Its been 20 days now since Veganuary ended and I began consuming animal products again after a month without them. How do I feel? Not so great.
Aside from the physical aspects, its my moral code that is most afflicted.
In the first few days I consumed only some animal products. But quickly convenience took over, pure and simple laziness. I didnt really miss many of these foods. I wasnt eager to eat chicken again. But I did.
I have always been an all or nothing kind of girl. It was easier for me to be vegan for a whole month than it was for me to be vegan twice a week. All the issues I wrote about, all the horrors and injustices, forgotten. Washed away in a sea of ranch dressing….
I heard a TED talk recently and one thing the speaker said, which really stood out to me was ” familiarity is the gateway drug to empathy”. Simply put, the closer something hits home for you, the more you can relate. But I think it goes beyond that.
We often assume to know how we would deal with certain situations in our lives, should they arise. An unplanned pregnancy for example. Almost everyone has a opinion on the subject of abortion. Could they do it? Is it morally wrong?
I am not opening up that can of worms, but it is an example of where our morality may bend to fit our needs. Or maybe we just bend, morality intact.
A member of my family is currently incarcerated. He did something bad to someone else. A lot of people would say he is a monster. But to me he is not. Because he is my family, because of my familiarity to him, I could see this story differently. I could empathize. I could see how his illness related to my own. But does this change my morals? Once I realized I could empathize with him , suddenly the bar had shifted. Was there really good and bad people? Or just good and bad acts? And who decides?
Murder is wrong. And yet, we as a country, as a species do it all the time. We kill in the name of war. We kill in the name of peace, we kill in the name of justice. We kill for revenge, for punishment.
Now, if you live in canada like me, you know we do not support the death penalty. But under the right circumstances, almost all of us could be driven to cry out for revenge. If someone hurt someone we loved. Or say, a school full of children. We would not sympathize with a child killer. We would want them dead, tortured or worse. But isnt that wrong?
Back to the subject of veganism. When I wasnt surrounding myself with it, I began to turn off or turn down the voice that told me killing and eating animals the way we do is wrong. I was able to turn on my ignorance because I fit my needs. Occasionally it would pop back up. A real trigger seems to be when people put some animals on a pedestal, and others on the chopping block. How we can love our pets like they are our own family, how they show us their personalities and individuality. And how we convince ourselves that it is not the same way with “farmed” animals. If I took one of those tiny tea cup piglets and tied it up, and locked it away, if I hurt it in any way, if I killed it, you would call the police on me. You would call me monster. If I kicked your dog, you might just punch me in the face.
But its different you say.
But is not really, is it? Its just bending our morals.