As I have mentioned previously, I'm vegetarian and am currently reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals. It's an enlightening read, and definitely a modern day, and American, version of Singer's Animal Liberation.
So I've also been interested in what farming practices are used in Australia, as Eating Animals say 99% of eaten animals in America are sourced from factory farms.
I've been thinking of asking and interviewing farming groups and doing a bit of research into it over the semester break. So if anyone out there knows some juicy tid-bit that might help me on my merry way please do spill.
And now to the title of this blog's point.
Yesterday ABC's The Drum, Marieke Hardy ranted about Ruby Rose being 'veganese', a vegan who eats cheese and fish.
Unfortunately, however conscious you are with your grocery, food or general purchases, someone or thing will be harmed or mistreated in the process of it being made and transported to the store. Who do you blame? Capitalism? Industry? Yourself?
Simply put, who knows.
As much as I try to avoid gelatin, non-fair trade products, palm oil, nestle, resin, Coca-Cola, Unilever and any other company that harms other animals, the earth or humans, it's a damn difficult thing to do. I live with two vegans, both of whom smoke and wear leather. I have Doc Martens, but I buy second-hand leather only. I try and buy vegetarian cheese and free-range eggs. We're all walking contradictions of our own or others morals or ideologies.
Once anyone moves away from being vegan to, say eating cheese or fish, they have to find a way of justifying it to themselves, as well as their herbivore counterparts. "I need more Iron" may be legitimate but you can get those nutrients from other foods.
But shouldn't Rose and other high-profile vego or vegan celebrities be applauded for getting these issues into the public sphere?
Fellow The Drum contributor Helen Razer made a comment on Hardy's article, which is resounding, and at the heart of why saying you're vegan, or vegetarian can quite often mean the meat-eaters in the room will immediately shut you out:
"To tout veganism as a cure-all for the world's ills or a form of moral superiority is both (a) misleading and (b) alienating."
It's not about superiority, it's about informing people and ensuring they know what they are eating, how it was produced and that they are okay with their choices. Some people's morals won't give a damn, and others will change their choices.
That, I think, is a better way of conversion.
Think about it like this: If you are an atheist, and a Christian tries to convert you, in the street, at a church, wherever, you would block them out or ignore them.
But if you were agnostic, engaging in a conversation about God, faith and belief with a Christian is, I believe, a way of enhancing or learning about that certain religion.
You are not going to win people over with isolation, confrontation or force. They first have to be open and willing to learn for any-such shift or change to occur.