I’M A vegetarian, a vegan, in fact, have been for most of my life.
This means that I don’t eat any animal products like fish, meat or milk or anything made from them like cheese. I also don’t use animal products like leather. I’m happy and healthy with my diet and lifestyle.
I’ve got nothing against eating meat or dairy products. My problem is the way they are produced, in particular the cruelty involved, especially the mass production methods like feed lots and tiny pens and cages.
I can’t condone that sort of cruelty and consequently I avoid having anything to do with it if I am able.
People sometimes challenge me about this attitude and I get called a wimp or bleeding heart. These days such criticism is water off a duck’s back.
I don’t react to the criticisms nor do I attempt to foist my beliefs on anyone else.
Curiously, the people least critical of my attitude are my Papua New Guinean and Aboriginal friends. It is very easy to be a vegan in PNG or Aboriginal Australia.
Keith’s article about holding the launch of Rashmii’s book, My Walk to Equality at the new Stanley Hotel owned by RH and the criticism received from a few individuals made me think about my own beliefs and habits, including my diet and other strange little peccadillos.
To be perfectly honest I have trouble rationalising my use of things made by unsavoury methods and using places owned by unsavoury people, especially when they involve damage to the environment and people’s lives.
I drive a car primarily made of mined metal and powered by polluting fossil fuels and I’ve probably got furniture in my house made of timber obtained unsustainably.
If I criticise the mining companies or the logging companies over their greedy bad practises does that make me a hypocrite? I suspect it does.
If I wasn’t I’d be walking everywhere and not buying furniture made from suspect timber. That would make life extremely difficult I suspect.
I also know that I am only one, insignificant individual. If everyone refused to drive metal cars burning fossil fuels it might have an impact but by myself it is completely insignificant.
So what to do?
I guess all one can do is follow your heart and hope that gives you some sense of satisfaction.
So I’ve got no problem with the people who refused to attend the My Walk to Equality book launch and I’ve got no problem with those who did.
Perhaps those who objected could have suggested another venue. Perhaps the organisers could have thought it through a bit better?
It’s a tricky moral dilemma for which I have no real opinion and no answer. Just like all the other dilemmas in my life.