In December 2002, Vegan Society chair George D. Rodger asked the organization’s founder, Donald Watson, “What do you find most difficult about being vegan?” to which Watson replied, “Well, I suppose it is the social aspect. Excommunicating myself from that part of life where people meet to eat.”
That exchange can be found in a December 2002 interview Rodger conducted with Watson. My wise friend Lee Hall published the interview online in June 2009 and republished the piece today at veganplace.wordpress.com.
On Thursday, millions of Americans will gather around the carcasses of slaughtered turkeys, having dutifully anted up to support a blood-soaked industry’s callous, annual money-grab.
And I’m ashamed to say that I’ll be in the presence of the remains of a turkey who was brought into this world and slaughtered for this very occasion. More bothersome is the fact that the bird’s butchered remains will be brought by family members to my house, the result of a respectful, extended disagreement my wife and I had about the appropriateness of forcing one’s worldview on others.
Vegans know a little something about being accommodating. Our historical willingness to “make do” has become an expectation that we’ll do just that. Otherwise, in others’ eyes (you’ll pardon the unintended rhyme), it becomes all about us, despite the fact that it’s not at all about us.
Talking about Thanksgiving, another wise friend recently described enduring her own “excommunication” before eventually becoming unwilling to tolerate adherence to tradition and sickening, consequential behavior.
When I graduated two years ago from vegetarianism to veganism, I (apparently) said that I wouldn’t become one of “those” vegans. But quietly shouldering the emotional burden of the ongoing holocaust while friends and family members carve body parts off butchered animals doesn’t do me or anyone else a bit of good.
To be continued …