Sunday, 6 January 2008

the post about veganism

Oh yes, I'm vegan. Vegan, for those of you who haven't yet come over to the dark side, means I don't use animals. Don't eat 'em, don't wear 'em, don't smear their byproducts on my face in the hopes of warding off premature wrinkles. I'm a biologist, and I don't do research that uses animals. You might ask why I would do such a thing (or you might not, in which case I wonder why you're even reading this post). And I might answer that it's because I don't think animals are here for us to use. I don't think one should be able to own another sentient being, and we don't need to use them for anything, really, since alternatives almost always exist. It's needlessly violent, exploitative, and cruel, not to mention gross.  And frankly, even though animal exploitation permeates our culture, something being common and socially acceptable is not the same thing as something being right. I can't think of anything that I need so badly that I can justify killing for it, and I certainly don't think anyone deserves to die just because we've decided that they taste good or that their skin is a good way to cover up ours. 

Being vegan for me is part of a larger framework. The kind of thought process that one has to go through for speciesism (ie- thinking we have the right to lord over the beasts) is the same as the thought process that goes into sexism, racism and heterosexism (this list could go on ad nauseum). All of these things have in common that you first create two groups, usually "us" and "them".  Some feature unique to "us" is then picked. Like, say, being human, or white, or straight. This feature, which is just a fairly random feature, then gets picked as the feature that defines superiority. Hmmmmmmm...notice how this is completely arbitrary. The group with the arbitrary superior feature then gets to fuck everyone else over. See "The Sneetches" by Dr. Suess. Yup. The concept is so easy that it can be pretty fully explained in a children's book using fluffy yellow imaginary star-obsessed beasties.  

I just realized that this post had a lot of things I don't use, and then got ranty. Now, I loves me a good rant, but I don't really feel at all deprived by my veganism. Depraved...occasionally, but that's a different story. I'm pretty indulgent, I love food, and I'm (gasp!) happy. I can't actually think of anything that I don't have that would improve my life if it showed up. Huh. And I really really enjoy what I do have... good friends and family, good food, a stealth bike, I job that I love doing, and a few tricks up my sleeve. Sometimes I miss out on chocolate cake at work, but I usually have a treat tucked away in my desk for just such moments, and knowing that I'm not the kind of person who will sell out on their morals for a piece of chocolate cake is, well, peaceful. Not only do I have the peace of mind of knowing that I'm not contracting out death for my own amusement or convenience, but I get the perverse pleasure of giving a little kick in the shins to the world that would make us all into consumers who measure themselves by how much of the stuff placed before us we can buy. Because I don't want most of it. So there.  I  feel good in my skin, and I don't want to wear anyone else's, either literally or metaphorically. So yeah, I rarely think of what I miss out on by being vegan, but I often realize how very much I've gained.  Wow. Sappy but true. Excuse me while I go unsap with my friend Bataille. 

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