NYC Day 6 – Thoughtful Exchange On The Plant-Centric Lifestyle From Some Veterans & A Newbie
October 25th, 2011
Did we mention yet how much running around we’ve been doing since we got to NYC?
Today was less about running around. We get to spend most of our day close to our room and less time on the Metro. Yes!
Vegan Pilot Marty of Marty’s NYC Veggie Review has been following our journey and was in touch about having a coffee with us and his wife Carol. Though we had already checked Caravan of Dreams off the list, this was a convenient location for us all.
This was my kind of sit down. We discussed the impact of personal choice. We discussed the paradoxes facing the plant-based lifestyle movement. Also a topic of conversation was that of approaches to changing from a carnist life to a vegan life from the side of those who’ve made the switch and those who have not.
Lately, I have been deep in thought about how we come to the decision to adopt a plant-based life free from the use and consumption of animal products. Marty was bringing up a conversation he had in regards to a trigger that could be used to elicit a response from a non-vegan to encourage them to switch. We decided probably doesn’t exist because everyone comes to veganism in their own way for their own reasons at their own pace.
This a prime example of Aquarian Ethics where unity is brought about through the individual experience, a nation of unified sovereigns. This is also parallel to the Occupy movement sweeping the globe. You can be liberal, conservative or anywhere else along the spectrum and, despite all of the individual differences, there is unity in the belief that your human voice should count more than a legal entity, such as a corporation in the form of financial institutions and lobbying firms. There are many individual ideals in the vegan movement even amongst the many unified groups, and not everyone agrees on the why, how or when but we all agree that the plant-based life is a something worth accepting and sharing.
In terms of internal conflict, Marty, though explicitly vegan, expressed his emotional distance in regards to sea-life, whereas he can more easily connect compassion with farm animals and other domesticated non-human animals. This is common in confronting speciesism. We are predestined to judge. However there is also our unique human trait to analyze our prejudices and adapt our behavior accordingly. This then led to talk of pets and in particular, horses. Both Kristin and I grew up around horses but to include myself in the same sentence does her experience with horses no justice. I just rode as a boy and had moved on to rock ‘n’ roll and hockey by my teen years. Kristin made horses her life.
Cazenovia College, in Cazenovia, NY near Syracuse, is one of the few colleges offering courses in Equestrian studies. Here she earned a degree in Business Management with a Specialization in Equestrian Studies. The Lajeunesse family had been caring for and showing horses up until around 2003. Since then, their home has been a place of retirement for Spirit, a Welsh Cobb-Morgan crossbreed who happens to be the same age as Kristin. Spirit was the family’s first horse. She’ll be the last unless they decide to open a sanctuary. Between Spirit’s arrival and today, the horses Mac, Red, Indy, Jake, Carrie, Amber, and Bart amongst a few other passers-through, have come under the care of this family. I’d say they have the experience to save horses. Donations welcome?
We face as a society a perplexing issue. How do we have animal friends and at the same time abuse and eat them. I suppose the argument could be made that we don’t treat each other all that well either with war, rape, theft, slavery, income inequality etc. But most of us are not warmongers, thieves or rapists. We all, however, eat and most of us have pets. We can relate so much to our time at the dinner table and cuddling with Rover or Mittens. We understand fear and pain and it is clear through observation that they do too. This is why “peace begins in the kitchen” resonates so much with me. But are we educating domestic animals or dominating them? Once we stop eating them, what is next?
How would we have come to veganism if we hadn’t lived so closely with animals? Remember being in awe of the tigress behind the glass at the zoo? What about Shamu? The wonder and amazement I experienced as a youth playing with the house cats, riding horses at a “therapeutic” riding center and visiting animals in captivity contributed to my decision to become vegan. Now, of course, I don’t view favorably the zoos, circuses or Sea Worlds and the like. As a child, as I grew older, I even began to pick up on the poor conditions at certain zoos. There is no doubt that some trainers and keepers love their animals. But this is not a universal feeling in that profession and even though the love is there, boundaries are crossed.
I find this to be an important question. What is appropriate interaction between humankind and the rest of the animal kingdom? (I am open to new terminology as kingdom seems too antiquated a term. Feel free to comment below.)
I feel as though rescuing animals is appropriate but what else?
I am going to break the fourth wall of blogging here as Kristin and I are posting these entries in retrospect many things have developed since we were in New York having this discussion and now, as I write this entry.
For example it is now legal in the US to slaughter horses for meat. As of Thanksgiving Day 2011, while so many view horses as companion animals, the legal line is now drawn. Horses are livestock apparently. 70% of Americans are horrified by the idea of serving horse meat at the dinner table yet 70% of Americans are not vegan. We have here the horse, an animal governed by livestock laws and yet treated more like a pet by all those across the nation who keep horses and apparently even those who do not keep horses. Why this disconnect? Cows and horses are more alike biologically than dog and horse yet we eat one, pet one and do both to the other. This is emotional conditioning. There is little science and logic in use when making the distinction between food and companion. There is no compelling scientific argument being used to draft this legislation. Where is the scientific study showing that Dog based protein is to no human benefit to the human biology where Cow and Horse based proteins are beneficial? Manipulate the genetic lineage of dogs the way we have manipulated turkeys, chickens, and pigs and then do a double-blind study showing that in fact dog meat is more harmful than the aforementioned meats. My guess is if we did this you’d find that animal proteins largely have the same effect on the human body. And what of the feed? We’ve force-fed cows other cows, we can surely force-feed dogs corn.
To any non-vegans reading this post, wild chicken, turkey and beyond all taste different than their factory farmed counterparts. Factory farmers are quite adept at making animals more plump for consumption. Don’t think for one second that they couldn’t figure out how to do this to dogs if so given the task.
“But they would never do such a cruel thing to dogs.” Probably not in the USA. You’re right. But why not? Our emotional attachment to our domesticated companions renders us horrified at the thought of factory farming dogs. This just doesn’t hold water. We don’t allow victims of crimes to determine the sentence of a criminal due to emotional bias. If we did that there’d be capital punishment for vandalizing someone’s Hummer. Can’t have that. Emotional bias can’t be the basis for determining who lives and who dies. Human or other.
On a Lighter Note!
Tonight we had dinner at Peacefood Cafe with our new friend and new vegan, Trisha!
Is it ok to date non-vegans!?!?! Excellent question, Trisha. I think this is all personal preference. You may find a person who is attractive and vegan but there are so many compatibility issues that it just doesn’t work or you may find someone who rings all your bells but they have yet to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. I have dated many non-vegans in the past and when there is compatibility I usually stick around and see. I think in the end I draw the line a raising a child. If my special lady isn’t willing to raise a vegan baby we probably have a big issue regarding the future of the relationship.
Some people convert and some do not. Some don’t date non-vegans because they believe choosing to become vegan should be a personal decision and not a choice made out of fear of acceptance by your partner.
Kristin became vegan and dated pretty much all non-vegan guys. She converted one guy to vegetarianism while she was still vegetarian and both she and he have become vegan independently of each other. He has also gone on to convert his brother and sister. I suppose you could tally three for Kristin there! Another she dated guy went vegan but has since become carnist again since they stopped dating.
I recently dated a woman who was vegetarian on her own and was vegan while we were together and since our separation she has returned to vegetarianism if not given up on it entirely. I don’t know. We don’t speak anymore. HA! Love and Veganism.
I wish Trisha the best of luck on her journey for love and compassion.
Peacefood Cafe – 100% Vegan
460 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024-5002
Another meeting due to iOsmosis or eOsmosis or whatever you wanna call it! Somehow, Trisha heard about us online and got in touch and it was a pleasure to meet her. Neither of us had been to Peacefood Cafe before but we definitely heard good things and they delivered. Not only did they deliver good food but a member of their staff has a knack at capturing photobombs. Nice one!
Oh Hello Penne Pasta! (served with broccoli rabe, french horn mushrooms and touch of vegan daiya cheese) I have to say the French Horn Mushrooms are that touch that makes this dish pop.
PFC Un-Chicken Basket.
PFC Un-chicken Cutlets with Kale and Beans!
Strawberry Shortcake (far), Cheesecake (left), Chocolate Cupcake (near)
Unfortunately, we don’t know all that much about the story of Peacefood Cafe. NYC has been intense and getting interviews has been more difficult here than in other towns and cities. We will be reaching out to restaurants to do e-mail interviews and if we get responses, we’ll be posting them. I know I may have bitten off more than I could chew for this post. Thanks for reading!
PS. Here are some pics from hanging out at Caravan of Dreams!