time on dairy farms. You, my friend are ignorant." 
There are, in fact, places where people use animal by-products, like milk, or cheese, or eggs, and yet the animals are happy, healthy, treated well and not trapped in cages or being tortured and slaughtered.

Another example:

Comment from the vegan who made the original post:
"While I am vegan for environmental reasons, this is what I meant by “unethically acquired meat”. It’s cruel, sadistic, and is just not right. Now this is murder."
The truth:
"ok people seem to have a lot of misconceptions about this picture but as a pig farmer i think i can set the record straight.
This is actually much safer for the animals. Often in a natural setting the sow will roll on top of the cute little baby piglets and, you know, crush them to death. She will also occasionally roll onto her belly so that not all of the piglets can suckle and they end up dying of starvation. They don’t leave the mother pigs in these cruel-looking contraptions permanently, it’s just until the piglets are strong enough to be moved around on their own. The mother is also taken out of the cage, walked, fed, and then put on the other side she she gets exercised and doesn’t have health problems to do with immobility. Because the piglets can’t get right up to their mothers in the cage, they are put under heat lamps to keep warm. Back when we were more than a finishing operation, I saw this all the time and it was for the piglet’s safety, and is in fact not a cruel practice. This is a case of misinformation." 
I just feel like there's too much misinformation that gets spread around when that doesn't have to be the case. A little research never hurt anybody.
Another issue I have with some vegans is that, in their mind everyone can go vegan with no problem, but the truth is that everyone's body is different.
What works for you and helps you stay fit and healthy isn't going to work the same for other people. Lots of people live amazing lives on a vegan diet and that's fantastic, but it simply won't work like that for every single person.

"Man I sure do want to live in this person’s universe, in which:
(The above links are all old sources, so if any of them are no longer available, or a link doesn't work, please let me know)
Not to mention that, for plenty of people, being a vegan is a costly expense that not everyone can afford. Where you live there might be stores that you can get plenty of affordable vegan items, and that's cool, but those stores aren't everywhere. 
It's just not possible for everyone to be able to pay the costs of a vegan lifestyle. Money is a stressful thing, and there simply just isn't enough of it to go around, unfortunately.
Here's a post I found of someone talking about the costs of being a vegan.
If you are someone that doesn't have a lot of money, but you make being vegan work, and it's actually cheaper for you than an omnivorous or carnivorous diet, that's really cool, man. Keep it up.

Now, another issue I have with some vegans that I've seen out and about on the web (mostly tumblr), is that they can be quite condescending and rude. It's great that you're vegan, as I've already said plenty of times throughout this post, but it doesn't make you a superior individual and it by no means gives you the right to berate and look down on someone else for their life choices. There are people, as mentioned in the above link, that insist on eating only meat and dairy products that were certified humane, hormone-free, grass fed, and locally raised (maybe you could suggest this alternative to those of which that enjoy eating meat but their meat might come from inhumane sources that maybe they aren't aware of), there are people that grew up in a house where people ate meat and it's just always been around them, there are people who are apart of a culture where eating meat has always been a thing. It varies from person to person and honestly, it's really rude and presumptuous to just sit there (or stand there, whatever you prefer) and treat them like shit for whatever just because you don't agree with their lifestyle, and you want them to adopt yours. 
There's even some vegans who would see someone over-weight or even morbidly obese and they just assume it's because they eat meat or they have a non-vegan diet and lifestyle, and y'know what, for some it is, but for others it's because of a health condition, or because of genes or for whatever reason it may be. There's hundreds of over-weight individuals who work their ass off in the gym, figuratively, and they still can't lose weight. There's even over-weight vegans. There's people with eating disorders and body-dysmorphia. Weight isn't just a physical thing, it can be affected by emotional issues and mental issues. 

I agree with wanting to save animals and the planet and the health of others as well as yourself, but I feel like the best way to do that is to just keep people informed, suggest things to them and discuss it.
People need to learn what it is that is actually the right thing for them, their body, their mind, and their over-all health before they can jump right into a specific life-style. For some that works, for others not so much, and it's quite honestly not your place to tell them what's right for them, especially if they're someone you don't even know.

The following video was hilariously relevant so I want to include it:

Don't take it too seriously.

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