An appeal to all Vegans
The day has gone so fast. Why couldn't school, or cleaning her room go so fast?, she thinks. She is sitting enjoying a rare afternoon out with both her mummy and daddy. They have just been to a funfair where the little girl gobbled down a candy floss and won a stuffed frog. She had her first ride on a roller-coaster and she nearly threw up, but she loved it. She has held her mummy and daddy's hands longer today than she can remember, and she feels safe and loved again.- Albert Einstein
On the way home she smiles to herself as she gazes out the window counting the sheep and the red cars. Though tired, she fights the yawns and heavy eyes because she has been promised a treat in a restaurant on the way home, ice-cream with blueberry sauce and chocolate chips. This could be her best day ever!
At the restaurant, in a busy little town, she rushes through her burger, just wanting to get to her special treat. Her mum tells her to slow down but, she can't. She fires many questions at her parents, questions about the day and the characters they have seen, and the journey. “Why does my stomach feels funny when we go down the hill? Was the clown with the balloons really a man, Was he a daddy too? Do we have to go home yet, can't we stop off and feed the sheep?” And when she finally gets to eat her ice cream, the sugars flood her veins and increase her metabolism and she finds a new burst of energy, and many new questions to keep her tired parents occupied.
As she is jabbering on about how her friend Lucy isn't allowed to ride on roller coasters because she is too fragile, a noise erupts at the doors of the restaurant. Bursting in comes a crowd of grown ups, many carrying large cards and posters. Momentarily stunned, the little girl turns to see others outside, their faces pressed up against the windows, glaring angrily at everyone, including her. They are pointing and shouting. The little girl shrinks into her fathers side, overcome with sudden apprehension and fear. These are not clowns, or parents. She hears loud voices crying harsh words like “MURDERERS!” and “BLOOD!” Some of the angry people are carrying pictures and they are pointing to them. Though hiding under her fathers arm and trying desperately not to be noticed, she feels compelled to look at the pictures. At first she is not able to make out the images, they are close up and blurred in striking red patterns. She catches an eye and then a tail. Finally, through the commotion and the angry cries, she makes out one of the images. It is a cow. She recalls her mummy telling her that cows give us milk, and she remembers pictures of their pretty eyes. But this is not the kind of picture she is used to, this one is distorted and smeared with something, ........blood. The cow is hanging upside down, it has been damaged somehow. She sees it's neck open, revealing dark red objects, and blood pouring from it's body. The little girl has seen blood before, when she cut her little pinky on the silver paper. How she cried and stared with horror at the drops of blood seeping from her finger. She remembered feeling numb, wondering when the drops of blood would stop, yelling for her mum to do something. She had been frightened. But what she now saw on the pictures waved before her face was something bigger, more shocking. When she could finally make out the picture forced into her view, she felt ill, she began to panic and cry. She tried to hide her face in her daddy's chest but, as she did so, her father stood up, wrenching her soft cushion of refuge away and leaving her open to the furious glare of the grown ups surrounding their table.
She could vaguely hear her father's voice being raised and more angry shouts directed at him this time. There was a scuffle and she felt herself falling back on her chair. As her heart leapt into her mouth and she waited for the bang on her head to come from the hard floor, she heard her mother's voice and felt two arms scoop her up from the chair. Her mother held her very tight with her head against her mother's chest, as she tried to squeeze through the intense gathering, aiming at the door. But people blocked her and screamed louder at her mother. The little girl's head swam and her heart thumped wildly feeling like it would thump out of her body. She wanted to close her eyes and block her ears but somehow, her childish curiosity wouldn't let her, and as she peeped over her mum's shoulder, she caught glimpses of more images of bloody animals.
She was confused. Had she done something to make these people angry? Were these people the owners of the animals they were showing pictures of? Only her fear dismissed these brief questions from her mind. Fear that these people might harm her or attack her mum and dad. But why would people want to hurt her or her mum and dad?, she thought. Okay, she was naughty sometimes. She had pulled the cats tail once and she did get lipstick on her mum's dress that time, and lied about it, and her daddy did get angry at the football players sometimes and mummy did swear at the neighbour once when she let her son throw a stone at our car but, surely those things didn't make them all bad. Surely this crowd weren't angry about those things were they?
Her mother finally reached the doors and pushed them open, only to be confronted by more people with pictures. Cries of “BUTCHERS!” and “SAVAGES!” pierced her little ears. All at once, she gave in to desperation and fear, she felt a flood of tears being shaken from her little shaking body. She sobbed and called to her mum “Mummy, please make them stop!” It was then that she heard the sirens and saw the red and blue lights approaching. She recognized the uniform of the policemen and women as they stepped up to address the mob. She had spoken to a nice policeman when they had visited her school. She knew that the police were there to stop bad men. Surely, these were bad men and women who were screaming and frightening people and showing horrible pictures to her. She never wanted to see those pictures again. She wanted the anger to stop, She wanted to be home in her bed, with her dog, Floppy, with her mother holding her hand reading her favourite story. She wished she had never come to the fair and she even wished she had never had her ice-cream. Maybe this was all punishment for her being selfish and wanting a perfect day with just her mummy and daddy by her side.
Her mummy and daddy never spoke about this again, although they did take her to see a special lady who talked to her a lot about things that frightened her. She hoped that she would never meet the angry people again.
The above scenario happened in our local town. It describes the events through the eyes of a child.
I am a Vegan. I do not use animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. That is my personal choice. My reasons are my own, I do not have to disclose those reasons to anyone. No-one can tell me how to live my life, it is mine to decide.
However, that does not mean that everyone who isn't the same as me is wrong, or a murderer. I do not condemn anyone for choosing to eat meat, nor do I believe that I am morally superior to those people. They too have a choice in life and I respect their choices. Yes, I wish others would make the same choices as me, not only because of animals but because of health reasons also but, I do not argue or bully others to imitate my diet.
When I see and hear of things like the demonstration described in the experience above, I despair. Not only are innocent children abused and traumatized, possibly for life, but such actions provoke anger, resentment and civil action against animal causes. My own reputation as a Vegan is tarnished and I am labelled as a fanatic and a bully, this not only impacts on my life but it undermines my preferences and rights. I believe that extreme approaches as the one described above, while attracting the odd convert, is like using a hammer to crack a walnut! The overall result is negative and destructive. Surely, the purpose, the main consideration of Vegans (including me) should be the welfare of animals. How does it benefit animals to make society generally more negative towards, more resistant to, changes in their attitudes toward other living things? How much better to take a more positive approach and reason with people, appeal to them, highlighting the many benefits (Social, health and environmental) of reconsidering their attitude towards animals. In my efforts to gently persuade those that I meet, I only talk about animals and diets when others raise the subject, and if they are comfortable taking about the subject. I never make people feel uncomfortable and I never accuse anyone of wrongdoing of any kind. In short, I would rather win hearts not arguments.
It does makes me sad to think of any living thing suffering and I do hate unnecessary cruelty. I have met people who seem to delight in inflicting pain on other creatures (including humans) and who respond to the aggressive vegan activists by increasing their ill-treatment of animals. I do understand the reasons of both sides in this war, although I do not understand their actions. A passionate but reasonable person would not scream at, or show horrific images to a person who is a bad driver, yet neither would a passionate reasonable person of the opposite view hurt an animal for it's owner's failings.
If both sides would only stop for a moment and draw a breath, and stop hating each other, then they might see that maybe there is a common ground for all.
There are many ways to reach people and make them aware of suffering and cruelty. But it is not by threatening, bullying and traumatizing people, and it is certainly unacceptable to do so to children. Such actions are acts of terrorism because they are inflicting literal terror on children who have no control over their environment or diet.
I appeal to all Vegans, join me in being Vegan-positive, not Vegan-negative. You might be surprised what a difference you can make in this world!
Let me leave all of you, Vegans and Omnivores, with a quote from the man widely considered the greatest human mind in mankind's history;
“Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty... We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive. Any society which does not insist upon respect for all life must necessarily decay."