The other week I posted a picture of some farm-fresh eggs on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. I was then unfollowed by several vegans and vegan groups.
I get it. I get that seeing a picture of eggs posted by an egg-eater can be offensive to some.
And what I’m going to say could come off as equally offensive - actually, probably more so. But you’ll be better off for continuing reading because we have more to gain by collectively banding together than being separated because of our differences.
Let's talk Humane and Eco Practices...
With a few exceptions, vegans and vegetarians tend to see eye to eye on many animal welfare issues. Just like the widely held belief that it's not humane to abuse a pet, like a cat or a dog, vegans and vegetarians alike believe it’s not permissible to abuse other animals, including those customarily used in food production.
The Egg Issue....
One point where we differ is on the egg issue.
I would argue that although an animal is customarily used in food production, even when many of those animals have been abused, it does not mean that all such animals have been or will be abused.
I get my eggs supplied from chicken-loving friends. When at a loss for such friends, I seek out a conscious, humane chicken farmer. It’s not so easy to find these sources, so when I do, it’s like, holy shit, I’m going to...
There’s a difference between factory farmed eggs and eggs sourced from humane farms and households. I don’t think I need to go into details here because we all know bad things can get.
But it’s easier to ask your local egg supplier what their chickens eat and how they provide them with medical care then it is to ask your quinoa dealer where your quinoa comes from and how the animal and human populations are truly affected by the land and water usage and the social and economic effects that exporting this product has on their local populations.
Actually, the former is much easier, and amongst the local, farm-fresh egg scene, it’s widely practiced.
Asking questions is a necessary part of conscious consumerism that vegetarians and vegans alike often engage in.
Supporting sustainable farming practices (with poop and honey)...
Growing vegetables requires fertile soil. Chickens poop. I’m going to support farms that utilize chicken poop over widely-used petrochemicals. I’m voting with my dollars.
On a related topic, I also feel it necessary to disclose that I do eat honey. I know that bees in conventional farming have it bad. I’m not by any means condoning conventional bee farming practices. But honeybees are necessary pollinators in our food system. We need more of them. It’s expensive, but supporting local bee farmers is one way I help to propagate bee populations to… you know, help save the planet.
I like animals. Including humans and polar bears. While I have reason to believe that if more people ate less animals the world would be a better place, I also know that our contemporary food system is complex, and no one of us has the best path figured out.
Engaging in discussion and finding solutions within the bigger picture is important. Like, the-whole-world-depends-on-it, kind of important.
To the vegans who unfriend non-vegans... (i.e. me)
When you de-friend or unfollow someone whose belief system does not entirely match your own, you also cut yourself off from a lot. One thing you cut yourself off from is a potential ally. And in the case of vegan and vegetarians, we share more in common than we do not.
While I choose to follow and friend veg eating people and businesses, I don’t shun the rest of the world. I won’t de-friend someone who posted a picture of bacon even though it is so far from my practices, belief system, or level of consciousness. No pigs would be saved by an unfriending.
But an un-friending and an unfollow does often lead to a mutual unfollow. Which means that you’ve lost a listener, a potential convert. A “meat-eater” could read and be inspired by a meatless meatloaf recipe. Ideas are shared through the Internet. Advice is given. New neuropathways are forged by participating in this network.
I follow both vegans and conscious bloggers and businesses to learn about #crueltyfree beauty, veg recipes and conscious practices. I believe that vegetarians, such as myself, and the “meat eaters,” as well, are better off for participating in the discussions.
Here's a very important point I want to stress...
Sharing your ideas, and findings, and solutions with diverse groups of people is progressive. But hoarding them within your group and shunning other ideas or practices is… cultish.
If you truly wish to change the practice, you’ll take the time to figure out why people engage in it, and meet them at that level of understanding. Or you could just keep on preaching to your own choir and see how far that gets you.
We’re all on this planet together. Humans, chickens, cats, and polar bears. We all need to eat and we all got to get this figured out.
The discussion board is open! I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and commentary!
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