Sure you can. Simply tell her that you don't eat animals and if she asks anything that her mother doesn't want her to know about or have discussed with her, simply tell her that (your mommy doesn't want me to discuss this with you, speak to her about it.).
It's both beautiful and sad that a 5-year-old child grasps this, yet so many adults don't. You may well wind up being your niece's veggie mentor, even though you weren't responsible for her taking an interest in vegetarianism.
I hope her family doesn't try to put the blame on you! My family was animal-friendly, but wasn't vegetarian. It would have been great if I'd had a vegetarian aunt or uncle...
I agree with *AHIMSA*'s suggestion if your niece brings it up with you for now. You and your niece are going to be in each other's lives, and she'll be able to see what you're doing.
Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
This last Thanksgiving, my niece put together the connection between "turkey" the food and "turkey" the animal. She said that she was eating turkey, but not turkey like the animal. Her grandmother informed her that she was in fact eating a turkey. My niece said that's silly because people don't eat animals (and kind of laughed). She said that [family dog] is an animal and we don't eat her. She looked very concerned and sad when she realized her grandmother was serious about the turkey.
Oh wow this was me at her age. I wish I had had another vegetarian in my life then. At least my parents eventually relented and stopped forcing me to eat it.
I'd follow *AHIMSA*'s advice as well.
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It depends on what kinds of questions. I wouldn't go into slaughter practices with her, but I WOULD tell her that I did not eat animals because I did not want to hurt them (or you can say some supposedly child-friendly crap like, Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends - even though anyone with the tiniest shred of honesty could admit that eating animals not only hurts them, it kills them). There's a limit to how anyone should have to hide who they are.
"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.
Every animal you eat
was running for her life
Just be really careful about what exactly you say and keep it very simple, "You asked why I don't eat animals? Well I don't eat animals because animals are my friends." Try not to make people who do eat animals seem like bad people or anything like that, just answer questions honestly in an age-appropriate manner and change the subject so things don't get too complicated. Don't bring up other issues like religion or activism or politics. Be sure to say things like "your mom and dad are really nice people" so she doesn't think that meat-eaters are evil. If you can, try to just make it about trying new, fun healthy foods rather than about anything negative.
I was like your neice and she has a good chance of making up her own mind when she's a bit older likely because of you being involved in her life.
So if she asks if you eat meat, you answer no. If she asks why not, you answer, for example if it's for health reasons you say so, or if it's because you think it's cruel, you can say "I don't want to hurt the animals". If she asks if you think she is a bad person or other people who eat meat, you say no and that you love her very much.
In time it may be you are the only one she will be able to open up to about this, and perhaps other things. It's so great how caring you are about your neice.
Obviously, kids that think for themselves are so much work and so not worth it. (What a sad attitude.)
This is a Nudelholz!
Take it und hau it on
the Kopp of a bekloppt Person
to give a better GefÃ¼hl!!
As peaceful said, that's not even a factual Christian mindset, so saving her soul isn't a good argument here.
Enjoying the view over at http://forum.veggieviews.com/
Definitely let her know that meat-eaters are good people with different opinions than hers and your own. I stick with, "animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends." That usually illicits a giggle out of small children, but gets the point across clearly.
Well, I would be more inclined to blame that on social conditioning rather than the ability to perceive moral matters in other colors than black or white.
To make it easier for your stepsister, why don't you show her some simple vegetarian recipes, for all three meals. I know grilled cheese , mac and cheese, (L&D) oatmeal with milk, and peanut butter toast (B). You might try enchilada, lasagna, soup and chili recipes, (L&D) too. I even found a pizza recipe that sounds delicious. You could share with your sister, too. You might even say, "I am bringing (name of dish) to the next family gathering. Should I bring a little extra for Suzie?" and see how that goes. Good luck.
I think you should answer her questions but not elaborate. The simple truth is that animals are killed, in an inhumane way, for the sake of meat. So once she knows the truth, how many more questions could there be?
She may ask whether certain animals are eaten, but aren't all animals eaten somewhere in the world?
She may ask why everyone eats animals if it is so cruel, but you could just tell her some people do not think about the harm it is causing the animals.
I think if she sees you as vegetarian, this could be a very positive thing for her.
I'd say anser her questions shortly, or just go with the 'I'm not allowed to discuss it' route.
Also, if you get the chance and she's more open, talk about meal plans that exclude or cut back on meat with her mother
I like this answer, but you're on thin ice. It would suck for her mother to get offended.
If you think her mother's lying to her to a harmful extent, you could talk to her father about why it concerns you, or even, again, call her school and explain it- I doubt that would go over so badly, it's not any different than informing them of another good/bad/awkward situation at home. It's like how some kids aren't taught anything about puberty at home, then unless they're told at school, girls especially have confusing changes happen without understanding (think Carrie, but it actually happens).
Of course, that's a lot more extreme and I'd only suggest it if, as I said, her mother's being completely harmful in her lying- you don't want to change her kid's morals through the school, but facts like that meat is animals are true, not anything to do with morality.