Ginny Messina on The Voracious (Ex-)Vegan

If you haven’t heard yet, Tasha the The Voracious Vegan has gone back to eating meat (I had never even heard of Tasha before she went back to eating meat).

Ginny Messina responds to the ex-Voracious Vegan’s blog post about her journey: Do Ex-Vegans’ Stories Make the Case Against Vegan Diets?

One comment from me. Tasha writes:

My first bite of meat after 3.5 years of veganism was both the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever done. Tears ran down my face as saliva pooled in my mouth. The world receded to a blank nothingness and I just ate, and ate, and ate. I cried in grief and anger, while moaning with pleasure and joy.

This is the exact same reaction I have every time I eat a Jokerz candy bar!

44 Responses to “Ginny Messina on The Voracious (Ex-)Vegan”

  1. Kate O'Neill Says:

    Whoa, I’d never heard of Jokerz or any of those other candy bars before you linked to them. Now, in a weird way, I have Tasha’s departure from veganism to thank for introducing me to something that looks so incredible. 🙂

  2. Laura Says:

    The vegans who go around saying a vegan diet is perfect so you don’t need to take supplements with it, and who don’t pay attention to their nutrition,
    and the people who go around dis-recommending vegan diets because they “make people ill”,
    are two sides of the same coin.
    If somebody craves meat on a vegan diet, why not eat a little bit? It doesn’t have to be an absolute. And not being absolutely 100% about it could feel less depriving.

  3. Madeleine Says:

    Laura

    If one is vegan for ethical reasons then one has to be 100% vegan IMO. 100% against animal cruelty and the use of animals. It’s like being 100% against paedophilia and 100% against rape and 100% against homophobia. A little bit of child porn is not OK, nor a little bit of rape, nor a little bit of making animals suffer. If one is doing it for the animals then how is it deprivation?

  4. Gianna Says:

    … the reason vegans don’t eat meat on a vegan diet is because if you do eat meat, you aren’t a vegan. that would defeat the entire purpose.

  5. Jesus Says:

    hahaha! the way she dramatically describes EVERYTHING just makes her seem even more fake.

    I love the bit about how she spent a month starving herself to examine world hunger. Also how half her tweets are about working out and staying skinny. Eating disorder anyone?

    Or is it true you need to put rotting flesh in your body to survive even though we can get the same nutrients much more abundantly from plants or even supplements!

    Also if you truly are passionate about animal rights, the first thing you would do is post a blog everyone against AR could easily use for that purpose. Fraud red flags galore.

    Hey Laura, if someone craves rape a little bit, do it – its okay! Long as your not a serial rapist. lol Get real!

  6. Jack Norris RD Says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Laura on this. If someone really thinks they need to eat meat (or animal products) to be healthy, then, in most cases they are going to do it, no matter what the rest of us vegans might think about it. So it makes sense to suggest that they eat as little as possible in order to be healthy. Tasha went from voracious vegan to ravenous meat-eater – that seems like a rather extreme (though not uncommon) reaction.

    BTW, I was tempted to edit the last sentence out of Jesus’ comment. If comments get any more vitriolic than that, I probably will. I don’t want this site to devolve into people insulting each other.

  7. Laura Says:

    It sounds like the “Voracious Vegan” thought of being vegan as deprivation, and when she started eating animal food, it was like “Wow! Now I have permission to eat this and I ENJOY IT!!!” It’s a stressed psychological attitude: drawing a line in the sand, which when it breaks, breaks like a dam breaking. To mix metaphors 🙂
    An attitude like what I described, that if you really really are craving meat, go ahead and eat a little bit, could avoid this kind of breaking-the-dam phenomenon that apparently happened with the Voracious Vegan.
    If you avoid 90% of the harm to animals that the average person does, or 95% or 99%, *that is a big deal*. If everybody lived this way, our society would be radically kinder to animals, contributing much less to global warming, and – at least if people pay attention to nutrition as outlined on this website – healthier.
    So if going for 100% would stress you out so much that you aren’t going to do it, why not go for 90% and do that much?
    If you don’t feel deprived going for 100% vegan, that’s great. And I respect that stance. Most people would feel deprived and stressed doing that, though. It’s really common for non-vegans to say something like “mm mmm bacon” or “I couldn’t bear to miss out on mushrooms and steak” when I say pro-vegan things on non-vegan boards. I’ve suggested to those people, why not eat less animal food, then? Find plant food indulgences to replace the animal food?
    I find that doing it 95% or so, avoids a lot of the stress. I don’t worry so much about the feelings of bugs, worms and the like. I don’t worry about small amounts of animal-source ingredients in supplements. I try to avoid leather but I don’t spend days searching for a non-animal substitute. I’ve never been happy about eating meat, but given that I otherwise have huge dietary restrictions already because of food sensitivities, I don’t completely avoid meat, just eat far less than most people do, and no other animal food besides honey.
    Even with regards to harm done to other people, life is a balance between the harm one does to oneself and the harm done to other people. Everytime someone drives, it puts others in danger.
    Even when vegans eat, animals have been sacrificed for it: rodents in the fields where the food was grown, bugs killed by bug spray, etc. Even when vegans eat, they may be contributing to the exploitation of underpaid workers making the food. Etc.
    Being quasi-vegan, doing it 95% or so, is a sane stance to take, I feel. You can live in a way that is relatively very kind to animals, without driving yourself up the wall. I already spend way too much of my time calling 800 #’s, trying to check out supplements to make sure they aren’t sourced from something that would make me sick.

  8. James Says:

    I like your style, Laura. No one argues we have to be 100% environmentalists, or give 100% of our money to charity, or avoid 100% of the products of sweatshops. Those are good goals, but there’s such a thing as opportunity costs – if you do one thing, you’re not doing another thing – and diminishing marginal utility – achieving the last 1% is infinitely more troublesome than the first 1%.

    I think vegans in general are susceptible to that switch-flipping all-or-nothing mindset, which is nice early on when you’re making lots of positive changes all at once as part of the same package, but it’s awful later on when the tiniest setback threatens to ruin everything.

  9. Madeleine Says:

    A “quasi-vegan”??? You either are or you aren’t. Being vegan is really not that hard. So you have to find non-leather shoes and read labels. So what? Laura, I feel misses the point.

  10. Mary Says:

    I don’t think Laura misses the point. This is the real world, every vegan I know, including myself, causes harm to something. Life causes harm (do you know how many people were “harmed” to make your computer?). Sometimes those “vegan” shoes are actually more harmful than the leather ones. Can you really say you research where every product you use is made? Where what’s it made from is made, it’s overall environmental impact? If so, kudos. I can’t. We do what we can.

    Though, I guess I would agree that “vegan” isn’t some prideful badge. Some people wear it like it is.

    I came via google here because I am a vegan, much like Tasha. I’ve been told by multiple MDs that I should eat meat. Had the blood tests, the supplements. I know where she’s coming from. I won’t go into my profession, but I know biochemistry. I DO think I would be better off eating meat, but I cannot do it. I’ve tried.

    The thing that I don’t understand (and I followed her before) is how she can go from “vegan advocate” to “OMG! I LOVE BACON.” Maye I envy her, because I’ve tried to do what she’s done. The thought of meat makes me ill. The texture, the smell. The turnaround for Tasha seems dramatic for someone who was so passionate before.

    I’ve never really been a “passionate” vegan, trying to convert people or preach my vegan ways. Maybe I need to start so I can stop 🙂

  11. James Says:

    If you either are or you aren’t, then no one is. I’m sure we’ve all seen the lists of animal products in zillions of consumer and public goods, and I’m sure we all use some of those goods. Given that reality, we can equivocate about intent or practicality while still trying to keep the binary purity aspect – or we simply say that we know what the right direction is and are moving as far in that direction as circumstances permit.

    If vegans became ex-vegans by becoming 95-percenters like Laura, then there’d be a lot less of a problem. Heck, I might even still call them vegans.

  12. In response to the current ex-vegan controversy « Paleosister's Blog Says:

    […] above was from Ginny Messina’s rebuttal. Jack Norris, who I remember seeing speak at AR 2003 and greatly admired, writes that we should try to consume […]

  13. Jack Norris RD Says:

    My response: http://jacknorrisrd.com/?p=1656

  14. Christina Arasmo Beymer Says:

    I dig Laura’s style too. I deeply appreciate what Jack says and how he lives his life. He’s damn compassionate to all beings, especially to the only ones who can make a difference to the others: humans. All vegans need to realize this. It is not a religion and it does not make vegans better than other people. If vegans are jerks and rigid, then they do more harm to animals by turning others off.

    Remember: the only way to help animals is to be super compassionate to humans, they have the forks!

    People are going to do what they are going to do, this is a fact, what other people need to do is be supportive in a way that doesn’t make them go off the deep end. Adding a little bit of animal products back in might be helpful for some folks. We are not in their shoes.

    Jack, please read the stuff about rotting teeth on the following post’s comments from ExVegan for 16 years. (http://www.vegblog.org/archive/2007/03/29/tips-for-new-vegans-dealing-with-ex-vegans/
    ) , this was written a few years ago and it’s got a fair amount of ex-vegans who have ruined health doing the McDougal plan or raw or no fat. But that’s what they think vegan is. Sad. I’ve read other stories about teeth too.

    The information is in the comments on the link. The actual post itself is not that great, IMO. Some of these ex-veg people are hurting and sick from being too perfect/restrictive with their diet with fats from what I could gather. Also they get gluten intolerant too.

    To help animals is about progress, not perfection. It’s just not possible to make all people all vegan. I want to see sustainable reduced animal product consumption.

    Peas,
    Christina

  15. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Christina,

    I’m not sure what could be going on with their teeth. It could be a lot of dried fruit or citrus fruit, or not enough calcium. I assume they avoid fluoride, too, which might not be great for teeth. I realize there are arguments that fluoride is toxic, but I personally have seen more evidence that it’s good for teeth than that it is harmful and so I make sure I brush with a toothpaste with fluoride. For adults, this might not make much difference, though.

    Jack

  16. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Christina,

    It could also be low vitamin D preventing calcium absorption. I was reminded of this by the post by Ex-Vegan.

  17. Free Bacon Says:

    Let’s not let a ‘label’ define us. In my case I choose to eat a plant based diet to minimize suffering of animals. My diet doesn’t define me – if anything I hope my compassion does.

  18. patrick Says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned those Jokerz bars. I had never heard of them, and assumed that we wouldn’t have them in Canada, but when I looked them up it turned out that our vegan store (panacea.. if you’re in Toronto, check it out) does have them. I too experienced the tears, but I think it was because I was trying to wolf it down while riding my bike into the blistering cold wind!

  19. mark Says:

    I’m not sure Tasha was a particularly informed vegan. I found it a bit telling that if you do a search for her blog, the words “b12” and “supplement” never appeared except in the post about her diet change and a post in which she states firmly and proudly that she takes no vitamin or mineral supplements. As someone who went back and forth between vegetarian and omnivorous diets for years not knowing how important appropriate supplementation is, cheese and meat taste significantly better and more satisfying when you are desperate for them due to malnutrition.

  20. Veg Says:

    I’d like to know what her hidden motivation is. I find her post to be dishonest. Just as one example, she says her doctor talked about iron, “She asked me if I would consider adding a few eggs to my diet every day. I shook my head, a few eggs couldn’t really be that important. She explained that yes, they really were. But I still said no. Absolutely not. After another lengthy counseling session she wrote another prescription for another kind of iron supplement. Once again I tried to fight back tears at the pharmacy.” If a large egg has only about 0.6, wouldn’t a woman have to eat 30+ eggs to meet the daily requirement for iron?

  21. Ex-Vegan Says:

    Is the vegan diet the best diet for all humans? Does an ex-vegan have the authority to answer that question? Read my blog and find out:

    http://quasi-vegan.blogspot.com/2010/11/another-ex-vegan-is-vegan-diet-best.html

  22. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Ex-Vegan,

    I think yours is a pretty sensible view. As I read about more and more failed vegans, I, too, notice that they tend to be of the raw foods or low-fat variety. But another thing people should realize is that many of the so-called “junk food vegans” are eating a lot of fat and protein and many of them are thriving. I eat protein powder every morning in my soy milk, and I haven’t had a cold in just short of two years (knock on wood!). And I eat plenty of fat. I just ate 6 (small) pieces of white baguette with Earth Balance spread on it. Oh, the horror! My reward for running 6 miles earlier.

  23. Christina Arasmo Beymer Says:

    Some of the links used for my hypothesis are now a blog post and I will add more as time allows. Look at the “enemy’s” forums for ex-vegans see their health issues, ignore the stuff about their religion (the one on Nourishing Traditions that is recommended by the Weston Price folks). They may have a point. The thing is that everyone really digs being right, so finding information devoid of agenda and staying right is pretty difficult. Once that is possible, then maybe some improvements will happen. My theory is based on reading a whole bunch, common sense and a separation of the ism from the vegan. And adaptation is possible for all, so it’s not like those who are genetically are predisposed to requiring animal sources, can’t adapt slowly. I hope they do because of love of animals, but not for some purity or religion or even ethics. But even if they still eat meat, they can still make a HUGE difference in ending factory farming. Perhaps much, much more of a difference than righteous vegans.

  24. Concerned Says:

    I stumbled across this website while trying to find information about elderly vegans and whether or not it is a healthy lifestyle for that age bracket. I know a couple in their 80’s who have eliminated all animal products from their diet. I can’t imagine how this could be healthy as there are no supplements being taken and part of their “diet” is just eating very little. Any plant product that the deem to be too fatty gets the axe. One of their family members was even asked if they knew of anyone committing elder abuse towards them while recooperating from a surgery. They don’t appear healthy-they have become frail, hunched and very pale. Excercise is decreased if they feel they arent losing enough weight. I read a study (of tens of thousands of people, so I wuld consider that significant) that elderly people fare better in life and health with a FEW extra pounds. Can anyone lead me towards some helpful information?

  25. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Concerned,

    I’m not aware of any good articles for elderly vegans. There have been a number of peer-reviewed papers lately suggesting elderly people need more protein, about 1.0 to 1.3 g/kg for optimal muscle mass and bone density. But these papers have had support from the animal agriculture industries in almost all cases. That said, I think they make some convincing arguments and I would urge elderly people to get closer to the higher end of that range. I also agree with you that elderly people should not be on very low-fat or low-calorie diets.

  26. Tamar Says:

    I just want to say that Laura and James and Jack (of course) completely GET the point! The point being that everyone can contribute. As James pointed out, no one is100% vegan. People do their best. Even the original definition of a vegan acknowledges this!

    Veganism is one of the only “isms” in our culture that is commonly considered an all or nothing commitment. Jonathan Safran Foer makes this point in his book “Eating Animals.” Some people might never sway (at least consciously) from being a dietary vegan. But, surely, those folks have unintentionally ingested animal products or consumed them in another way (non-food products).

    Some of us make a decision to ingest animal products once in a while. I am not comfortable even calling myself vegan, even though that’s the way I eat 99% of the time, and I do my absolute best to purchase non-animal derived clothing and personal care products. Have I thrown away my leather boots? No. Because I also try to be mindful of my general product consumption and I use things until they are unusable.

    Also – to anyone else who thinks that all or nothing is the only way to “do” veganism: The best way to convert people to eating less meat is to make them aware that they can ease into it. A la Mark Bittman or other thoughtful, influential folks like Jonathan Safran Foer (who to my knowledge is still vegetarian). Within a larger conversation about factory farming and animal agriculture, I suggested to a friend about a month ago that she try going one day without eating animal products (kind of like a “Meatless Monday”) and she told me today that she’s been following a vegan diet ever since! This is the new wave of veganism and I am quite confident we are going to see a lot more of this.

  27. Laura Says:

    Jack, I think the idea that junk-food vegans can do better than extremely health-conscious vegans is really interesting. If you read Rhys’s extremely detailed explanation of his diet on letthemeatmeat it sounds like he obsessed over his health and food choices, yet was extremely unhealthy. What do you see as possible explanations for this phenomenon?

  28. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Laura,

    Too little fat and protein and an avoidance of calcium-fortified soy milk and supplements.

  29. mark Says:

    Yes! Getting enough fat was one of the things that was most difficult for me when I first became vegan, and I always felt like total crap when I didn’t. Thank the Fates for avocados, nuts, coconut milk ice cream, and french fries. “Health conscious” vegans who avoid all that fat must be miserable!

  30. Zoa Says:

    Word about the fat; my experience was the same as Mark’s, plus I did a six-month experiment in about the middle of my twelve years of veganism where I went as fat free as I could. Some people may thrive on very low fat veganism but not me. I felt deprived and unwell and experienced strange cravings. But once I got the hang of using healthy fats (and yes, even some not so healthy ones!), everything was fine and has continued so. Everything in moderation, but you can eat a lot more of the stuff Mark describes when you’re not *also* eating fatty meat, cheese, and dairy.

  31. Joa Says:

    I’ve followed some of the ex-vegan stories AND follow up reactions and reflections from vegan bloggers. One thing strikes me: much discussion quickly turns to issues about nutrition. Did ex-vegan A really make sure to get B12 supplements while vegan and if not, couldn’t that be the cause of the problem? Was ex-vegan B in the grip of exaggerated beliefs about the health benefits of vegan diets? And so on.

    Those topics are of course very important. Communicating helpful, evidence based, no-hype nutritional information about veganism like Jack does here is key. But it seems equally important to devote time and thought to social-psychological aspects here. (I of course get that this is a nutrition oriented blog, I’m making a more general reflection here.)

    Being vegan means taking a stance and it transforms many aspects of ones daily life, some very sublty. It turns practices that for many others are almost invisible, something that just is taken as given without reflection, into issues and hard choices and points of discussion. What was before just lunch with co-workers now might become a value issue, and perhaps a thorny discussion. Value issues suddenly crop up in a lot of everyday social interactions. You sometimes meet people who go into hyper-defensive mode and need strategies and time and energy to work such things out. Such new aspects of interactions with strangers, co-workers and friends and family take time, energy and requires thinking and testing. That is hard and does not always work which can take a toll on you. Sometimes you want to speak up but hold back because the time and energy isn’t there or the context blocks productive conversations. We hold back to not make ourselves “impossible” in various contexts. Holding things in can be tough though. Add to all that constant subjection to powerful cultural traditions, institutions and commercial messages that no one can avoid completely. Watch any movie, read any newspaper, walk through any mall – and see ads for meat, eating the bodies of animal framed in positive ways.

    All this can of course generate psychological tension, and for some it becomes too much. It could happen to anyone. One can begin to doubt ones values, feel disconnected from practices and people and struggle to find a good way to reconnect while not pausing ones central values. Such factors can also interact with general human psychological vulnerabilites like temporary depression that many people (vegan or not) endure.

    So I think it is very, VERY understandable that some fall out of veganism given the current state of the societies we actually live our daily lives in.

    When some (ex-)vegan say that I just “had to” or “needed” to eat some meat now and then and claim that doing so gave an immediate sensation of “energy” or “comfort” throughout the body then I think that what is going on calls out as loud as loud can be for social psychological, rather than nutritional, explanation. Because nutritional effects are simply not that fast. But psychological reactions are.

    I think we need need much more social-psychological research on aspects of daily life as a vegan in a non-vegan world. We could learn a lot from feminist and HBTQ literature here on how to build community and how to empower ourselves for daily vegan life. Much of that happens already on and off the internet, but I think must of us (at least myself) time and again underestimate the need for that. There are excellent books with advice for lifelong activists. We also need many more writers with with advice for lifelong NON-ACTIVIST vegans. Books, blogs and articles sharing stories, experiences, setbacks and comebacks about our lives might be more important than we often think they are.

  32. Christina Arasmo Beymer Says:

    http://quasi-vegan.blogspot.com/2010/12/major-importance-of-iodine-in-vegan-and.html

    Many of the symptoms that ex-vegans have, besides B12, I think can be attributed to lack of fat or low fat and going raw and not getting iodine and also, I think, vitamin D and how that works with cholesterol, that some people need meat (or at least they think they do) and that is pretty much the same thing (thought and need). Plus, I also think we are all not clones of Donald Watson. We don’t have a magic 8 ball, a way of seeing how genetics plays a part and also whether or not these people have good gut bacteria and healthy intestines. There’s so many, many reasons why. When the China Study is touted as the Bible for the One Diet That Rules them All (which there is no such thing) and then when a vegan gets sick, their entire construct gets destroyed. It’s like their Guru (or Beloved Diet) has falling from grace. No joke. It’s a major mind (you know what). Anyway, I will be writing about it in the near future.

    So instead of having vegan be synonymous with health, it needs to be better defined. And instead of it being synonymous with morality and ethics, both of which manifest in the mind, it needs to be synonymous with empathy and reduced suffering, not Jainism, purity, or some bunch of cultists.

    The “vegans” throwing chili pie in the face of Lierre Keith in San Francisco made no points for animals, they actually caused more people to NEVER consider going vegan.

  33. Joa Says:

    “And instead of it being synonymous with morality and ethics, both of which manifest in the mind, it needs to be synonymous with empathy and reduced suffering, not Jainism, purity, or some bunch of cultist.”

    That seem to take it to far. Veganism is a moral stance. It is the ethic that animals have fundamental individual rights. We should never back down from that. In practice we might have to accept small and temporary setbacks but the goals and ideals remain strong as ever. There is no difference between animal and human rights in that regard. Amnesty are not “cultists” for having the goal of an absolute ban of torture of humans everywhere forever. They know that it is a long term goal and that their work will have set-backs and compromises. But the goal remains clear.

    One of the many problems with Lierre Keith’s book is that she very perniciously muddles those two issues. She falls into bad health and then conjures up the flawed notion that it is in principle fine to kill and harm others.

  34. CAB Says:

    If you read the account at LetThemEatMeat, you’ll see that Rhys had eczema and eczema could be exacerbated by the vegan staples like soy and wheat gluten. Also eczema sufferers “may be unable to digest their food properly, due to low levels of stomach acid. When this is combined with an over-permeable or ‘leaky’ gut wall, undigested protein molecules can find their way into the blood stream and trigger inflammatory reactions such as eczema.”

    You’ll have to research for yourself since I’m not able to post the links to the sources. But http://www.leakygut.co.uk/ can help you a little.

    Plus google “fat helps absorb nutrients”. WebMD has some great info about that.

  35. CAB Says:

    Cultists is how it appears to others and pies in the face gives more publicity to Lierre Keith, plus it’s just wrong to pie her. Tacky.

    Morals and ethics are synonymous with religion, they are terms mostly used in a religious context. When a person approaches this just from that perspective, they don’t typically last. They are like a son being “guilted into” something by his mommy. It has no long term effect and it makes people resentful. When the vegan diet and lifestyle is approached with empathy, seeing yourself in others, then that lasts. To awaken that type of empathy in others is not by throwing pies in the face of others who don’t agree or by using terms like morals and ethics. And sometimes not even equating animals with humans since most people eat meat, and most people don’t eat humans. You have to help awaken the empathy with people where they are, not where you are.

  36. Joa Says:

    Hi CAB, one last reply. Your view on the terms morals and ethics are very far from how they are standardly used in mainstream academic settings and also among people in general. Look up any academic textbook in ethics and you will get a different picture. For example Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy.
    There is also as far as I know no empirical evidence that some “empathy” approach is more effective compared to an “ethics” approach. Of course if you give a completely new definition of “ethics” as throwing food in someones face then sure, but that is just a redefinition and shows nothing problematic with ethics per se. Many ethical theories consider empathy important. For example, utilitarianism tell us to take every sentient beings well-being into account when considering what action is right, and trying to use that for decisions in concrete cases requires empathy and imagination. I’m out, cheers.

  37. CAB Says:

    Ethics on paper appears very logical, but how it’s practiced differs from person to person. On paper lots of things look great, communism, how a dress will look, a diet, and so forth, but when applied, it’s unfair, it hangs wrong, and it’s lacking… The idea of an average man, woman, or child in biology or mentally is great for building a structure or system, but when it’s applied it varies different in practice, interpretation, and so forth. Here’s how I see things and how empathy is more powerful than ethics:

    Right and wrong are based on perception, even if there is a consensus of perception, it’s still perception. It is wrong to steal, but stealing to feed your family if you have no other means, is actually good. Right and wrong come from duality. There is no wrong if there is no right and there is no dark if there is no light. So it’s neither right or wrong to use animals and eat them. It’s only based on each person’s perception of it. Obviously since most people have no issue with eating meat and using animals, it’s perfectly okay for most people. That’s why right and wrong / ethics won’t take the AR movement far. The only way is to move beyond right and wrong to where love/empathy reside. That’s where a person starts seeing herself in the animals, she reaches out with her heart to their hearts. It’s like the golden rule but not superficial, not words. It requires no mental gymnastics, it’s just there. If you were abused as a child and you witnessed a child being abused, you’d naturally feel sincere empathy for that child as if that child was you. There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t have that for animals, most people don’t even have that for their fellow humans. In fact it’s easier to have it for animals, they can’t hurt your feelings or piss you off.

    Since I can’t jump into a person and have them not eat animals or use their products, the best way is more of Jeffrey Masson, Tribe of Heart, Photos of farmed animals looking great side by side a horrible photo, speaking from the heart. My husband went vegan in October, this was the day or two after he saw a photo at a Gene Baur talk here. The photo was of a cow who broke her neck because she struggled so hard while they were taking her baby away. That’s how hard she struggled, she broke her neck and was left to die. Really, if I could have, I would have broken the neck of those people and I would have been imprisoned with shitty vegan food. Plus, violence begets violence. I’ve been a vegan for many years simply because I identified with a mother cow. The mind is great for ethics, but ethics can change, the heart is pretty steadfast in my experience.

  38. Lisa A. Says:

    Just came across another one – http://realfoodrealshelbs.com/2010/11/08/welcome/#comments It is probably not news any more that there are so many people like that. But it still makes me sad reading these blogs.
    http://labellevegan.blogspot.com/

  39. Reader Says:

    “If one is doing it for the animals then how is it deprivation?”

    If you don’t care what happens to your health because you care about The Animals *instead* of caring about both animals and your health…

    …then you could end up feeling too sick to care about *anything* and eventually become an ex-vegan like at http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/386123924/the-history-of-my-diet

  40. Reader Says:

    “To help animals is about progress, not perfection. It’s just not possible to make all people all vegan.”

    Exactly – and even if all human beings went 100% vegan, a lot of other animals (our equals according to the anti-speciesists) would keep killing and eating other animals, so even every human going vegan would still be only harm reduction instead of harm elimination. :/

  41. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Reader,

    > Exactly – and even if all human beings went 100% vegan, a lot of other animals (our equals according to the anti-speciesists) would keep killing and eating other animals, so even every human going vegan would still be only harm reduction instead of harm elimination. :/

    True, but not a persuasive argument. By that logic we should also not try to stop any humans from suffering since we cannot stop all humans from suffering. Murders should therefore be allowed to happen since we can’t stop all murders.

    > our equals according to the anti-speciesists

    Not true – anti-speciesists consider characteristics of individuals, just not their species. To use a silly example, but one that helps illustrate the point, anti-speciesists are in agreement that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to drive cars; not because they aren’t human, but rather because they can’t pass a drivers license test. Their species is irrelevant.

  42. Reader Says:

    “That’s where a person starts seeing herself in the animals, she reaches out with her heart to their hearts. ”

    …and the results may vary depending on *which* of the animals she sees herself in.

    Someone might start seeing herself in herbivores like cows and chickens, someone else might start seeing herself in omnivores like chimpanzees and pandas (who can eat and digest carrion in the wild, they’re not *that* distant from other bears!), etc.

  43. Reader Says:

    “anti-speciesists are in agreement that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to drive cars; not because they aren’t human, but rather because they can’t pass a drivers license test. ”

    To say that a dog can’t pass a driver’s license test *without* saying it just because of his or her species, you’d have to first give him or her the driver’s license test and see him or her fail it.

  44. Reader Says:

    > Exactly – and even if all human beings went 100% vegan, a lot of other animals (our equals according to the anti-speciesists) would keep killing and eating other animals, so even every human going vegan would still be only harm reduction instead of harm elimination. :/

    “True, but not a persuasive argument. By that logic we should also not try to stop any humans from suffering since we cannot stop all humans from suffering. Murders should therefore be allowed to happen since we can’t stop all murders.”

    ?????

    That wasn’t trying to persuade you to not be vegan in the first place, just to remember that humans going vegan is only harm reduction instead of harm prevention.

    By that logic we should also try to help stop many humans from suffering and remember that we cannot stop all humans from suffering.

    It’s a keep-things-in-perspective thing. Who’s more likely to burn out and give up, someone who already knows that he’s just reducing harm or someone who’s all “YES I WILL STOP ALLLLLLLLL THE HARM!!!!!” then only later realizes “OMG I still can’t stop carnivorous wild animals/the last 0.1% of murderers/etc”?

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