Can you buy meat and be vegan?

12 Oct

This is not me.

There’s plenty of feuds on the Internet about who is vegan and who is not. It can get ugly. I’m vegan because I don’t eat honey and you do. You’re not vegan because you wear leather and I don’t. And on and on. To the point that it’s tedious. To the point that I start to feel it does more harm than good because you risk scaring off people who are just trying it out. Who maybe have started eating vegan but still wear leather. While I agree that people who call themselves vegan but then post pictures of fast food veggie burgers that are widely known to be non-vegan on their Instagrams are annoying, I also tend to think that anyone who calls themselves vegan IS, within reason.

But then there’s another issue, and it’s one that bothers me, and like most things that bother me, I’ve managed to successfully push it to the back of my mind and not think about it. Until today. Because this god damn Vegan MoFo commitment means I need to write twenty posts this month!

This is not me either.

So here goes. I’m vegan. I don’t eat honey. I don’t eat bug stuff. I don’t wear leather. Or silk. BUT… I still buy meat for my family. Okay, well not actually meat. I’ve had some effect on my family and they’ve pretty much stopped eating what is usually called meat — beef, chicken, etc. However, they still eat fish. And eggs. And ice cream. And worse, sometimes when I go to the supermarket, I buy it for them. So am I still vegan?

I will say that since I went vegan for myself, I now spend the extra couple of bucks a dozen to get the eggs that are “pasture-raised” in the hope (perhaps naive) that these animals, while still probably leading an awful existence, are at least leading a better awful existence than the ones laying cheaper eggs. Again, I realize that I very well might be kidding myself. But I also buy sushi. And milk. And cheese. And I buy it for my family at restaurants, too. So am I still vegan?

Still not me.

I certainly think of myself as vegan now. And other people think I am because of what I won’t eat. But I’m still buying it. I’m still supporting it by buying it. I’m still sending money that props up the animals-for-food industry.

But that leads to another discussion, one I’ll save for another post, if only because of that dreaded twenty. Which is: how far do I push the rest of my family to change their ways?

11 Responses to “Can you buy meat and be vegan?”

  1. Eileen Anglin October 13, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I’m a vegan but will occasionally buy meat for family during the holiday season. But when I do, I spend the extra dollar and make sure it has the Certified Humane seal so that I too, am not a cog in that horrible wheel.

    Perhaps you can look into buying that kind of meat as well? This way, your not oiling the machinery that is factory farming and it’s abuses.

    Having said that, vegetarian, vegan, transitioning “whatever”, it’s important to remember that doing SOMETHING is better than none at all. Just do your best. I believe if we take that attitude towards everyone we would affect more change than brow beating people. Just do the best you can, every bit helps.

  2. eileenwhiterose October 13, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    p.s. Here is the link to Certified Humane

    • insufferablevegan October 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks for your comment and the link. I am mostly buying fish, eggs and milk for them and am also spending the extra dollars to get what I hope is products from animals not treated quite as awfully but most of the time I think I am just kidding myself.

  3. havegonevegan October 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Are you still vegan? Yep, if you self-identify as vegan, then vegan you are (but as you say, within reason). It reminds me a bit of the flack that bisexuals still sometimes get (more often from gay than straight folk), which I find odd because I would never presume to tell any self-identified LGBTQ person that they’re mistaken about who they are.

    • insufferablevegan October 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      I like your comparison. There’s a blog post I’ve been thinking of writing comparing some vegan issues to some gay issues and I think I will try and do it before VeganMoFo ends. Thanks for reading!

  4. Eli December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I definitely agree with the folks above about you being vegan. That said, I also buy meat sometimes (for my girlfriend when we go out to eat), so I am certainly biased. I feel like if I am not the one driving the use of animal products, I am still vegan.

    The only issue I’d say even comes close to being dicey about interfering with your veganness is the fact that you’re buying the non-vegan stuff for your kids (if they’re below the age of, say, 14 or so…) for the obvious reasons about you getting to tell them what you think is “best” for them. Now, I’ll say that this is an issue that I don’t know how I would handle myself, as I am 27 and hope kids are at least years away for me, so I’m posting these thoughts more as way of exploring them rather than as a stance on the matter.

    I feel like on the one hand you’re running the risk of making your kid feel like a weirdo around other kids and you pretty much have to accept that they’ll eat non-vegan stuff at their friends’ houses. On the other hand, you’re most likely raising them on much healthier food than the average kid eats and (this is the major one) your kids don’t have the initial hurdle that omnis have to choose a vegan lifestyle for themselves once they are old enough to do so (how “hard” and “foreign” it is).

    So, regarding your question about pushing your family to change their ways – I would only consider it with young kids. Past a certain age I think you run the risk of a negative backlash from trying to impose your eating viewpoint. And as far as your Sig-O goes, my personal philosophy is that adults should make their own decisions. I would tell my partner (if I was very serious about the relationship) why I think they should make the switch to veganism, but anything past that would be doing them a disservice. It’s just not fair to an autonomous adult to try and push a behavior change like that (is my opinion).

    • insufferablevegan December 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Eli, thanks for your comments. For me, as far as the kids go, it seemed to make a difference that I only went vegan a little more than two years ago. If I’d already been vegan when they were born, or started when they were very young, and my Sig-O went along with it, then they could have been raised in a way where they wouldn’t know anything else. Like you said, it can be hard socially with things like birthday parties and cakes, etc., but there are many people who raise their kids vegan from birth and deal with it. I’m conflicted. But I hope that by leaving my kids to make their own decision they will decide this is the right thing to do, and it will be something they WANT to do, not something where they were given no choice, but I’m not saying I’m right and the people who give their kids no choice are wrong — in fact, it could very well be that the other way is the right way to do it.

      • Eli December 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

        I think your point about how recently you became vegan is indeed a complete game changer. I suspect that if I were in the same situation I would have acted the same way (and I feel like that is indeed the best choice for your circumstances).

        I just reread the above, and it sounds somewhat like I’m passing judgment, I think. However, I’m really not trying to pass judgement, just show support for your actions!

        So yes, I think in your position, if the end result is you wanting your kids to be vegan, the best way to achieve that result is to introduce them to as much great tasting vegan food as you can before they leave the nest (or when they visit if they’ve already done so) to reinforce the idea that being vegan in a major metropolitan area in our day and age is easy, fun, and delicious. So, for whatever an air high five from an anonymous stranger is worth – *air high five*!

        • insufferablevegan December 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

          Thanks, Eli. And I didn’t think you were passing judgment with your previous comment, but rather offering up an interesting point of view. Thanks for reading my blog!

          • Eli December 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

            My pleasure! I really enjoy your take on the way a vegan should affect his/her environment thus far. I’m hoping it will get my mental gears grinding in new ways that allow me to be more forthright with my vegan-related beliefs when the situation calls for it.

            Thanks for writing!


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