Yesterday I went to the city with a friend to pick something up. He is one of/maybe my best friend(s). We had someone come along with us who we have known for around a month. Neither of them are vegetarian and both know I am vegan. My friend is very respectful, and we are close enough for me to give home some stick about not being veg*n given his progressive and green minded philosophies/ideologies. He recently broached the issue with me and commented that he cannot challenge the arguments for being veg*n and maybe he will change one day.
I knew Green Gourmet was not open that time of afternoon, yet I had not ever had a look at Vegan’s Choice, what I thought was a café, which is right next door. It did not look that appealing at the time, and my friend suggested the a restaurant (Vietnamese I think) a couple doors up. I looked at the menu (and had a quick chat with a staff member) and found a good number of options to choose from. On ordering, my friend ordered vegan as did I. The person with us ordered a soup with… well you can guess where this is going.
It might be prudent for me to clarify a few things here. I am not one who tells people what they should/shouldn’t or can/can’t eat (or do with their lives). It is not my place (nor anyone else’s) to do this – this is a decision for the individual and one they have to live with – whether I agree or disagree. This does not mean that I will help them in anyway to do this. For many years my parents were knew that I would not by them cigarettes, dairy products, etc., from the store. They know why and they do not have a problem with this. It is the same for friends: I am not going to help someone when the outcome would be something I fundamentally cannot support.
An extension of this, and perhaps something that many people may have an issue with or find controversial, is the notion of respecting other people’s beliefs, way of life (or whatever else you can think to throw in here). I think such a notion is a crock of shit. I do not think I need to go into this in detail on many issues, rather will stick to my main point here. I do not respect any persons’ choice to consume animal products (and nor should I, and anyone else, have to) – and let me also make this clear… this is not a right! As I have said, I am not going to tell people what they should/shouldn’t or can/can’t – this does not imply I have to respect or accept what they choose to do.
Getting back to eating out yesterday, this put me in a position that I had not been for a while, obviously one I did not want to be placed in, and one I hope to never have to face again. In line with not telling people what to do, I did not comment on what the other person was consuming. I tried not to look at what was sitting in front of them. What made in increasingly difficult were a number of comments pertaining to how good what they were eating was… This reinforced immensely that I do not want to be in such a position again.
With each new day, week and year my knowledge of what such meals actually are and constitute becomes (painfully) increasing clear. In this instance large chunks of the carcass of a small tortured bird. I cannot escape the horror of knowing what happened to animals reared to end up on a plate. I think I am going to have to prevent the possibility of being in such situations as much as I can. I may be further distancing myself from the apparently real world and living with the freaks. Until commodity fetishism and the property status of animals are seen for what they are: give me increased social marginalisation any day!