Dealing with Anger and Angry Vegans

May 19, 2014

Aristotle

 

My dear, dear, dear agent of change!

(I was feeling a little fragile and I'm really glad you're here. 

Last week on Facebook, I posted a tidbit about Jennifer Lopez going vegan—it was just a bit of pop sugar water-cooler-chit-chat stuff. Not important.

Well, the post was met with a venom I haven't experienced since the angry media frenzy around my vegan children's books! Except this time, the spew wasn't coming from meat-eaters, but from vegans, furious that J Lo was getting the spotlight when her "veganism" isn't being extended to her clothing or cosmetics line, both of which are apparently full of animals. 

I get it. She profits off the backs of animals in a way that eclipses any positive diet choice she could make. Yet the cussing! The name-calling! The condescension, as if I didn't know the difference between health and ethical veganism. I've seen the worst hateration, and these comments compete.

I've long trained to make peace with online comments, but I felt so repulsed by the harsh negativity, the nastiness toward me, and toward each other, that for a split second I felt like shutting down the whole page of 80,000+ fans and getting out of this "community" if this is who we are. As big as the "angry vegan" reputation is, I'd never seen anything like this—a hateful line drawn by people who live vegan against those who eat vegan, and even against those who celebrate anyone else that begins to eat vegan! 

Reading angry comments, I grew angrier. Not at the outrage at J Lo's other animal product endeavors—which is fair—and not at impatience itself—but at the hateful impatience. It was injudicious, carnivorous behavior, and I expect better of this community. Celebrities are not all-knowing superhumans and most of us do not give up leather or change our careers in our first few days of veganism. And no one is immune to being picked apart if that's what we want to do (even ink can contain animal products—do you own pens?), but I don't think creating over-the-top ugliness amongst ourselves, or toward others is effective activism.  

Bowing to the point, however (because I do appreciate a philosophical argument and semantics, too), I amended the Facebook post language from "vegan" to "plant-based." I didn't know there were so many hardcore vegans on my page. I added a note to them: "Where have you been? I hope you take this much action on the REAL good news I post from now on." No one likes to think of themselves this way, but positive news about animals never gets as much traction as any news about celebrities.

The anger stuck, though, and I stewed in my upset for several hours, like a child. When I grew up later that evening, I laid on the floor to "train" and rid myself of this deeply bad feeling about nasty people, a nasty world. 

Let me state my position on these "angry vegans" for whom small steps are never enough (this is me on the floor, slowing my pulse):

The anger is justified, and I always say so in interviews. There are no bigger zealots than industries who use animals. If the masses truly knew the extent of the destruction and abuse involved in producing animal products, their critique would be directed at the industries, not at "militant" vegans. 

Anger can be effective—not when it is raw, but crafted and molded with care by its speaker. One of my heroes, Gary Yourofsky, gets called an "angry vegan," yet he's one of the most effective activists in the world, converting thousands. His words can be tough, but his answers are always air-tight, logical, and I've seen him, with hands clasped, literally beg a meat-eater for compassion. If that's anger, it's been polished with love.

Of course J Lo isn't vegan with a capital V, and she's no hero for the real cause. But she's just chosen a positive new practice that's the only one likely to ever get her to change her businesses. I wish we could throw a media blitz celebrating everyone who decides to eat vegan. Animal agriculture is a major supporting beam in the architecture of animal product industries. If it were to topple around the world, regardless of the motives, it would take many other atrocities down with it. And J Lo influnces lots of fans around the world. 

Whether with peace or anger, nothing any of us ever do in our lifetimes will be enough for the crimes committed against animals and the earth—I feel urgent and impatient and angry over this at times, too. But I try to deal with my anger internally so that it is released effectively. I remember that everyone is doing their best at the moment until there's a revelation that makes them do better. That revelation is more likely to occur the more the word vegan is normalized. So I am happy for any positive mention in the media, whose machinists generally throw away press releases about animals, let alone ethical veganism. If it weren't for news about health veganism, we'd have almost no coverage at all.   

Flat on my back, I turned my attention toward thoughts opposite of anger. I prayed, to no god in particular, for our effectiveness as humans, for the earth to be spared the poison of everyone's anger, for the heart-health of a sick acquaintance, and for an anti-GMO layman-leader friend who is running for mayor of Kauai, the Hawaiian island increasingly poisoned by the largest biotech corporations in existence. 

The anger dissolved, first into tears, and then a kind of serenity about simply continuing my work.

With some intention paid, we can be transformed by our anger. We can practice managing its presence within us so that we are not the vessel of this poison, but a filter that becomes a remedy for the earth.

I recommend laying on the floor.

With love,

Ruby 

Thoughts? Leave me a comment below:

 

Mother's Day: Mamas, Extrasensory Wisdom, and FREE Chocolate

May 5, 2014

mothers day chocolate

 

Happy, happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas (whether to kids or kittens) for you enduring love, which reproduces the day, every day, for those who depend on you.


I think Mother's Day is truly relevant to our movement.

A reverence for mothers is inherent in veganism, the abstinence from meat and dairy essentially a living prayer for cows, sows, and hens, in whose bellies and on whose backs the entire animal agriculture system weighs.

Conscious of it or not, when we avoid all animal products, we pay daily tribute to the mother archetype—the nurturer, the maker, the mender, the powerful and loving source of life. In doing so, male or female, we make our physical bodies channels for these characteristics, too. 

Women, however, are undeniably the driving force behind the world's environmental, health, and animal rights movements. At every such conference I've attended, women dominate in attendance, as exhibitors, and in leadership roles.

We aren't tapping into any love force that men can't access—it's that we are, at a cellular level, wired to think locally and globally.

The female brain contains more connective pathways, "white matter," than the male's. Our thoughts, decisions, and plans arise after pulling information from a wider range of brain centers than males do. We dip more into memory and the spiritual and emotional centers of the brain, where we perceive what many cultures around the world consider extrasensory wisdom. 

We don't need to know why we care, though, about animals, the environment, and people that we can't see—just that we indeed do. And that the sustenance of Earth will rely on all of our protective mother-natures. 

Alone and collectively, mamas channel the force to sustain. We may not inhabit all the earth and its forests, oceans, deserts, and savannas, but they inhabit us. Their presence inside our minds is all but tangible. 

Happy Mother's Day, Week, Month, Year.  May the force be with us all!

Love,

Ruby

*** Chocolate Giveaway! ***

Righteously Raw, one of my favorite chocolate companies, is kindly going to send one lucky winner a sampling of all their bite-size raw vegan chocolates—including my favorite, the Rose Bar. I mean...chocolate and roses in one?! Mother's Day every day! 

Just answer this:

What's one thing your mama taught you about being kind to animals or nature? 

Leave a response in the comments area below! A winner will be emailed by Friday morning (keep an eye out!). Have a fantastic celebration on Sunday, your gift will arrive after—we wanted to extend your celebration into the week!

NOTE: The contest is over, but use code MDAY14 at Righteously Raw to save 20% off your purchase. 

Truck Accident Sends Frozen Pigs Flying

April 2, 2014

factorypigs
Photo: Kicki Nilsson/TT

Bacon never really shows up. Yes, curly, bubbling strips frying in a hot pan are what's sold on TV, some restaurants even risk a smiling logo of a cartoon pig on their signage. But bacon never shows up as dead pigs, let alone frozen dead pig carcasses strewn across a highway after being dislodged from their hooks inside a delivery truck.

In an accident in Sweden last week, the roof of a carrier truck caved in from the weight of slaughtered pigs, ripping the truck in half and sending the bodies of 200 pigs flying. Bystanders were, of course, shocked and disturbed, while cleanup took over 6 hours.

Anders Wallin, a local policeman, stated that it was "likely" that the bodies would be destroyed due to damage from the accident, but we all know that the animal agriculture industry hates to lose money, squeezing every cent they can out of their cull. My guess is the bodies will be sold to any of the hundreds of industries that use pig products.

The difference between the idea of meat and the reality of meat is indeed shocking, only proving that most people aren't the omnivores they think themselves to be.

For most people, the hooks and skin (which looks like our own), the exposed bones and ripped flesh, taken in one sight, trigger a sense of alarm, a sense of wrongfulness. But this is what it really means for once-living bodies to be treated like "pieces of meat."

The accident, literally ripping away a veil, only reveals the callousness of the norm. As gross as this news is, I am thankful any time the animal agriculture industry is exposed.

Did it take witnessing the reality of meat and dairy production for you to become vegan? Do you think any witnesses of this accident gave up meat on the spot? Leave a comment below:

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