January 1, 2012

A Model of The Perfect Vegan


Is there such a thing as a perfect vegan? I think it’s technically impossible unless you live as a hermit outside of society. From antifreeze, lubricants, paints, emery boards, hydraulic break fluid, crayons, specialty plastics, buttons, plywood adhesive, pharmaceuticals, high grade steel, water filters, bandage strips that contain animal products –to- buying vegan food at Whole Foods which also sells animal products - it becomes unrealistic to be a perfect vegan. But this does not then mean that we should not avoid animal products wherever we possibly can. Even the smallest amount of an animal product can be big business and finances exploitation, and we become a part of the demand for these products to be supplied.

Aspiring to be a perfect vegan is certainly nothing to criticize or condemn. Attempting to be a perfect vegan is not a silly inconsequential aspiration. Some things we just can’t help, such as driving a car that has tires that, in the vulcanization or formation of the tire, the standard industry practice is to use stearic acid; animal-derived. But aside from things we just can’t help, what would a perfect vegan look like? I started to think of virtues, high qualities or beautiful acts that I have admired in different vegans. From compiling these virtues in various vegans, I’ve creating a model of the ‘perfect vegan’:

The perfect vegan would aspire to live healthfully as a statement to non-vegans that they we don't die from becoming vegan. The perfect vegan takes care of his/her own body so he/she can continue to be a voice for animals, and is responsible to get tested so he/she knows that all required nutrients are being met. However, there are no health guarantees. The perfect vegan is not vegan because of themselves, but as a position of non-support of animal exploitation.

The perfect vegan would spend their time working to abolish the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, breeding, buying and selling, and other human purpose; to eradicate this unjustified speciesism. Just because humans CAN and WANT to oppress others, does not mean they SHOULD. This is the necessary education the perfect vegan would impart. Since the beginning of time, society has been built upon the enslavement of others and upon exploitation. The thinking that "it’s okay to oppress any animal; human or nonhuman”, is what is needed to be reprogrammed in human consciousness.The perfect vegan would help change perceptions, and would guide others out of their misguided behaviors.

The perfect vegan would be totally assured and would know that veganism is right, civil, and the opposite of the widespread violence afflicting this world. He/she will not be apologetic, not shy to speak up for other animals. The perfect vegan would be eloquent if ever asked to speak on the subject, always keeping in mind “it’s about the animals” not about “the activist”. The perfect vegan is a voice for those who don’t speak our language and therefore need us to be their voice. For some reason, many people are numb and deaf to pigs screaming and begging for mercy in a slaughterhouse. The perfect vegan can hear the obviously audible screams and feels it is his/her obligation to speak up.

The perfect vegan stops and pulls over on a busy highway to help a turtle crossing the road. The perfect vegan brings the turtle to safety in the direction he/she was headed. The perfect vegan grabs that turtle from the hands of someone who wanted to turn him/her into turtle soup. The perfect vegan brings that turtle in the car and releases the turtle on his/her own land; a vegan sanctuary.

The perfect vegan would not dress in someone else’s skin! Upon becoming vegan, they would burry their leather and their (new expensive!) wool sweater, with a ceremony. They would donate fur coats to wildlife rescue centers for orphaned wildlife. The perfect vegan realizes that being dressed in animal’s skin is not a fashion statement they want to make, any more than they want to model human skin.

The perfect vegan comes from a place of purity. He/she is so gentle that dogs in the neighborhood are drawn like magnets and come with wagging tails to meet him/her, while their “person” looks on in amazement, or a young child looks the perfect vegan in the eyes and comes for a hug from this person they’ve never met while the mother explains that this is unusual behavior. Forest deer will eat from his/her hands. The innocent ones instinctively feel the purity and the harmlessness emitting from the perfect vegan.

The perfect vegan would hand-carry spiders out of the house, one by one, taking ages, rather than vacuum them up. He/she would have a cup and a piece of cardboard and catch insects in the cup, cover with the flat piece of cardboard, and then escort outdoors. The perfect vegan would use their soft (synthetic) flannel hat to catch flies and gently grab them and release them outdoors. He/she would also use ‘capture and release’ rodent traps, and try to keep families together when relocating them. In fact, the perfect vegan would clean their kitchen every night, leaving nothing to lure the rodents into the home as a trap, so they would not have to then be caught and relocated; which scares them; sometimes to death. It means breaking up their family. Sometimes it means drawing them into a house where they might get eaten by an animal in the house. The perfect vegan would keep his/her door closed so as not to invite mosquitoes inside to get swatted.

The perfect vegan would communicate nicely with other species, befriend them, help them and rescue them, do right by all species of animals.

The perfect vegan happens to sleep (and cuddle) with his/her canine companion (on a doggie sheet on top of the covers), and ensures that they live a long, very happy, healthy life. The perfect vegan would not think of buying or selling a living conscious animal or supporting 'breeding', and would have rescued their canine friend. The perfect vegan would learn to feed their dogs (metabolically omnivores) a balanced vegan diet; (being sure to supplement their nutritional requirements that are not naturally met from a plant diet), so as not to be a part of the demand for institutionalized exploitation of other animals, as far as possible.

The perfect vegan might attempt to grow some of his/her own food, veganically; marrying the principles of organic with vegan. The perfect vegan would not use animal products as fertilizer, but instead use compost, rock minerals, hay, and nitrogen-fixing plants like lupines, clover, broad beans, peas and beans, etc. The perfect vegan enjoys and plants trees; lots of fruit, flowering and native trees.

The perfect vegan sees ‘The Big Picture’ – not just their small limited world – and seeks to lessen their own environmental footprint and help heal our ailing planet; which is home to many thousands of fellow Earthlings. Over 29,000 recorded species of fish, 6,000 recorded species of reptiles, 9-10,000 species of birds, 1,000 amphibians, 5,400 mammal species and 1-2 million insect species (of sentient animal) also share the same planet. Because of human activity, widespread species extinction is occuring. All species, including us, are on the endangered species list, in reality. Our planet is home to many millions of human and nonhuman animals, and the perfect vegan considers the health of our planet and what he/she can do to help heal it. The perfect vegan smiles inside because she/he knows just being vegan and thereby opposing animal agriculture (the #1 culprit in environmental degradation), he/she is doing more than most to lessen his/her own environmental impact.

The perfect vegan cares about all injustice and opposes all oppression; whether the victim is oppressed based on species, race, gender, age, class, nationality, religious or sexual preference or any other unjustifiable reason to oppress sentient individuals. The perfect vegan uses rational discourse to relay this message to the public.

The perfect vegan uses their life as a statement that wearing, exploiting, killing and eating other animals is fundamentally wrong. He/she will inconvenience themselves and always verify ingredients, bring their own food when travelling, etc. because they are making a stand, with their life’s actions, knowing it’s not really much of an inconvenience compared to the holocaust that other animals are facing every day at the hands of humanity. Auschwitz happened because of racism…slaughterhouses happen because of speciesism. The perfect vegan wants no part, not even minuscule. The perfect vegan does not want complicity in the crimes against nonhumanity.

The perfect vegan would speak and write in such a way that it would reach into the soul of every vegan of every grouping within the vegan community. He/she has the power to bring out the vegan that lives within everyone. The perfect vegan speaks to the soul in all humans, because in our souls, we all agree that being vegan is “the right thing to do”.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is room for improvement within us all. Here's to those who are on the right path!

Michael Lanfield said...

Beautifully written. I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am learning a lot.

Anonymous said...

You know what else a "perfect vegan" would do? Stop praising themselves so much and posting their own articles on every vegan friend's facebook page just to be seen, heard, and praised.

prasi said...

Super!

/Prasad

Vegan Poet said...

Annonymous...thank-you for your perception...I might stop posting to people's pages, as I see it bothers some, not just you. I wish I knew who you were, so I would not post to your page anymore. Some people really like it, while others don't. I do it, yes, to be seen and heard, not to be praised...though being praised is nice...that is not why I do it.

Al said...

Little harsh, don't you think, Anonymous? Aside from the rudeness, your comment has the really unfortunate effect of leaving Butterflies to wonder which of her FB friends is a asshole.

Anyway, for the record Butterflies, I'm not your asshole FB friend.

Katia said...

Excellent blog. I agree we should strive to become better and better vegans, more educated, more knowledgeable, more courageous, more committed...as perfect as is possible, given the speciesist world we live in. I also respect your calm and moderate response to Anonymous. (I wonder why this person is so fearful of revealing their identity?) I disagree completely with her/his assessment of "why" you post on friends' walls. It's clear to me - and i reckon it's the same for most people - that you do it as part of vegan education, not for self-agrandisement, but entirely FOR THE ANIMALS, for oppressed, enslaved, suffering beings of all species. This vitally important work is your life's purpose, this is so very obvious to most of us. Heartfelt thanks for all you do. I am always learning from you. Your posts are more than welcome on my wall, and i gladly share them in the hope of raising awareness among my nonvegan friends.

Vegan Poet said...

Thank-you Katia, for recognizing the Truth. I'm very touched by your words.

Space Cadet said...

The perfect vegan lives in a spaceship, directly harvesting the power of the sun to sustain its passengers - far, far away from causing any harm or inconvenience to anyone.

The vegan you described seems like a nice person too!

Kim said...

Love this. <3 :)

Anonymous said...

Please edit your post to include that the perfect vegan would not release the bunny into the wild, as this is certain death for domesticated rabbits. (Unless rescued by someone else, an unlikely proposition.) Unless willing to keep the bunny themselves, the perfect vegan might rather opt to give the bunny's owner better information on how to keep bunnies responsibly, obtainable from the House Rabbit Society at http://www.rabbit.org.

Vegan Poet said...

Anonymous. Thank-you for that, I did change it a bit. In my early years, I released many rabbits from a farm into the wild only to hear them screaming literally from the dogs in the neighborhood...it was awful and that is when I realized that I would have to "save the animals" on another level...by changing the mindsets of humanity!

Anonymous said...

Seems like this might be of interest:

www.criticalthinkinginanimalrights.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I like the message of this post overall, but I must ask whether individual perfection is really what we want to strive for? The focus seems to be on one being perfect oneself, instead of looking at the ultimate difference we make to animals.

Our culture makes use of several sayings and memes to try to highlight the shortcomings of perfectionism, such as: "perfection equals paralysis",
"the perfect is the enemy of the good" and of course the "80/20 rule" or diminishing returns.

The idea of 80/20 is that 80% of the difference we make in a given action comes from only 20% of the effort; the other 20% of the result costs us the other 80% of the effort. Instead of spending so much time in a futile attempt to be perfect ourselves, perhaps we could be handing out leaflets, debating the ethics of our treatment of animals and promoting a version of veganism that is more realistic for all people.

I think we want to avoid making veganism look like a boring, obsessive life of sacrifice, inconvenience (to ourselves and others) and hollow piety. Sure that'll attract some martyrs, obsessives and people wanting to feel superior to others, but it's never going to appeal to the mainstream.

I prefer the approach of Vegan Outreach, who suggest we avoid animal products the best we can within reason, but it's okay if something you buy has a trace of an animal product in it.

"The impact of our individual veganism – several hundred animals over the course of a lifetime – pales in comparison to what we have the potential to accomplish with our example. For every person inspired to change their habits, the impact we have on the world multiplies!

Conversely, for every person we convince that veganism is overly demanding by obsessing with an ever-increasing list of ingredients, we do worse than nothing: we turn someone away who could have made a real difference for animals if they hadn’t met us! Currently the vast majority of people in our society have no problem eating the actual leg of a chicken. It is not surprising that many people dismiss vegans as unreasonable and irrational when our example includes interrogating waiters, not eating veggie burgers cooked on the same grill with meat, not taking photographs or using medicines, etc.

Instead of spending our limited time and resources worrying about the margins (cane sugar, film, medicine, etc.), our focus should be on increasing our impact every day. Helping just one person change leads to hundreds fewer animals suffering in factory farms. By choosing to promote compassionate eating, every person we meet is a potential major victory."

http://www.veganoutreach.org/howvegan.html

Anonymous said...

(continued)

I like that you make the point that the environment and the animals are inseparable. When you act and advocate to preserve the environment and reduce habitat destruction, pollution, etc you're probably making a bigger difference to a wider variety of species than you are by simply not eating or wearing products derived from a few species of domesticated animals.

For this reason, I find the mention of using a car in everyday life whilst earnestly scanning trace ingredients a bit problematic. If we go to great lengths to avoid traces of, say, milk in some food product, which throughout our lifetime might add up to less than a litre of milk, but drive a car (when we could bicycle or use public transit), we surely have our priorities wrong. The habitat destruction from mining for metals, drilling for oil, developing new roads, parking, etc for the automobile and the sprawl that accompanies it more than undo our lifetime savings of trace animal products. Those of us who can get by without cars should strive to do so.

Ultimately it remains to be seen whether vegans relying on industrial civilisation are actually having a net positive effect on animals. I suspect for most of us the answer is that we're causing less harm than non-vegans but still having a net negative effect.

Only if we can spread our message far and wide in manner that has greater appeal to the mainstream of society might we magnify our effect and perhaps go some way to justifying our industrially-derived comforts. What we do know for certain is that vegans living in veganic agricultural communities where they produce most of their own needs with minimal reliance on industrial civilisation probably harm animals the least of anyone.

Vegan Poet said...

Hello last anonymous commenter:

I wrote this blog as a protest to Vegan Outreach and their teachings. I don't want to make the vegan ideal look less than what it really is to the mainstream. Veganism is veganism, and people will take it as far as they can or want to, but I won't bring down the meaning of a vegan to meet the consciousness of humanity, but instead try to lift the consciousness of humanity up to the vegan ideal. I won't say you can have minuscule amounts of animal products and still call yourself a vegan...I tell the Vegan Truth.

Personally, I rarely drive a car. I live off the grid and eat veganically grown food from our land or local grown produce.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, even though we disagree on approach of spreading veganism.

Anonymous said...

VP, thanks for your reply. I hadn't noticed you were from Gentle World. In fact I was thinking of coming to visit the NZ GW (on my bicycle) sometime in the next few months, because I want to live in a veganic sustainable community.

I certainly hear what you're saying about not wanting to dilute the vegan ideal too much. And I applaud your 33 years of veganism. Me, I've been vegan only 10 years, with quite a few forays into freeganism on occasions when there was non-vegan food being thrown away.

I still find that the line between vegan and non-vegan is a bit arbitrary once you get away from the most obvious stuff like meat, milk and leather. Some things don't come with ingredients labels.

The environmental destruction and animal products embodied in a car, for example. Even my bicycle is made of steel or aluminium, with tyres that use some animal products (glue, probably). Can I honestly say I am vegan? Is it really unavoidable that I use a car or a bicycle? Probably not. I could walk everywhere (in vegan shoes). Is flying vegan? We each draw our own lines of acceptability, dontcha think? The danger of taking my approach to the logical conclusion is that vegans end up living in isolation, and then are unable to have much influence on the masses. It's a thorny issue.

At the end of the day, the good thing is that we both want to spread veganism, even if we don't necessarily agree on the best ways to do this. I wouldn't say you're right and I'm wrong by any means.

Incidentally, I just put up dozens of fliers for a local vegan potluck dinner on noticeboards around my city today. I want to start leafletting the uni and polytech and perhaps some public squares.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I meant to say: "I wouldn't say you're wrong and I'm right by any means"

Which completely changes the tone of my last post!

Madalena said...

My opinion as fresh but very motivated Vegan, is that I personally feel alignment with VP,a vegan warrior, perfectionist with strong will for the generous cause, but knowing the good heart of A , I can relate to both for the practicality to be Vegan in this difficult world that tends to isolate the "weirdos" ,and the importance to be a great example beside to be a balanced activist. I mean, e.g.,I have correspondence with Walter Bond, a vegan hero paying 12 years in Jail for not regretting the 3 destruction to 3 cruel businesses. Reading his past and his mental equilibrium expressing the Vegan commitment to the point to "prefer" to be in jail than out in a world where animals are in jail. I think the balanced vegan mind doesn't approve ALF actions, even-though the level and the amount of corruption , unfairness and increasing of animal abuse , make wondering if all united on an act of revolution can speed up and give us a sense of relief to this holocaust which takes place every damn day, and hour and minute in this sick world. but then I think that there is a high purpose of what happening and that the human consciousness MUST rise up, sooner or later, at all costs , which breaks my heart when it comes to animals, innocent creatures relying on us. However a great change is happening!
Just to say that I support Walter Bond without the need to be agreed on promoting such actions , only for the sake of his amazing dedication and sacrifice. I know vegan people who refused to even send a letter to the judge to help him for a shorter condemn, because they ...disagree with ALF method! I find hypocrite, because we are all happy to know about the freedom of animal labs or animal factory, even if the risk is a short life due to a stranger environment. After all what kind of life was the alternative?! Better a quick death in a wildness....
Did I go out of theme?! (lol)

Vegan Poet said...

Anonymous,

The whole community is not here this year, but you are welcome to make contact and let us know when you want to come! I look forward to meeting you.

Vegan Poet said...

Dear Madalena,

I oppose violence. It is the main thing I am protesting by being a vegan; the violence inflicted on other sentient animals. I am not in support of violent measures. I don't believe in bombing, killing, war, etc. As Gandhi said "An eye for an eye - makes the whole world blind." So I would not be in support of Walter Bond's actions. I agree with his feelings about other animals and their persecution, but it ends there. Our approach to free the animals is different. I believe in NON_VIOLENT vegan education in in changing the misguided mindsets of humanity. Education and heartfelt reaching out is the key. No one will want to become vegan or respect vegans if they are violent and bombing and warlike. I wouldn't. The general public looks at animal rights activists that do this stuff as terrorists...that is not going to help win people over to living vegan, and that is my goal.

Lai S. said...

Butterflies, do keep up the good work trying to awaken everyone including vegans who still have some real knowledge and wisdom to be learned. Even potential vegans like my boyfriend's nieces know that it's wrong to be consuming sugar with bone char and were very saddened that we bought the Tofutti ice cream cone on their first day visiting us. Their uncle convinced me that when they go back to Australia at least it would be vegan there so we should let them see the many options they have while we can. But later on he bought it again when he came to pick up his sister so I came clean and told them we shouldn't have done that at all, and they were mad at me that I let them eat it and I even took a bite of it! The 9 year old who kept saying she really wants to be vegan already was so disappointed, after all she was the one who convinced her 5 year old sister not to buy fairy floss (cotton candy) because I almost caved at one point after the previous times that I didn't buy it for her, but then her mother was gonna buy it and I was trying to avoid an argument.

I just told her that we are not perfect vegans yet but being vegan is about continually evolving and advancing ourselves. I told her that they are already better vegans than us, but I wish we just really stayed committed and given them a great example on what a vegan is right from the start. But I'm really thankful to these kids who taught us to stick to doing what is right and not let anything stand in the way of justice.

Vegan Poet said...

Hi Lai.

When in the states, I have not (for decades) eaten anything with white sugar because it's a big business (bone char) that I don't want any part of. Tofutti does make a line that does not have white refined sugar, but a vegan sugar...I've seen it. Otherwise, I don't do tofutti, but So Delicious or Purely Decadent (same company). It only helped me all these years not to consume white refined sugar. I've found by adhering to the vegan philosophy as much as I possibly can, has only helped me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lai S. said...

I also don't want even a miniscule part of animal harm and exploitation, I don't buy anything with palm oil either including the ice creams (I think Purely Decadent) and vegetable boullions that I used to buy. I let their uncle buy the Tofutti with bone char maybe because they literally just arrived here and I wanted to spoil/bribe them so they won't complain that we are not buying anything else that's not vegan but I knew it was wrong that's why I cmae out and told them about it. To my surprise the 12 and 9 year old girls were so much smarter than anyone I ever talked to about veganism and the 5yr old was the only one who complained. But she loves fruits and we had vegan lollipops, gummi bears etc. so her cravings were well taken care of. Later on she asked for vegan pizza and was asking about which things are vegan so she was definitely listening even though we mostly talked to her sisters about veganism. She mentioned that they went to a vegan store with their mommy when we were not together at one time; they didn't but her mom must've convinced her that it was because we only brought them to vegan restaurants.

I'm a little bit thankful that the bone char fiasco happened as I think it made us more human in their mother's eyes when we mentioned we are not perfect but we are trying to be. She's a little more open to it and she wasn't arguing with us anymore whenever I said things to the kids that she didn't like in the beginning. I hope we can also help her and her kids become the perfect vegans, by the way I gave them your Metamorphosis book and we told them that you are the perfect vegan, at least they also have you to look up to just as I and their uncle do :)

Vegan Poet said...

Hi Lai, I was not sure that the last comment was you.

Thanks for the sweet words, but I'm afraid I'm not the perfect vegan...just one who aspires to that and doesn't think it is a silly pursuit. Many vegans claim not to be into "personal purity". Well why not? Why would they want to fund the use of animals in the products they purchase, when they don't have to...when all it means is going online and finding out? If they buy the products then they are a part of the demand for animal use in that product. So I'm into being personally as pure as we can be, as well as giving time to educate others, etc.

Love and Hugs to you Lai.

Vegan Poet said...

I removed the paragraph about rescuing the bunny, because it was too confusing as to which animals to rescue, when and how would be right circumstances to do so. For me, if it is easy, and there is no violence whatsoever involved to person or property, then it is fine to rescue an imprisoned animal...but anyway, a paragraph was removed.