2.5
January 5, 2010

Animals are not “meat.”

Shouldn’t we advocate solely for veganism?

Another personally riveting conversation came out of our recent Wool may be Natural—but it’s Cruel post over on Facebook.

Here’s some of the Facebook comments:

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Lisa
Thanks for writing that up, Gary. elephant is a progressive site, but they totally miss the animal/compassion connection, so I am happy to see they were open to posting this.
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Waylon Lewis
Not sure where you get that, Lisa: If you search, say, “PETA” or “vegetarian” or “free range” or “rescue” etc you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of posts on the subject of relating to our animal friends more humanely. Why wouldn’t we, or anyone, be “open” to raising issues of compassion, or lack thereof!
If we can do better, please do help us—you’re more than welcome to contribute.
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Lisa
Hi Wayne, I have been an avid follower of elephant from issue one, and now online. While elephant addresses many worthy issues, veganism is hardly ever discussed as an option. Yes, you do discuss factory farms and the environmental issues that follow, but the suggestions are usually, if not always, to eat so called “free range” or humane meat  under the guise that these options are cruelty free or even environmental and sustainable, when the reality is that they are none of those.

As to your question of “Why wouldn’t we, or anyone, be ‘”open” to raising issues of compassion, or lack thereof’, well, that is a loaded question, but I would wage a guess that it has to do with not wanting to alienate one’s supporters and sponsors.

Thanks for reading, and the good work that elephant does do.
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Waylon Lewis
Lisa, thanks for your reply. Again, please do a search for ‘vegan,’ you’ll see we do a ton of posts…and again, please do write for us, we’re only as strong as the voices that make up our community.

Finally, I think you overestimate our sponsorship–we’re hardly paid for by anyone, right now, by readers or advertisers, it’s much tougher than when we were a magazine.

You got me on one point: I do value effecting the eating habits of meat-eaters as well as the small percentage of Americans who are veggie or vegan. If they can go with more humanely-raised meats, while it’s still killing obviously, at least it’s not quite so…horrific.

Hundreds of posts touch on, or focus on veganism: and I do hope you’ll add one, as did Gary when he commented re wool cruelty a few weeks back! http://www.elephantjournal.com/?s=vegan
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Bea
Waylon… Hi there! I don’t want to nit-pick: I understand that every little step counts in some way. But: just to be clear for accuracy—so that non-vegans own exactly what they are doing—can we not call them humanely raised “meats”? That sort of seals their fate, when they are called “meat” from the git-go… Just saying.
Thanks.
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Waylon Lewis

[You’re] not nit-picking, Bea. I for one completely agree, and it’s an important distinction —we’re talking about sentient beings!—but it touches on my point, that at least half the USA could not care less what we call “meat”…and it’s those people who, if we can get them to at least switch to free range (even though it’s hardly free enough) we could begin to lessen the daily unholy suffering of our otherwise out-of-sight out-of-mind animal friends.

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Bea
I realize there will be “incremental” change. I know too that less suffering is better than more…But I do fear that advocating “happy meat” does encourage some to continue eating animals.

As an example, in one of the videos someone mentioned that the breed of sheep that doesn’t have the extra skin is a better alternative…to “wool”. And that might be so, but it just enables people to continue using “wool” and “sheep” that much longer.

I know there are no easy answers…I just really dislike calling “humanely” raised animals “humanely raised ‘meat.'” You just can’t “raise” “meat”—you must kill animals for “meat.” And I don’t want to ever lose that distinction.

BTW – I don’t know if even half the people care about who they eat…Seems like 90% could give a hoot. 🙁

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Lisa
Thanks again, Wayne. Again, I appreciate all the good work that elephant does in educating the community in so many wonderful ways. As a 25 year vegan and animal advocate, and as an avid reader of elephant from day one (and i mean cover to cover when it was a magazine and now when I receive my email newsletters), I have often felt like the recipes , articles, endorsements via products or restaurants, and even the small number of sponsorships you receive, are heavily animal product oriented.

Perhaps it is just our view points, as you clearly feel like veganism has been treated fairly. Of course I very much appreciate your willingness to discuss and be so open. It is not as common as you may think(:
Warm regards,
Lisa
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Waylon Lewis
Well, I’m vegetarian, I wish everyone were vegan or vegetarian or at least ate “humanely-raise meats”—I know, animals murdered for our pleasure!—I’m trying basically as a green-minded media source to educate about more mindful alternatives for all of us.
As [Bea] said, maybe 90% of Americans don’t want to be either vegetarian or vegan, so educating them away from factory farms, agribusiness, is an urgent cause.

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