Reality Check: Readers’ Responses James Campion September 19, 2012 Columns This is a weirdly positive piece, almost devoid of sarcasm, and quite heartwarming. Frankly, it made me uncomfortable and confused me (IN PRAISE OF VEGAN IS LOVE – Issue: 8/1/12). So you’ve succeeded once again! Curse you, James Campion! You threw me for a loop. —Jonathan Young Smithfield, RI Sounds like Ruby Roth has a good head on her shoulders and I’m very glad she wrote this book. I was raised believing that the animals we eat are treated well and that we need them to survive. That eating animals is what people do and that there is just no way around it. When I found out the truth for myself many years later, I adopted a vegan lifestyle and haven’t looked back since. —Plantbasepunk Dear James, Twice in one quote Ms. Roth refers to “the footage.” Your article does not offer any explanation of what this is, exactly. I’d like to know, so that, whatever it is, I can avoid it with all my might. “It’s like a blind spot even when your attention is turned to it. I think if you haven’t witnessed ‘the footage’ it’s impossible to imagine the depth of destruction and violence that occurs. It changes you as a person. I think my brain chemistry changed when I started witnessing ‘the footage,’ because our habits allow us to associate meat with comfort food and that’s normalized, but when you see what it really is your neural pathways actually change.” —Jennifer Slicks Roth summed it up when she said knowledge is power. I know I am making educated choices because I’m vegan. Before, I just schlepped along with the rest of the omnivorous population following the food pyramid and thought myself healthy. Contrary to popular belief, vegans don’t act self righteous—we just know how good it feels to make educated choices. No one judges others for making a difference choice—we just hope it’s an educated one, which will inevitably lead them to a more compassionate diet. It’s like a college grad knowing that a kindergartner isn’t as educated on the college admissions process, because he/she has never done it before. —Nerdiac Going vegan may indeed be a worthy sentiment, but especially when it comes to inculcating children in that mindset, the health ramifications of a diet completely free of animal products should not be ignored. While an informed adult can make a legitimate choice that a shorter, less healthy individual life is worth it if it promotes a world free from intentional animal suffering, a child cannot. Educating children to the dangers of processed foods and the lack of sustainability in our food supply makes far more sense and is much more likely to better more bodies and minds for ingraining such existential food choice considerations in the human psyche. —Marxmantakesaim Dear Mr. Campion, Calling yourself a vegan or anything else as such is to buy into our ego and think we are separate from everything else and anything more than one in total. Eating meat, or fruit for that matter, actually makes us closer to cannibals, not vegans! Perhaps we should all become brethrens. ;) Seek Truth! —Bo Blaze Veganism is a dietary choice. Being an omnivore is a matter of biology. Your body (unless you carry one of a few extremely rare genetic disorders) can process both vegetable and animal products by definition making you an omnivore. You continue to schlep along with the rest of us omnivores whether you choose to eat meat or not. Knowledge is power. —Steve41 James, The best hope we have at some kind of sustainability in food production is with the inclusion of animals. Three good counter starting point questions in a conversation with a vegan child are: How are your veggies fertilized? How can farmers continue to make a living without the use of animals? And, can a grassland ecosystem exist without the management and use of animals on it? I’ll leave it to you to inform yourself on these important questions, from one father to another. —SanJoaquinValleyGrower Actually, vegans and vegetarians skew young, single, and female—from stats I’ve seen on vegan websites. And, in all seriousness, I have to wonder what kids would choose if they had to make a choice between mommy or daddy being able to survive some terminal illness because of knowledge gained from animal testing, or having mommy or daddy die so that bunnies can live? I don’t think animals should be tested for cosmetics safety. And, I am uncomfortable with testing for diseases and drugs. However, what is the answer? If you have a simple answer, like “ethical” vegans have, then you aren’t thinking for yourself too much. No offense, but that’s like telling people to believe in Jesus and your problems will be solved or prayers answered or whatever… —Klbrz Our national obsession with re-engineering our diets to align them with ever-changing nutritional, moral, ethical, environmental, and other standards has resulted in the loss of any sense of what we should eat. Teenaged girls in middle class families nowadays have little control over their highly regimented lives. Extreme pressure to be painfully thin comes on top of all these pressures. For many of them becoming “vegetarian” or “vegan” (and I put that in quotes because often they make no effort to understand what it means to “eat vegan”) is simply a more socially acceptable manifestation of eating disorders, a way to act out that is considered above reproach because they can claim ethical superiority. —Angela Quattrano Does anyone think it is possible to have a rational, reasoned discussion with children on any of the following complex, multi-faceted issues: 1) The scientific and ethical pros and cons of using animals in biomedical research. 2) The role of managed hunting in a broad wildlife management and conservation strategy. 3) The complexities of food production including animal welfare and sustainably. These are complex issues that many adults who have good critical thinking skills can struggle with. —TomP100 Sheltered, ill-informed children on any subject, whether using the words naïve, coddled or protected, have led to the de-evolution of thought and this perpetuation of anti-intellectualism that is rampart in many parts of this nation. All one needs to do is see a robotic religious zealot like Sarah Palin, who ran a state and had a chance to be vice president slaughtering moose from a helicopter with an automatic weapon to see the gory results of this. Thank God for Ms. Roth and James Campion for helping to evolve thought and compassion among their children, so they don’t grow up “digesting” the same tired propaganda that is aiding in the destruction of our planet. —Janey5579Yo What allowed us to evolve was the availability and consumption of calorically dense, nutrient-rich foods. We have more information regarding nutritional components of food than ever before. We can use that knowledge to enjoy a diet that considers health, ethical, and environmental issues. If we were meant to rely solely on ancient meat sources, we would have slowly died out beginning with the mammoth and ending with the aurochs. —I-US Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.