Monday, May 23, 2005

How veggie are we?

We got an anonymous comment on the blog today that's worth sharing:
"Btw: I would like to know, do you mind a helping hand (links/articles...etc) from a non-veggie himself? I know I sound like a full-time hypocrite, but I do care for torture of animals, and whenever I find a hungry dog staring at me outside a bakery or a shop, I do feed em sometimes....
Just want to know the editorial stand of this blog. Is this a strictly black-n-white blog ? or any help/pointers you get from shades of grey is welcome ? You might want to write up a post on it, and keep it permanently in your sidebar, so as to allay such fears. Coz most often than not, such forums rapidly turn into a sharp Us-v/s-Them divide, and soon enough you'll see non-veggies - even if they are reading this blog - refraining from sharing their thoughts or input."

I know Uma will want to come in on this, but here's my two bits. First off, the editorial policy: this blog is open to anyone who cares about animals, regardless of where you are on the learning curve. It's not open to carnivores who want to lecture vegetarians on the necessity of eating meat, it's not open to vegetarians who want to lecture carnivores on how meat is murder. It is open to different points of view, however, so long as you keep it polite.
When I started it off a few months ago, I was deeply uncomfortable about whether I qualified to do this at all. I've been a practising and very happy carnivore for 30-odd years, and am becoming a slow convert to vegetarianism, with Uma and other friends offering me a helping hand on the way. (Uma, on the other hand, is a committed vegetarian, but she might want to tell you about her decisions herself.) The reason I decided to go ahead and do this was simple: no one else was doing this, and I believed that if you do care about animals, your progress down the path to enlightenment has to begin somewhere. This is one of the places where it begins for me; if I'm still eating meat a year down the line, go ahead and call me a hypocrite.
Two things: one is the fact that if you do care about animals and think they should have rights, sooner or later you might end up not wanting to eat them. In my case, I'm a fairly reluctant herbivore. I love vegetables, but no, my stomach does not automatically turn at the sight of a plate of butter chicken. But everybody seems to have their personal moment of truth. For a friend of mine who gave up eating meat a few years back, it came because he used to follow chicken trucks--the ones with crates of chickens stuffed into the back on their way to the market--on his way to work, and he decided that he didn't want to be part of the slaughterhouse cycle any more. For me, it's realising that there was something schizophrenic about being willing to eat goats and chickens whom I don't know but absolutely unwilling to eat cats and dogs whom I see as friends. I'm still an occasional carnivore, but it's getting harder to eat guilt-laden meals!
And two, I don't think that the animal rights movement should be about lecturing people; making them aware of the connections between the actions they take in their lives and how it affects other species, yes, but it makes me feel terrible that anyone who wants to make a start on working with animals or working for animal rights should feel that they're not pure enough to qualify.
On this blog, you have the benefit of two perspectives. I'm the unenlightened beginner working my way up the learning curve; Uma, on the other hand, has gone through her own process of learning already. There's a sometime carnivore and a practising vegetarian here, and we'd both like to think that food choices are one part, but only a part, of the entire animal rights movement. So: no attacks on Maneka Gandhi or PETA, please, no sniping at vegans, and welcome.


Blogger uma said...

hi... thanks for this, hurree. i'll add my thoughts too, in a while.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Well said. I'll add my one cent. Becoming is more important than being. Anon, you're already on your way. It perhaps all starts with sympaythy for other living creatures. You eventually may come to realize that the pig in his metal cage suffers like the dog, and you have the power to end his suffering without spending a dime. Best of luck.


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