by Dave Warwak
There are many wonderful things happening in the vegan world’s efforts to get the word out. Change will come. Will it be the change we are fighting for? Will the Earth be patient? Will the animals be patient? Will real change come in your lifetime? I am a patient person; however, this problem is much too urgent and I see big problems in the Animal Rights movement. Specifically, vegans are too withdrawn and need to get out in the meat-eating world more. Our biggest deficits are our unwillingness to be more confrontational and we do not include children in our activism enough.
It is as if we willingly adopt meat-eaters’ attitudes that say their choice is a personal one and children are too young to chose wisely. This is exactly why we need to speak up for the voiceless, as those in charge have chosen poorly for our children. Do you remember, the 143 million pound Hallmark Westland Beef Recall? Do you remember how it affected schools, prisons, and the elderly? It is not a coincidence these unfortunate recipients have no choice. School boards have a, “They are only children” attitude towards our youth. Children deserve to know they can live an extra 10-15 years on a vegan diet. Hiding lifesaving information from children is criminal. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is nothing to sweep under the rug. I wonder how people will feel in 10 to 15 years when the children of today are the “dropping-like-flies” adults of tomorrow.
Everyone knows deep down inside how immoral meat eating is. The survival of the human race is on the line and with so many species extinct – more and more everyday, veganism is nothing to be hush-hush about or talk of passively. No revolution was ever comfortable. Our Earth will not patiently wait for vegans to reach critical mass; yet, many vegans try to awaken others’ without being “too” confrontational. This non-confrontational, gentle approach does work; however, there are faster, more effective ways of waking people up.
Many vegans adopt a “personal choice” attitude towards Animal Rights and believe it is best to let people come around at their own speed. Please consider the following before adopting the easy road. Peer pressure should not rule your actions, especially when there is a meat-eater born every 10 seconds in the USA. Furthermore, as George Carlin wisely stated, “Just because you got the monkey off your back, doesn’t mean the circus has left town”. It is not a “personal choice” when you are eating my friends and you are ruining my world. When you made your “personal choice”, did you ask the animal if you could confine, torture, and murder him or her? When you made your “personal choice”, did you ask me if I mind all your pollution and devastation? My tax money subsidizes your “personal choice.” Just because we personally make selfish choices does not make them “personal choices”. By all means, be gentle with your approach; but, when you see that strategy not working; do not hesitate to get a little louder until you are heard.
Schools avoid Humane Education and teach students to be ignorant and apathetic. Miss-educated doctors scramble to find a cure for cancer; yet, wise vegans know prevention is the cure. So too, truly defeating ignorance and apathy lies within prevention. Humane Education teaches children the truth about our world and raises a generation that cares. The philosophy learned in classrooms today becomes the philosophy of society tomorrow. Vegans need to work on “meat-eater prevention” by lobbying for Humane Education in public schools and by talking with children whenever possible.
Those ignorant meat-eaters who make every excuse in the world to resist change were the students of yesterday just as the children of today will be those you argue with in 10 or 15 years. Would you rather try to convince an adult to become vegan after their minds have been molded? I prefer prevention and early intervention by engaging children about the real world while they still care enough to change. They are not brainwashed yet. The information is all good and children are thankful. Aren’t you grateful to whoever gave you your heads-up? Silence is complicity. Speaking the truth is not criminal. I feel bad when I am silent. I feel good when I speak the truth. That is my religion.
Children deserve the truth and are the key to change. Children are the transmission of society. It is up to vegans to break the cycle of hereditary ignorance perpetrated by school boards who allow the meat and dairy industries to go after the very children we entrust them to protect. Milk mustache posters are an embarrassment to the educational system and a crime against humanity, far worse than Joe Camel, for they hang in an institution that children trust for truth. The indoctrination vegans fight so hard is ingrained in schools - the very place we should be working on prevention.
Life does not lose its luster when we speak the truth. Life shines brighter than ever when we speak the truth for those who have no voice. How will you explain to your grandchildren that you grew up during the Vegan Revolution, but were too worried about meat-eaters’ feelings to make a real difference? Maybe you will say, “I thought it best not to press the issue and chose to be polite.” If you lived during the Civil War, would you adopt an attitude that slavery is wrong? Would you then speak-up about it at every step of the way? Would you insist on teaching children the truth? Would you adopt a non-confrontational, me-first attitude or would your circle of compassion be open to all? What stories will you tell your grandchildren?
I am simply offering information and have not forced food or beliefs down people’s throats. Imagine if just saying or writing something could force people to change. When children see that adults care enough to change, they will care in turn. In closing, Elie Wiesel wrote, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented". This is too serious of an issue to leave alone just because some wish to eat unimpeded or because the people in charge possess the criminal attitude that claims, “They are only children”.
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