EVERYTHING VEGAN

October 21, 2014 3:08 pm
You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding the children’s book called “I Want to Be Bacon When I Grow Up.” The authors, Ken & Jessica Skinner, huge bacon promoters, have received hundreds of one star negative reviews on their Amazon page and an onslaught of negative feedback on their Facebook page as well. 
They have made several knee-jerk statements in response to all of the criticism their book has triggered, such as “We care about animals, but we also eat them.” “A bunch of militant Vegans spammed us with their self-righteous hate. So don’t even bother reading the reviews unless you enjoy propaganda.” 

If you want to have an impact, we recommend contacting the book publisher itself on their Facebook page at Mascot Books. Leave a review there which cannot be deleted. And send them a private message. You can also email the publisher directly at info@mascotbooks.com.
You can also leave an Amazon review which cannot be deleted.
You can also give a “Yes” to the reviews there that you found to be helpful which will help them get higher in the rankings.
You can also post a message to the authors’ on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iwanttobebacon.
You can also use this as an opportunity to inform people about bacon and other products by pointing them to our well-researched articles, such as:
Meet Your Bacon: Footage of Pigs In Transport Truck Goes Viral at: http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/meet-your-bacon-a-look-inside-the-trucks-that-take-pigs-to-slaughter/
Bacon: A Day In The Life at http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/day-in-the-life-christmas-ham-pig/
The Vegan Bacon That Meat-Loving Foodies Can’t Get Enough Of: Recipe Included! at http://freefromharm.org/vegan-recipes/vegan-bacon/
Source: Free From Harm

You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding the children’s book called “I Want to Be Bacon When I Grow Up.” The authors, Ken & Jessica Skinner, huge bacon promoters, have received hundreds of one star negative reviews on their Amazon page and an onslaught of negative feedback on their Facebook page as well.

They have made several knee-jerk statements in response to all of the criticism their book has triggered, such as “We care about animals, but we also eat them.” “A bunch of militant Vegans spammed us with their self-righteous hate. So don’t even bother reading the reviews unless you enjoy propaganda.”

If you want to have an impact, we recommend contacting the book publisher itself on their Facebook page at Mascot Books. Leave a review there which cannot be deleted. And send them a private message. You can also email the publisher directly at info@mascotbooks.com.

You can also leave an Amazon review which cannot be deleted.

You can also give a “Yes” to the reviews there that you found to be helpful which will help them get higher in the rankings.

You can also post a message to the authors’ on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iwanttobebacon.

You can also use this as an opportunity to inform people about bacon and other products by pointing them to our well-researched articles, such as:

Meet Your Bacon: Footage of Pigs In Transport Truck Goes Viral at: http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/meet-your-bacon-a-look-inside-the-trucks-that-take-pigs-to-slaughter/

Bacon: A Day In The Life at http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/day-in-the-life-christmas-ham-pig/

The Vegan Bacon That Meat-Loving Foodies Can’t Get Enough Of: Recipe Included! at http://freefromharm.org/vegan-recipes/vegan-bacon/

Source: Free From Harm

 
2:07 pm
The Secret of Our Success by Norm Phelps

A Fresh Look at Human Exceptionalism 

From ancient times, the Western traditions have assumed that a hard line divides humans from other animals, a line that does not exist between other species. By definition, every species is unique. Cows are different from rabbits. But there is no line between cows and rabbits similar to the line that is purported to separate humans from both cows and rabbits. We humans stand alone on our side of the line, while everyone else is lumped together on theirs. Every species may be unique, but we are exceptional. And we believe that our exceptional nature entitles us to use animals however we wish.

Human exceptionalism is a conclusion eternally in search of a rationale.

Valid beliefs arise out of evidence and logic. The rationale precedes the belief. But human exceptionalism, like white exceptionalism and male exceptionalism, reverses this process. The belief in human exceptionalism came first, and only later, when it had been challenged, did philosophers begin to seek a rationale that they could use to defend it.

Over the centuries one after another such rationale has been proposed—and discredited. But in every case, the majority response has not been to abandon the belief, but to ignore the evidence and double down on it while looking for a new justification. We know we are exceptional, and if we have never been able to support this “knowledge” with evidence and logic, then the evidence and logic must be wrong.

Read more

 
1:54 pm
Children who drink non-cow's milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D

"Children who drink non-cow’s milk such as rice, almond, soy or goat’s milk, have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those who drink cow’s milk, according to a new study."

In the article you can also read:

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient produced through sun exposure OR found in fortified cow’s milk, AND other foods.

In North America, every 100 millilitres of cow’s milk is required to be fortified with 40 units of vitamin D. Adding vitamin D to non-cow’s milk, however, is voluntary.

Eighty-seven per cent (87%) of children involved in the study drank predominantly cow’s milk and 13 per cent drank non-cow’s milk. The study involved 3,821 healthy children ages one to six.

The children were recruited from seven Toronto pediatric or family medicine practices that are part of a research network called TARGet Kids!.

I feel like the study is a bit misleading. At first it could very well make people think that cow’s milk naturally contains vitamin D, so plant milks should be avoided. But vitamin D is added in cow’s milk in the process. Why not add vitamin D to all vegetable ‘milks’ and problem solved.

Most of the body’s vitamin D stores arise from exposure to sunlight, which converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3. Places where there is not enough sunlight for the body to make vitamin D need to fortify foods to optimize health.

Earth’s Own soy and almond milks contain 45 per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D per 250 millilitres, the same amount contained in cow’s milk.

 
October 19, 2014 6:03 pm
"If you don’t speak up against violence,
violence will speak for you."

Eddie Mah
 
October 17, 2014 10:05 pm

"If you think that mock meats are problematic, what are your feelings about soy "ice cream"?"

Gary Francione’s reply:

As I have said many times, I am not saying that there is anything inherently immoral about consuming any of these foods. What I have said is that “mock” animal foods perpetuate the idea that animal flesh and animal products *are* food. We need to move away from that thinking. I have stated that all foods that seek to imitate the taste and texture of “animal foods” are problematic in this regard, particularly when they are marketed with animal-food names.

Let me say again—because many “animal people” appear either to not understand what I say or to misrepresent it intentionally—I am *not* saying that there is anything inherently immoral about consuming any of these foods. I am raising a question about perpetuating a speciesist paradigm.

 
9:52 pm
"We can all agree that animal cruelty is both horrifying, unnecessary and wrong. And yet most people sit down to a meal three times a day consisting of the bodies or secretions of animals violently brutalized, wear shoes or coats from the skin or hair of brutalized animals, purchase tickets to zoos, circuses and other forms of entertainment formed by animal cruelty or purchase household cleaners and cosmetics that are the result of years of the brutalization of other animals in cages. If one is truly against animal cruelty, one is compelled to veganism."

The Thinking Vegan
 
October 16, 2014 8:21 pm
A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

"We plant more than 90 million acres of corn, and it’s in huge surplus. And it’s not even food. What if we planted actual food instead? Take corn, and add in other giant crops that basically just feed animals—crops like soybeans, barley, hay, sorghum—and two-thirds of U.S. farmland goes to animal feed.
Such a small portion of our land goes to grow actual food that people consume, that if we really wanted to increase that supply, it would be pretty easy. The trick would be convincing the country — and other countries that import animal feed from the U.S.— to go vegan.”

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

"We plant more than 90 million acres of corn, and it’s in huge surplus. And it’s not even food. What if we planted actual food instead? Take corn, and add in other giant crops that basically just feed animals—crops like soybeans, barley, hay, sorghum—and two-thirds of U.S. farmland goes to animal feed.

Such a small portion of our land goes to grow actual food that people consume, that if we really wanted to increase that supply, it would be pretty easy. The trick would be convincing the country — and other countries that import animal feed from the U.S.— to go vegan.

 
October 14, 2014 1:33 pm

(Source: facebook.com)

 
12:59 pm

Do Chimpanzees, Dolphins, and Elephants Matter More?

There is a tendency amongst some animal advocates to associate nonhuman personhood with animals, such as chimpanzees, dolphins, and elephants, who have more sophisticated–that is, humanlike–cognitive abilities. I would suggest that, for purposes of determining whom it is appropriate to treat as a replaceable resource, that is wholly arbitrary. Cognitive abilities may be relevant for some purposes but not for this purpose.

Consider a human example: Mary is a brilliant historian; Joe is severely mentally disabled. Is the difference in cognitive ability relevant? Yes, for the purpose of determining whom to appoint as a history professor; no for the purpose of determining whom to use as a forced organ donor or as a nonconsenting subject of a biomedical experiment. We should not use either Mary or Joe for those purposes.

What is morally relevant is sentience, or having subjective awareness. And most of the animals we routinely exploit every day–the cows, pigs, chickens, and fish–are sentient. If these animals have any moral value, we cannot justify treating them as resources, and we can never do so in the absence of compulsion or necessity. And we already recognize this on some level.

Most of us consume animals and animal products, which involve imposing horrible suffering and violent death even under the most “humane” circumstances. What justification do we have for imposing this suffering and death? We do not need to eat animal foods to be healthy. And animal agriculture is an ecological disaster. Our best justification: palate pleasure.

In an essay I wrote in 2005 for The New Scientist, I argued that the idea that those animals who deserve to be considered as nonhuman persons are those “special” animals who are more “like us”–chimpanzees, dolphins, elephants, etc.–is, not surprisingly, embraced by those who want to claim that only some animals, the “higher” ones, matter morally and that it’s still okay to keep eating “lower” animals. This way of thinking about animal ethics is similar to saying that people of color with lighter skin matter more than those with darker skin. They are more “like us” where “us” refers to the racist norm that being white is what’s right.

To say that the animals who matter more morally are those who are “like us” is nothing more than the reinforcement of speciesism and not a refutation of it. As far as morality is concerned, a chicken weighs as much an elephant.

It is time to rethink animal ethics in a more fundamental way.

*****

If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University

 
October 11, 2014 2:16 pm
"

Many animal people, including some who identify themselves as “abolitionists,” think that the issue is “hurting” animals. That is problematic because it feeds into the idea that the issue is treatment is not use. Any use of animals, including uses that do not “hurt” them, involve *harming* them.

We need to be clear: it does not matter how “humanely” animals are treated, animal use harms animals and is unjust. Sure, more suffering is worse than less, but any use of animals, including uses that involve killing that is relatively painless, is wrong.

"

Gary L. Francione
 
12:38 pm October 10, 2014 11:39 am
When people say ‘they don’t agree with veganism and think it’s just a belief…’
"Do any of the following statements feel true for you?
“I believe that torture is wrong.”
"Violence is not cool."
“I believe that abuse and cruelty are wrong.”
“I believe that slavery is wrong.” “I believe you shouldn’t have to kill sentient beings (humans, other animals) when it is not necessary.” “I believe it’s unethical to pay someone else to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself for moral reasons.”
"I believe that it’s bad to waste resources, I believe that it’s good to protect the environment, I believe that it’s important to be healthy."
Old beliefs that don’t serve us MUST GO: “it’s necessary/healthy to eat animals,” and “it’s too hard to change my lifestyle/make different decisions.” Make choices that actually line up with what you already believe and know to be true.
Changing behavior in light of new evidence is how every sentient being on this planet learns.  So it seems strange to me that when we discover a new truth, we can be so resistant to acting on it.

In light of what we need to be healthy and what our planet can actually provide, adopting a plant-based diet just makes sense. It doesn’t have to be a radical gesture. There’s no great conversion to be made. It’s simply a logical realignment.”
Source
And now for the FACTS. Let’s start once again with:
Eggs and dairy – telling the truth

“Vegetarianism is a diet and the significance of this will, I hope, become clear as you read on. Until I found out about veganism, I had a nagging but unexamined notion that my consumption of eggs and dairy had to be done in an ethical manner, so I always chose ‘organic’ and ‘free-range’. Looking back, it will always mystify me why I was able to recognise the moral significance of my victims to the extent that I realised the need to try to reduce their suffering, but I was somehow incapable of doing the tiny amount of research that it eventually took in this age of Google to realise that:

contrary to what many believe, all ‘products’ derived from the bodies of sentient creatures result in unspeakable suffering and in their premature death;
all dairy and egg production takes place as a result of brutal manipulation of the reproductive processes of sentient creatures;
humans have no nutritional or other need to enslave other beings and consume their secretions;
labels such as ‘free-range’ and ‘organic’ are marketing ploys to dupe consumers into believing their choices are ethical when in fact from the perspective of the innocent victim, they are meaningless;
there is at least as much – if not more - suffering and death involved in the production of eggs and dairy as there is in the production of flesh ‘products’;
it is an oxymoron to contend that humans may exploit other beings in a ‘humane’ manner.

The definition of vegetarianism promotes speciesism

The situation is not helped at all by the explanation of the word ‘vegetarian’ provided by the ‘Vegetarian Society‘.  This definition is unfortunately the standard which the majority of suppliers of ‘vegetarian’ food seem to follow. This is particularly true of supermarket chill or freezer cabinets where packaging will frequently announce that ‘free range’ eggs have been used, or ‘organic’ milk.

In essence, this use simply enforces and legitimises the speciesism that allows consumers to continue to perpetuate unspeakable suffering and misery upon chickens, other egg ‘providers’, cows and goats. It deliberately disregards the violence that is the backbone of any ‘industry’ that commodifies sentient beings as human resources. It is particularly upsetting that these products are being sold to many who try so hard to be ethical consumers and who carefully avoid consuming the flesh of others.

I have frequently seen the contention that vegetarianism ‘is a step on the way to becoming vegan’. That may be the case, provided that the person knows about, and is transitioning to veganism. The progression is, however, by no means automatic. Some people stop at vegetarianism, never realising the truth.

What veganism is – a reminder

This is the point at which it must be stressed that another element to the confusion is the perception of veganism as a diet.  It is not a diet. At the risk of repeating myself, veganism is an ethical stance that rejects the use or consumption of all beings for food, clothing, entertainment, testing or any other purpose whatsoever. It is the most simple and easily understood ethic that it is possible to imagine. There are no complex rules or provisions to memorise. If a product or practice utilises or is derived from the body of another being, a vegan rejects consumption, use or participation. What vegans eat is a consequence of their ethical stance, not the main event.

Back to dairy and eggs

As a vegan advocate, I have deliberately chosen not to explore here the health and environmental implications of ending all nonhuman use. Why?  Because I promote veganism for my nonhuman friends and kin who need my voice, not for what we as humans can get out of our ceasing to exploit them. Nevertheless, the same cursory use of Google will reveal the horrific truth to any serious enquirer.

Please see below a compilation of links that most eloquently illustrate why dairy and egg use is so insidious. The suffering and anguish of these sweet and gentle mothers and their innocent babies is not ‘opinion’, it is a fact. To continue to use the results of the brutal manipulation of the reproductive processes of these helpless and vulnerable victims of human self indulgence is not a ‘choice’ because choices do not create victims.

What’s wrong with eggs?

‘A sentient being’s body and its secretions are not things for us to eat, any more than a human being’s body and its secretions are things for us to eat. Consuming eggs (even from rescued chickens), or giving them away to people who would otherwise buy eggs from battery caged hens, does not “reduce suffering”, it legitimizes suffering, it demands suffering, It perpetuates suffering by condoning the very practice of violence we are struggling to end.
The hen may not know that her suffering body, her unfreedom, her isolation, and every misery in her life is inflicted intentionally, systematically, and solely for the sensory gratification of humans, but you do.
She may not know that the fertilized egg that brought her into existence was the result of confinement and rape, or that hens like her are the product of mass infanticide, but you do. She may not know that the cost of killing male infants, “spent” breeding parents and “spent” hens is built into the price of eggs, but you do. She may not know that, if we became vegan, the horrors that she and her kind are forced to endure would end, but you do.
Act on that knowledge. Become vegan and educate others about the violence and injustice inherent in all non-vegan choices. Rescue (don’t buy) chickens and other animals, respect their lives, and please remember to always give the eggs back to the birds: They are, after all, the only rightful owners.’
~The Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary


I have lost count of the number of posts that I have seen, seeking to justify the use of eggs in particular, where ‘backyard’ egg production is frequently promoted. The essential thing to stress is that all use of eggs, wherever they come from, perpetuates the false notion of eggs as human ‘food’, thus ensuring the continuation of the abhorrent practice that is all egg production, with the billions of completely unnecessary annual deaths that this entails.

Peaceful Prairie: The Free Range Myth
What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs 1:
What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs 2
A Hen’s Relationship with her Eggs
Backyard Chicken Farming Leads to Abandoned Hens
Cage-Free? Not free enough
Backyard chickens: Expanding our understanding of ‘harm’ 

 What’s wrong with dairy?

‘It is impossible to separate our use of animals as economic resources from our exploitation of their reproductive systems.  After all, there would be no animal industries (whether on a small or a large scale), without ongoing breeding and birthing. When domesticated animals become mothers, their children belong to someone else, and not only are they nearly always separated from their young shortly after birth, but they have no power whatsoever over the future their child will be forced to endure. Although this is true for all animals living under the oppressive regime of human control (from ‘layer’ hens to ‘pet’ dogs), nowhere is it more apparent or more brutal than with cows being used for dairy production.’ ~ Angel Flinn


Mother’s Milk
Happy Cows: Behind the Myth
The Humane Animal Farming Myth
Milk comes from a Grieving Mother
10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know 

Please become vegan and live true to the values that you already hold.

Your only regret will be that it took you so long.”
Veganism is a way of living, a lifestyle, which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, ALL forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

When people say ‘they don’t agree with veganism and think it’s just a belief…’

"Do any of the following statements feel true for you?

“I believe that torture is wrong.”

"Violence is not cool."

“I believe that abuse and cruelty are wrong.”

“I believe that slavery is wrong.”
“I believe you shouldn’t have to kill sentient beings (humans, other animals) when it is not necessary.”
“I believe it’s unethical to pay someone else to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself for moral reasons.”

"I believe that it’s bad to waste resources, I believe that it’s good to protect the environment, I believe that it’s important to be healthy."

Old beliefs that don’t serve us MUST GO: “it’s necessary/healthy to eat animals,” and “it’s too hard to change my lifestyle/make different decisions.” Make choices that actually line up with what you already believe and know to be true.

Changing behavior in light of new evidence is how every sentient being on this planet learns.  So it seems strange to me that when we discover a new truth, we can be so resistant to acting on it.

In light of what we need to be healthy and what our planet can actually provide, adopting a plant-based diet just makes sense. It doesn’t have to be a radical gesture. There’s no great conversion to be made. It’s simply a logical realignment.”

Source

And now for the FACTS. Let’s start once again with:

Eggs and dairy – telling the truth

  • contrary to what many believe, all ‘products’ derived from the bodies of sentient creatures result in unspeakable suffering and in their premature death;
  • all dairy and egg production takes place as a result of brutal manipulation of the reproductive processes of sentient creatures;
  • humans have no nutritional or other need to enslave other beings and consume their secretions;
  • labels such as ‘free-range’ and ‘organic’ are marketing ploys to dupe consumers into believing their choices are ethical when in fact from the perspective of the innocent victim, they are meaningless;
  • there is at least as much – if not more - suffering and death involved in the production of eggs and dairy as there is in the production of flesh ‘products’;
  • it is an oxymoron to contend that humans may exploit other beings in a ‘humane’ manner.

The definition of vegetarianism promotes speciesism

The situation is not helped at all by the explanation of the word ‘vegetarian’ provided by the ‘Vegetarian Society‘.  This definition is unfortunately the standard which the majority of suppliers of ‘vegetarian’ food seem to follow. This is particularly true of supermarket chill or freezer cabinets where packaging will frequently announce that ‘free range’ eggs have been used, or ‘organic’ milk.

In essence, this use simply enforces and legitimises the speciesism that allows consumers to continue to perpetuate unspeakable suffering and misery upon chickens, other egg ‘providers’, cows and goats. It deliberately disregards the violence that is the backbone of any ‘industry’ that commodifies sentient beings as human resources. It is particularly upsetting that these products are being sold to many who try so hard to be ethical consumers and who carefully avoid consuming the flesh of others.

I have frequently seen the contention that vegetarianism ‘is a step on the way to becoming vegan’. That may be the case, provided that the person knows about, and is transitioning to veganism. The progression is, however, by no means automatic. Some people stop at vegetarianism, never realising the truth.

What veganism is – a reminder

This is the point at which it must be stressed that another element to the confusion is the perception of veganism as a diet.  It is not a diet. At the risk of repeating myself, veganism is an ethical stance that rejects the use or consumption of all beings for food, clothing, entertainment, testing or any other purpose whatsoever. It is the most simple and easily understood ethic that it is possible to imagine. There are no complex rules or provisions to memorise. If a product or practice utilises or is derived from the body of another being, a vegan rejects consumption, use or participation. What vegans eat is a consequence of their ethical stance, not the main event.

Back to dairy and eggs

As a vegan advocate, I have deliberately chosen not to explore here the health and environmental implications of ending all nonhuman use. Why?  Because I promote veganism for my nonhuman friends and kin who need my voice, not for what we as humans can get out of our ceasing to exploit them. Nevertheless, the same cursory use of Google will reveal the horrific truth to any serious enquirer.

Please see below a compilation of links that most eloquently illustrate why dairy and egg use is so insidious. The suffering and anguish of these sweet and gentle mothers and their innocent babies is not ‘opinion’, it is a fact. To continue to use the results of the brutal manipulation of the reproductive processes of these helpless and vulnerable victims of human self indulgence is not a ‘choice’ because choices do not create victims.

What’s wrong with eggs?

‘A sentient being’s body and its secretions are not things for us to eat, any more than a human being’s body and its secretions are things for us to eat. Consuming eggs (even from rescued chickens), or giving them away to people who would otherwise buy eggs from battery caged hens, does not “reduce suffering”, it legitimizes suffering, it demands suffering, It perpetuates suffering by condoning the very practice of violence we are struggling to end.

The hen may not know that her suffering body, her unfreedom, her isolation, and every misery in her life is inflicted intentionally, systematically, and solely for the sensory gratification of humans, but you do.

She may not know that the fertilized egg that brought her into existence was the result of confinement and rape, or that hens like her are the product of mass infanticide, but you do. She may not know that the cost of killing male infants, “spent” breeding parents and “spent” hens is built into the price of eggs, but you do. She may not know that, if we became vegan, the horrors that she and her kind are forced to endure would end, but you do.

Act on that knowledge. Become vegan and educate others about the violence and injustice inherent in all non-vegan choices. Rescue (don’t buy) chickens and other animals, respect their lives, and please remember to always give the eggs back to the birds: They are, after all, the only rightful owners.’

~The Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

I have lost count of the number of posts that I have seen, seeking to justify the use of eggs in particular, where ‘backyard’ egg production is frequently promoted. The essential thing to stress is that all use of eggs, wherever they come from, perpetuates the false notion of eggs as human ‘food’, thus ensuring the continuation of the abhorrent practice that is all egg production, with the billions of completely unnecessary annual deaths that this entails.

 What’s wrong with dairy?

‘It is impossible to separate our use of animals as economic resources from our exploitation of their reproductive systems.  After all, there would be no animal industries (whether on a small or a large scale), without ongoing breeding and birthing. When domesticated animals become mothers, their children belong to someone else, and not only are they nearly always separated from their young shortly after birth, but they have no power whatsoever over the future their child will be forced to endure. Although this is true for all animals living under the oppressive regime of human control (from ‘layer’ hens to ‘pet’ dogs), nowhere is it more apparent or more brutal than with cows being used for dairy production.’ ~ Angel Flinn

Please become vegan and live true to the values that you already hold.

Your only regret will be that it took you so long.”

Veganism is a way of living, a lifestyle, which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, ALL forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

 
October 9, 2014 2:30 pm
Our Hen House : Be the Deal Breaker: Multiply Your Influence at Non-Vegan Restaurants

"In our ideal vegan world, every restaurant would be totally plant-based, and animal products would be a nightmare from the past. And, on the road to progress for our ideal world, wouldn’t it be nice if, at the very least, menus included multiple options for those of us wishing to ditch the cruelty from our cuisine? Wouldn’t it be great to see a menu listing those dishes that could easily be made vegan, with clear labeling to help us decide on the farro risotto or the broccoli frittata? Because that is too rarely the case (for now), it is our duty as vegans to encourage restaurants to begin making steps in the vegan direction. This is sometimes referred to as food activism. And it’s easier than you think.

With vegans making up such a small fraction of society, and therefore of a restaurant’s clientele, how can we influence these non-vegan restaurants to expand their offerings in a compassionate direction? To start, we can call ahead, even when we really don’t feel like bothering. Even better, we can position ourselves as the “deal breakers.” By that, I mean that we can multiply our influence by making it clear that not only our business, but that of our entire party, is contingent upon whether the restaurant can offer vegan options … plural.

Case in point: I recently went to a friend’s birthday brunch at an upscale restaurant in NYC. As my friends and I were forming the plans, I jumped at the chance to make the reservation. The birthday girl was relieved to hand over the party planner hat, and she said that if her eatery of choice wouldn’t serve up a vegan meal, we could go somewhere else that would.

A quick search of the restaurant’s menu online turned up no vegan options at her destination of choice, aside from half of a grapefruit, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I let their reservationist know right off the bat that I wanted to make a reservation for six people, but only if they could accommodate a vegan diner. In other words, if they couldn’t offer vegan options for one of us, they were going to lose the business of all six. I was the deal breaker.

Not wanting to risk losing a party of six (cha-ching!), the reservationist was clearly paying attention. I explained what vegan means, and asked what options they could offer to accommodate. She told me they had been getting a lot of vegan requests recently, as “it seems to be a popular choice” (indeed!), but she’d have to call me back after speaking with the chef. Before we got off the phone, I made it a point to suggest offering vegan options permanently on the menu and clearly labeling them as such, because, after all, as they experienced for themselves, there is growing demand for plant-based meals.

That was the first of several conversations I had with the reservationist, including one the night before our brunch. As luck (and a little relentlessness on my part) would have it, the chef was happy to offer vegan options, and even told me in advance what they would be – the aforementioned grapefruit, two hearty salads to choose from, and vegan chili. Perhaps this wasn’t the gourmet vegan meal I had hoped for, but it was definitely progress.

By the time I walked into the restaurant, the reservationist and I were practically BFFs. As my friends and I were being seated, the host and the server both made a point to welcome the vegan in the party – or, as our server said, the “person of the vegan persuasion.” So far, so good …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it came time to order, I happily decided on the chili and one of the salads – all the while mentally patting myself on the back for my superb preparation. No picking at grapefruit for me – or so I thought. A few minutes later, the host came to the table to break the news: They couldn’t make vegan chili after all. The morning chef had prepped every dish with cheese on top, not having seen the note from the night before. There was a “breakdown in communication,” she said as the server stood behind her mouthing “I am so sorry!” Seriously?

I guess you thought this was going to be a story about how easy being the deal breaker is and how it always goes according to plan. Well, sadly, not so. As I polished off my double salad and half of a grapefruit, I was glad I brought along a few energy bars in my bag (a vegan’s lifesaver!). The most disappointing part of the day was not the rabbit food I wound up eating (truth be told, I’m a fan of 1970s-esque hippie grub like sprouts and trail mix). Rather, it was the fact that my meager meal made veganism look inaccessible and barren to my dining mates – which, of course, it is anything but.

Veganism is full of abundance and vitality. The day I learned about what happens to animals behind closed doors – and in one fell swoop decided to go vegan – not only was I able to finally live a life in accordance with my ethics, but my palate was hugely expanded to new cuisines, tastes that I had never before been privy to. I knew that was true, even though my lunch of lettuce did not make my point very well.

I also knew that my work with this restaurant was not over.

A few days later, I called the restaurant again. Even though I intended to be on my very best behavior (veganism need not be defined by angry, reluctant salad munchers), there was no way I could just let this slide. I was, after all, supposed to be the deal breaker. But before I could say very much at all, the general manager jumped on the phone, instantly apologetic. He told me that there were “repercussions in the kitchen” because of the restaurant’s “hugely embarrassing mistake.” He said they often cater to vegans, “more and more each day.” I politely reiterated my suggestion of adding vegan options to the menu and clearly labeling them as such. I appreciate how seriously the manager seemed to take the incident.

The whole experience indeed left me a little hungry, but not entirely surprised. Being the deal breaker doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your way, even if all signs indicate such. The important thing here is speaking up and asking for what we want and, when setbacks happen – and they will – trying to turn them into opportunities.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 1.31.37 PMI should know. As a business owner (a fifth-generation candy maker, to be precise) who was introduced to veganism because of consumers speaking up to me, I have experienced the benefits of this firsthand. In short, some of our customers wanted to know if our candy was vegan – which, happily, it is. So, after hearing from these ethically minded consumers of ours, my colleagues and I decided to add a page to our website highlighting our product’s vegan-friendliness. As I researched which issues to cover on the vegan landing page of our site, I found myself waking up to the cruel realities of animal agriculture. As a result, I went vegan, too. It really was that simple.

And so, I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum with this. I’ve been the deal breaker, and, prior to my “vegan enlightenment,” I’ve been the businessperson dealing with the deal breakers, trying to cater to their needs. In the process, I changed my life. Now, I want to change the world.

Lesson learned: When it comes to increasing vegan options on menus, we must all use our voices, show that there is demand, and reach out to restaurant owners in a friendly, nonjudgmental, supportive way. Frankly, it might not always work. But even when it doesn’t work, we are still planting seeds for compassionate cuisine.

When it comes to making sure restaurants have vegan options, here are some tips on being the deal breaker:

  1. State your case, nicely. Be friendly, and be clear that the business brought by your entire group (that means money!) depends on the restaurant offering vegan options.
  2. Assume nothing. Don’t assume they will remember you from your phone call last week. Don’t assume they will make a salad without cheese (even if they said they would). Which brings me to …
  3. Call. Call again. And again. One more time the night before? How about the day of? Sometimes you have to be relentless. Your friendliness and determination might just result in a seitan scaloppini (or at least more than a salad and fries). Plus, by then, the restaurant will probably know what vegan means.
  4. Call yet again! Remember, this is not just about you and your lunch. Being the deal breaker is about changing the world for animals, one restaurant at a time. After your meal is over, call the restaurant yet again, thank them for accommodating you, and then urge them to make the vegan option a mainstay on the menu. You can use their Twitter or Facebook page to talk about the delicious vegan option they gave you, thus proving to others that they, too, can try vegan on for size. (Commenting like this can also be an effective way of expressing any disappointment you might have had, though it’s important to simultaneously offer a possible solution.)
  5. Always carry reserves. No matter how well you prepare, things may still fall apart. Bring backup foods like trail mix, energy bars, or a sandwich from home. Extra food may seem like overkill when you don’t need it, but when you do, you’ll be pretty darn glad about your contingency plan.

Veganism is powerful, and its truth is compelling. I will always be grateful for those deal breakers whose voices led me down my vegan path. Perhaps my voice has helped some people take one step further on their journey to veganism, and maybe your voice will, too.

As Edward Everett Hale famously said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Do the something that you can do. Speak up for veganism. Be the deal breaker!”

 
2:05 pm
"Suede is a leather product that’s been given a soft, napped finish. Most suede comes from the belly skins of lambs, calves, young goats, and deer. Suede is far less durable than other forms of leather since it’s processed in a way that makes it prone to stains and water damage. As with all other leather products, the production of suede is based on cruel and inhumane industry practices.
It’s incorrect to assert that suede is an unwanted byproduct of animal agriculture, and that its purchase does not contribute to exploitation and to slaughter. In reality, animal pelts represent a significant portion of the value paid for a carcass, and this is especially true for suede since it’s sourced from the prime parts of some of the highest grade animal hides available. Purchasing suede is therefore comparable to purchasing meat, in that both products put money into the meat industry’s pockets.
Keep an eye out for suede in:
clothing
shoes
furniture
jackets
belts
boots
handbags
Also remember that suede can be present in hard-to-notice places like the label on jeans or in the lining of shoes.
Suede alternatives such as microfiber and microsuede are easy to find and generally have superior durability and water resistance. Look for “vegan,” “faux,” and “man-made” labels on tags.”

"Suede is a leather product that’s been given a soft, napped finish. Most suede comes from the belly skins of lambs, calves, young goats, and deer. Suede is far less durable than other forms of leather since it’s processed in a way that makes it prone to stains and water damage. As with all other leather products, the production of suede is based on cruel and inhumane industry practices.

It’s incorrect to assert that suede is an unwanted byproduct of animal agriculture, and that its purchase does not contribute to exploitation and to slaughter. In reality, animal pelts represent a significant portion of the value paid for a carcass, and this is especially true for suede since it’s sourced from the prime parts of some of the highest grade animal hides available. Purchasing suede is therefore comparable to purchasing meat, in that both products put money into the meat industry’s pockets.

Keep an eye out for suede in:

  • clothing
  • shoes
  • furniture
  • jackets
  • belts
  • boots
  • handbags

Also remember that suede can be present in hard-to-notice places like the label on jeans or in the lining of shoes.

Suede alternatives such as microfiber and microsuede are easy to find and generally have superior durability and water resistance. Look for “vegan,” “faux,” and “man-made” labels on tags.”

 
October 8, 2014 10:51 am
"

Why worry about global warming, genocides, people starving in Africa and animal rights? It’s so much easier to simply not care.That’s why many hate vegans, those stupid people who care too much. When you believe that you don’t care, it’s easy to ride a meh-horse and ridicule the people who actually face the truth and allow themselves to feel it.

Look at the state of the world. Maybe the reason so much horror exists is because of the billions of us who stand on the sidelines, unable to cope with a terrible truth. And those who speak the truth get marginalized and pushed out of society’s consciousness. Any representations or personifications of the repressed emotions are mocked, even hated. Just remember that when you encounter these people, the truth hurts them so much that they can’t take it, so have compassion.

"

VeganChowhound