Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl
I'm more concerned about making ethical choices and being morally consistent than what people think of me. It's true some people might be turned off thinking caring about animal testing is too extreme but those same people think not wanting to kill animals for food is extreme and impractical too. I can't buy products I know are cruel just for the sake of making other people more comfortable, they're going to do what they're going to do.
New ideas are always met with resistance at first, I felt the same way that you used to about not drinking milk until I researched it
and learned why vegans made the choices that they did. After that it made sense, and anyone with a natural curiosity about things who hears about "extreme" ideas can research it to find an explanation, and maybe they'll be exposed to some new information they'd never considered before.
I was actually a member of the BUAV while I was a vegetarian. So I was always against animal testing.
I suppose it is something I have been thinking of over the last few days. I don't give a damn about being morally consistent or trying to be the perfect vegan: I care purely for the animals. I am constantly thinking: what is the best way (when the conversation talks to veganism) to explain to people why I am vegan, without them seeing me as extreme, as morally superior, and doing something that most people can't (read :won't) do.
Now personally, I have found that the extreme vegans, just like any other extreme group, talk and shout the loudest. They are the ones talking about whether you can have a car, or use any form of wheeled transport because tyres have animal products in. They are the ones discussing the animal products in photograph production. They are the ones talking about whether computers are vegan or not. This is completely different to animal testing, which most people are against once they realise there are alternatives. These are extreme views. These conversations go on online and offline every day. I don't believe they do animals any favours; sure, they may make the people involved feel morally superior, and almost like martyrs, but they don't save animals lives. I keep banging on about that: but that is the crux of my point - how can I make people see that veganism isn't about examining every single object that we come across every day, and discussing how vegan it is. Because the vast majority of people don't want to spend their lives doing that.
I do have a unique perspective, as mentioned before: I was a vegetarian for 28 YEARS. I knew about veganism, sure. But I thought it was extreme. And I thought it was extreme because of the vegans I had met who didn't look, dress or act in any way normal. And who had strict views about what could and couldn't be eaten, worn and used. (BTW Werewolf Girl, I am not suggesting that YOU do this - but some
vegans are very voluminous about the lengths they go to to avoid all animal products, or products tested on animals. And it is these people that I am addressing).
Nobody suggested that I could be 'almost vegan': oh no, it was full-on veganism, or nothing (or vegetarianism, with lots of dairy, which is the path I chose).
Now just think if I had gone vegan 29 years ago, how many more animals lives could have been saved. Take into account that my husband turned vegetarian because of me - would he have gone vegan if I was? Probably. Take into account that I have bought 3 children up as vegetarian. Would I have bought them up vegan - definitely. HOW MANY ANIMALS SUFFERED IN THOSE 28 YEARS BECAUSE I HAD COME ACROSS EXTREME VEGAN VIEWS? I dread to think. I really dread to think.
Why did I go vegan?
I was studying critical social psychology: I had to do a project and could choose the subject matter and the perspective that I would view from. My paper was called 'Being vegan in an omnivorous world: a phenomenological perspective'. (I chose to study veganism because I thought that vegetarianism was now too common.) I had to interview a couple of vegans. One who had gone vegan at the same time I went vegetarian, and one who was bringing up 2 small children as vegans.
What did these two women have in common? Both did the best they could: neither were extreme. They did their best, to not only live a vegan lifestyle, but to promote it to others. Both were involved in local animal welfare movements. Neither of them considered being extreme as setting a good example. Both were thoughtful, both were looking at veganism from the perspective of the animals, and not of their personal moral and ethical viewpoints which they could use to berate others. I listened, I learned, and my respect for them grew.
I did some more research.
I went vegan.
It's a very personal perspective, the tale above, I appreciate that. But I am always mindful of the effect of what I say and do in front of others because of my personal experiences. I do care about what they think of me and the choices I make because that may affect how they think of animal suffering (and whether or not they do something about it). The moderate vegan (although not as ethical or morally consistent as the 'real' vegan), may encourage more people to either stop eating animals or eat less animals. And THAT is the only thing I am interested in.
Right, back to talking about tampons! I'll leave you lot alone now