(just a note…I made the donation (€75=$100) to Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary a couple weeks ago. Yay!)
My three weeks in America were…difficult.
Somehow, my mother and I got to talking about eating meat. She came out with the old, “if we didn’t eat them, they’d overrun us,” citing the over-population of deer and how hunting them keeps us safe on the roads. I wanted to suggest that maybe we should do the same to people, since there’s too many of us, and it would mean fewer murderers and make us safer. Instead I tried to explain to her about factory farming, but she kept talking about all the animals she sees grazing in fields. She just didn’t want to hear it. I tread carefully, but she eventually just said,
The thing is, I just don’t care.
At first, I was grateful for her honesty. That feeling quickly wore away and I just felt sad. And sickened. It’s true; some people just don’t care. They want what they want, and will do whatever it takes to block out unpleasant truths.
A few nights ago, I called my mom. We talked for quite a while, then out of the blue she said, “I’ve been thinking about the vegan thing…and some of the things you say…I think you’re right. And I want to start eating better.” She then asked me to send her a few recipes that I think she might like. Of course, she had to end it with, “But I’ll always be a carnivore!”
I don’t know if she’ll ever be vegan, but just hearing her say that gives me so much hope. Family can be the most difficult to reach. My mom’s in her 50′s and she has this idea that she can’t change. She said, “I was born eating a chicken leg.” (Ew.) Well, I was brought up the same way: meat and milk every day. I became vegan in my early 30′s. I told her that people of all ages, self-proclaimed carnivores, go vegan at all ages. It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with mindset. If you want to make changes, you will.
And I don’t really believe that she doesn’t care. I think it’s more that she doesn’t want to know, because once she knows, she’ll care a whole lot and have to make changes that she doesn’t want to make. I think faced with the truth, most people do care. Some won’t, no matter what, but most do, or will, once they know. It’s getting them to allow themselves to *see* that’s the hard part.
She has no intention of going vegan. She wants to eat healthier. But this is often how it starts. I didn’t tell her that, though.
My daughter (who lives with her dad) is 15. She, too, is a self-proclaimed carnivore and also “doesn’t care.” I told her that for the 3 weeks I was there, there wouldn’t be any meat. She said she’d probably die. I rolled my eyes and gave her a veggie dog. Every day, as a late evening snack, she’d get a veggie dog. She said they were better than “the real thing.”
Now, she lives in an area I have affectionately dubbed “hillbilly hell.” Her school has Future Farmers of America. They have 1 Chinese and 3 black students. They’re closed for the first day of deer hunting season. You get the picture.
What’s funny is that my daughter’s boyfriend is a wannabe vegan. He’s not actually vegan, but he wants to be, and he tries to be on occasion. He knows meat is unhealthy, he loves the health food shop, and best of all, he keeps telling my daughter she should be vegan. I’m torn between loving that he says that, and loving the fact that she tells him it ain’t happening–the last thing I want is for her to go vegan (or do anything) just because a man tells her to.
If kids in rural areas are getting hip to veganism, there’s hope for the future. Lots of it.
And once my daughter’s old enough to make her own food choices, I’m going to sit her down to watch Vegucated. If that doesn’t work, I’ll show her Earthlings. I may not want her being submissive to a man, but her mamma…well, that’s different. (I’m kidding. But she is watching Vegucated, dammit.)