Reader Comments (13)

Glynn James

You converted me =)

Glynn James

It may have taken over a decade...


8^) 8^) 8^)


I'm curious, not trying to troll...what do you think of individual meat eaters? Pity? Horror? Abetting of murder?

Do you avoid having people in your life who are not vegan?

Not asking you to speak for all vegans, but just as yourself.


I appreciate this, Snitch. And I really struggled with it when I first became active (non-non-preachy). And of course, there are tons of non-vegans in my life, including almost all of my family. Where I finally came down was: I don't judge anyone, least of all my friends and loved ones. But I was just no longer willing to call black white. Torture and killing of the innocent and defenseless is torture and killing. And I can't even claim to regret if this makes those who cause it uncomfortable to hear. They really ought to feel uncomfortable. (And, finally, yeah, I spend almost all my time with vegans now. In an insane world, it's incredibly pleasant to have a bubble of sanity, and camaraderie.) Love, Boss Man


The other reason it's inappropriate (if not quite impossible) to judge is that (virtually) none of us were born vegan. We've all been there, been those people, unconsciously committed those same acts, and for years on end. (This comes up a lot in activism: "Everyone you see here used to be exactly where you're at right now.") So it is, as a matter of fact, emphatically, a journey we're all on. It's just unbelievably critical that we some progress! For the survival of our species and the planet, yeah, but mainly for every innocent and defenseless individual irretrievably trapped in this staggeringly mammoth system of seemingly infinite suffering and death.


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Epictetus said "You become what you give your attention to...if you don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will." I would add, those we are around (and if we are so lucky enough as to have the agency/ability)--those we CHOOSE to spend our time with, also shape our lives.

The transition to Activist is one I admire. (I know you're not doing any of this for admiration). It's one I respect as you/others are working to make this brief moment of our interconnected existence better. Deeds certainly matter more than words when it comes to any moral philosophy.




Meditations. Marcus Aurelius
Book 8.32:
You must compose your life action by action, and be satisfied if each action achieves its own end as best can be: and no one can prevent you from that achievement.

'But there will be some external obstacle.' No obstacle, though, to justice, self-control, and reason.

'But perhaps some other source of action will be obstructed.' Well, gladly accept the obstruction as it is, make a judicious change to meet the given circumstance, and another action will immediately substitute and fit into the composition of your life as discussed.


In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote:

"According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It's not passive—it's not empathy alone— but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness)."


Sounds like you could write my next two books (both, uniquely, nonfiction titles) for me. Certainly sounds like you've been spending as much time with the Stoics lately as I have. And, in any case, thanks for, not for the first-time, making a dispatch I care about one of the most commented, thus more discoverable. :)


I have to admire it.

I remember way back in K-8 there was a girl who was vegetarian (I don't think vegan was in common usage back then). Even then, the treatment of animals troubled me.

My wife and I have raised chickens previously. It was 4 of them for egg laying. Unfortunately they were all hybrids, bred to be little machines quickly disposed of. In our care, they all passed by age 3. We didn't slaughter them, but let them live their lives in retirement, but they definitely had more ailments that last year.

This year we are trying again with an heirloom breed. Neither of us has it in us to kill them if they are done laying, so we will likely end up with a good batch of hens living longer in retirement.

Similarly, while I can understand hunting, I've never done it and man, the world would need to be going to heck in a handbasket for it to be something I force myself to do.

I really don't like the mass industrialization and centralization that has gone on in the food industries. Having your food production closer to home lends more of a chance to understand where it comes from. It would lead to smaller individual farms which would give more of a chance for something resembling better treatment. (A chicken grow factory burnt down a couple years back around here. They didn't unlock the doors or have a way to let them escape. Something on order of 150K birds died, the smoke was so thick it showed on weather radar. WTF man.)
I think being closer to the source would help change consumption habits.

We have a good size chunk of property out in the country. Ideally we want to move out there, garden...and what to do about animals? We like chickens for the eggs. They also do a great job on bugs and produce some fantastic manure. Past that though, we aren't sure of the ethics of any of it. Have a mini cow or goat for milk? Milk and cheese are nice, buuuut that means separating a baby from her mother. Raise them for meat (see hunting above)? Even if we outsourced the culling, we know what we did. "Hey there Mr. Young Bull! Yes, you are just entering the prime of your life. About that..." Same with pigs.

So...yeah. We have cut down our meat intake, that's for sure. It's not gone, but both my wife and I realize we end up supporting a cruel industry when we do. So, I dunno. We're getting closer I guess.


Glen – thanks very much for your comments. Thanks also for your compassion, and provisional efforts to live in accordance with it. Just three quick responses:

1) There's absolutely no way to provide the quantity of meat the world demands, never mind at the prices they demand it at, other than by intensive, industrial animal farming. (That's why 95% of the meat in the UK comes from industrial factory farms – and 99% in the US... where 2/3 of people claim to buy so-called 'ethically sourced' meat... And fully HALF of the world's land is already devoted to animal farming, either grazing or growing feed crops.)

2) Even if there were any way to do it, as you note, it still ends with an act of violence – a knife in the neck, at a tender age.

3) The simple solution to your dilemma is to go vegan and live cruelty-free – there's never been a better or easier time for it, all manner of beautiful plant-based milks, cheeses (and meats) are readily available, and I've been happily and healthily living this way 21 years (and look and feel about 21 years younger than my actual age of 52)... and then you can:

3a) rescue abused and traumatised chickens, pigs, and calfs from slaughterhouses and factory farms, let them run around in the grass and see the sun for the first time in their lives, and enjoy their truly winning, charming, and affectionate company. :)

Thanks again for your thoughts, and time writing in – and for thinking about the animals.

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