Much of my Vegan community would say that fundamentally, I should work for NO animals to be harmed or exploited. But I know that my Omnivore friends and family are not going to stop eating ALL animal products anytime in the foreseeable future.
So what am I supposed to do? Condemn them all and walk away?
As usual, I’m stuck in the middle. But having a non-Vegan family has given me a broader, albeit undeniably controversial, perspective.
It goes against one of the most fundamental concepts for many Vegans: You can’t love animals AND eat them.
Sorry my Vegan people, but…
I DO think there is a place that exists where people love animals, but ALSO eat them.
Do I wish my non-Vegan friends would make more compassionate choices?
But I don’t feel like changing their minds and habits has to happen immediately.
We may be on opposite ends on some things, but here are 3 things I think Vegans and Meat eaters can agree on.
1) I Care About the Earth and I Want to Take Care of It.
You don’t have to be Vegan to care about our earth, or want it to be healthy. But Animal Agriculture is only just beginning to be recognized as more than a Vegan concern, and really a HUMAN concern.
Of the human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, livestock is responsible for between 14.5 and 18 percent, worldwide. Burning of lands is a common example of the destruction of the earth in service of animal agriculture.
The Amazon Rainforest which produces about 20% of the world’s oxygen, is currently experiencing severe damage by fires set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land.
Another issue we should all be concerned about is the water pollution that comes from factory farming. When the massive amounts of manure and waste are cleaned with water, the contaminated water is then stored in large open air ponds, or sprayed onto fields.
This contaminated water eventually makes its way into our waterways, killing marine life and contributing to algae blooms.
2) I Don’t Like the Use of Pesticides on My Food
Anyone can be against the use of pesticides.
They are toxic and pollute our soil and water. I know I don’t want to gamble that nothing bad will result from eating pesticides on a daily basis for years and years!
And many of my Omnivore friends agree with me. They also believe that we deserve to have access to wholesome Organic food, free from genetic modification and pesticides.
I already know I have tons of TeamOrganic friends!
3) I Care About Animals and Want to Contribute to a More Compassionate World.
I think that the treatment of animals in our factory farms and other animal- based industries is inhumane, and we need to actively work to change it.
If you’ve ever seen videos of people as they watch recordings of the abuse in factory farms, you’ll notice that they all look the same. Horror…Sadness…Pain…And often embarrassment that we would allow this in our society.
I also spend a good deal of time in the world of animal rescue, where I am surrounded by animal lovers that still eat meat. Many Vegans would argue the semantics of what ‘love’ really means, but I know what love is, and I see it in action there.
Its a lot to take in. Especially for someone who cares about animals. So, they choose not to look further into it. ‘I just don’t want to know because it would break my heart’.
Its a complicated issue. Especially when you start factoring in traditions surrounding eating meat.
But, I think encouraging the cultivation of more compassionate people, and a more compassionate world, can only lead to the support of more compassionate institutions.
There will always be reasons that divide us, but there are some places where we actually agree on the same environmental, health, or spiritual issues.
I’m going to keep encouraging people to eat less meat and animal products, and to support those who want to ditch them altogether.
But I also see how I can further those goals by working on some important issues that meat eaters can ALSO get behind.
Gotta say though…if you’re going to eat animal products…please demand better for them.
And for yourself.