Thursday, January 10, 2013

Yes! We are making a difference

All animals in this post were photographed during our
June 2012 visit to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Our home is a Vegan Sanctuary—a place without hidden whey or unlabeled egg-white glaze, a space free of mounted deer heads or "jokes" about loving animals—delicious dead ones.

While we're grateful for our vegan home, its very existence is proof of the often less-than-understanding outside world. Which is why I was floored last week when—in the span of just seven days—the three people I might've least expected to mention veganism did just that.

[1] "I could never be vegan, but we've been eating a lot less meat recently."
Stated by my best friend/most persistent arguer of the impracticality of going vegan. However, he's grown disgusted with today's supermarket offerings and the hassle of having to deal with purchasing "skinless," "boneless," and other prepared meats of questionable origin and quality. Since he's someone you'd normally picture standing in front of the grill out on the deck, his statement that they've "been eating a lot more salads lately" was encouraging.

[2] "What are some good vegan meals? What are the best cheese substitutes?"
Asked by the dear friend who enthralls with the way she tells anecdotes, as much as by the content of them. (Do you know anyone like this? Unfortunately, you find yourself laughing—even when they're relaying sad stories.) This is a friend who goes hunting—about as non-vegan as you can get—whose daughter was recently discovered to be lactose-intolerant, so the family is now finding delicious ways to support her new diet, together. Wow, yes, amazing.

"I'll never be bacon."
[3] "I saw a compelling documentary about a cancer researcher who wanted to do more than just remove tumors—and discovered a plant-based diet can help prevent them altogether."
Relayed to me by a colleague who loves meat more than anyone I've ever known: It's guaranteed that casual conversation will eventually arrive at how much he loves steak, or suddenly turn to the full country breakfast with bacon he enjoyed over the weekend, or to the artisanal sausage he found at the local farmer's market. (He's even been known to post videos of himself cooking meat on Facebook.) With that context, imagine hearing the words above from him. How refreshing that his mind is open, that he's willing to subject a lifelong passion for a particular kind of food to the rigors of new and surprising information.

Though these three people may not be thinking about veganism for the reasons I do, I will not hesitate to call this progress. And I believe this progress is thanks to you—all of you—who discuss, blog, read about, and live your veganism faithfully. It's working. Think about it:
  • If you weren't contributing to getting the word out about the cruel horrors of factory farming, my best friend might not be questioning the quality of his food.
  • If you weren't demanding, developing, and purchasing vegan products, my hunter friend might not have known to ask about good cheese substitutes.
  • If you weren't creating and promoting persuasive blog posts and fact-filled vegan documentaries, my meat-loving colleague wouldn't have been exposed to this exciting, non-traditional medical information.
So, Vegandom, please:

Keep discussing the advantages and disadvantages of veganism, no matter how tiring or pointless it might sometimes feel.

Keep blogging about your daily triumphs and struggles, and keep answering others' questions about your commitment.

Keep current on the materials that document our growing movement, and keep living your veganism as an example for others.

Hope is growing outside of our Vegan Sanctuaries!

"I followed the tour group around the farm—
over to the chickens'  coop, out to the horse pasture,
and even into the pigs' barn."