My mother-in-law brought this up to me a few days ago. Someone she is acquainted with wanted to know if I wear leather. Its ironic because I’ve also been asked questions like this by several co-workers.
Okay, let me break this down from the understanding that I’m getting from an older vegan. During the mid to late 70’s a segment of individuals started to become increasingly health conscious and decided to eat the diet pushed by Dick Gregory. They stopped eating meat and consuming dairy products. They referred to themselves as “non dairy vegetarians “because they were aware of vegetarians and realized dairy consumption is a part of the vegetarian diet. They had to make the distinction because they didn’t use dairy products.
They soon came across animal rights vegans due to eating at the same restaurants, shopping at the same stores, and etc. The animal rights vegans corrected the health conscious vegetarians. They were told that they were not vegetarians because they did not consume dairy and were in fact vegans. The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 and born out of the animal rights movement. At this point the health conscious “non-dairy vegetarians” were absorbed as one with the already established animal rights vegans.
So this is where the confusion begins. If you say that you’re vegan, then the automatic assumption is that you walk around with the PETA shield on your chest and that’s not the case. Yes, animal rights vegans stress not eating meat. However, look at the PETA website. There’s no mention of GMO’s, artificial preservatives and flavorings, or other health damaging aspects of food. Their only concern is that you don’t eat animals, consume dairy, or wear furs and leather.
I’m a health conscious vegan therefore I don’t give TWO DAMNS about what you are wearing. I will call you a jackass for spending thousands of dollars just to wear something hideous around your neck when people in Flint are still being led into genocide with that filthy water. However, I’m not going to turn into some animal rights extremist and threaten your life over it. What I am going to talk about is how getting healthy is beyond not eating meat.
I will talk about GMO food, artificial preservatives, the over consumption of sugar, and keeping your gut healthy. Health conscious vegans begin by eliminating meat and dairy. Then you start educating yourself on the chemicals in your hygiene products, house cleaning supplies, and laundry detergents. You become aware of the many environmental factors that impact your health.
This is were animal rights drops the ball. There is more to health than not eating meat. PETA doesn’t care if you gain weight and your blood sugar levels go through the roof because you stopped eating meat and became a starch-tarian. As long as you’re not eating meat, wearing furs and leather, and hanging with Michael Vick then you’re great.
Look, I am animal rights by proxy since I am a vegan and care about the environment. I am also animal rights by common sense. I don’t agree at all with the hunting of wildlife that is leading to the endangerment and extinction of many animals that were once deemed common. That’s stupid to me.
However my top goal is not to push an animal rights agenda. It’s to push people to do a better job of trying to take care of themselves. So can we please stop lumping health conscious vegans and animal rights together?
This conversation was started with a co-worker because I had on a pair of leather sneakers that I bought in 2011. It’s funny because some of the people that have asked me about this are the biggest hypocrites. You say that you love animals and get teary eyed over the idea of cats and dogs being treated bad. This is while you eat your big turkey and bacon club. I’ve worked at Butterball and have been in Smithfield Packaging, so I know first hand what goes on in these meat processing companies. Do you really want to know what goes on in those facilities? Don’t tell me out of your mouth that you love animals when your money and stomach says that you support animal cruelty. If you love animals then you love animals, and there should not be a distinction made. If one is worthy of living, then all should be worthy to live. I will say it plain, you CAN’T say that you love animals when you at the same time pay Butterball and Smithfield for their execution.
So, hopefully this clears some things up. There are probably some things that animal rights vegans will get mad at but it’s the truth. Go on the PETA website and see how much health is discussed.