|Enewsletter • November 25, 2003|
For the Animals.
Requiring Neither Validation Nor Excuse
When I stopped eating animals in the 1980s, the world for and of vegetarians was quite different than it is now. Vegetarians – and especially vegans – were often isolated, even insulted. Animal activism focused mostly on a handful of rich white people who wore fur, and the vegetarian "movement" consisted mainly of social support gatherings. "Advocacy" consisted mostly of defensive justifications for ourselves, saying whatever we could to try to "Win an Argument with a Meat Eater."
Thanksgiving was often the worst time for vegetarians, for the obvious reasons. The siege mentality reached its peak on "Turkey Day," with family fights and mocking media reports.
How times have changed.
This isn't to say that everyone involved in the animal and vegetarian "movements" now has a clearly different approach to achieving animal liberation, or that the holidays are a painless time for people who don't eat animals. Overall, though, there is a lot less defensiveness, with vegetarianism no longer a "personal choice" requiring rationalization. Rather, more and more people are clearly – and justly – defining vegetarian as being about the animals and opposition to cruelty, requiring neither validation nor excuse.
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Vegan Outreach.
"East Bay Animal Advocates ('A Voice for Compassion and Justice') issued a news release last week announcing that while 'millions of turkeys are cruelly raised and slaughtered for holiday food festivities ... this year, several turkeys escaped this horrible fate when rescued from numerous California farms by East Bay Animal Advocates' Animal Bureau of Investigations (ABI) team.'"
"An increasing number of markets and cookbooks offer vegetarian alternatives to the bird – not just bland lentil loaf or Boca burgers."
"Jane Bonifazzi-Hollander has heard it all before when it comes to vegetarian Thanksgiving meals: What, no turkey? Where's the protein? It's got to taste bad. For Bonifazzi-Hollander, a professional cook who's been teaching vegetarian cooking classes for the better part of two decades, converting carnivorous nonbelievers is a welcome test of her talents. Especially around Thanksgiving."