by Sylvia A. Winters
So I’ve done what most British people do when exposed to the slightest bit of sun: gotten burnt. I did it for a good cause, though. I was too busy listening to speeches at an animal rights protest rally to go home and put suncream on. Strange, but it seems like more people are dicks about animal rights protests. I’ve been to a few anti-austerity protests before this one, and maybe it was the size of the protest or something, because it was about 40-50 people instead of several hundred, but a good half dozen people or more were happily shouting ‘meat is normal’ and ‘I love bacon’ at us. One man did come up to bitch about Jeremy Corbyn though… Wrong protest, but nice try. Maybe people get offended and defensive because we’re not just asking for slaughterhouses to be closed, we’re asking the people we pass by to reconsider their diet, the way they live; we’re telling them outright that what they’re doing is wrong. Or maybe they’re just dicks and like to wind up the ‘snowflakes’. But eating meat isn’t normal. Not the way we do it in this country. There’s no love or respect in it. Animals are abused, they’re scared, they don’t want to die. If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a pig? For survival, I get. But it’s not something to be proud of.
An interesting sentiment hit home with me during the speeches. That just being vegan isn’t enough. Being vegan is saying ‘I want nothing to do with this cruelty, I’ll have no part in it’. It’s passive. Vegan activism is doing something to stop it. That said, I do think just the act of being vegan does something. People ask you about it, because it’s a ‘weird thing’ and they’re curious, and you can show people that you don’t just eat rabbit food, that on the weekend you’re out eating pizza and burgers and cake and ice cream (although probably not all at once). There’s a need to talk about it, to talk about what goes on and to explain your decisions, because animals have no voice of their own to speak with. I worry – I don’t want to ruin peoples’ dinner, but then maybe it should be ruined. Because what went into that dinner is grim as fuck. Most people, if they had to see all that, they wouldn’t want to eat it. At least I don’t think they would. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing though. Sometimes it’s easier to go on deceiving yourself than to acknowledge brutal truths. People don’t want to know. I think that applies to anything, really. If I want a smart phone, or a new laptop, is it easier to live without one or to just not think about the fact that child slaves are used to mine the elements that go into making them?
It’s hot again today, maybe even hotter than it was yesterday, because I woke at 9am thinking it was midday. I’m thinking up ways to keep my rats cool over the summer. This heatwave is going to last all week, so I’ve ordered some ice pods for them. Today we’ve all moved down from the attic to the living room as it’s cooler here. They’re not happy about being in their hamster cages/carriers, but needs must. I’ve got plastic tubs of water chilling in the freezer to put in the cages. Every evening free roam is occupied with pea fishing. Frozen strawberries, peas, and sweetcorn are dropped into their cages every few hours (less so on the strawberries – too high in sugar) so they’ve something cold. I’m glad of my old stone flat in weather like this – it keeps the cold in. It’s still hot, but not as hot as it could be. My rats aren’t happily running about, but they’re not about to keel over.
The other problem is the flies. I don’t know if it’s just something about living in the city centre, or if it’s because we’re fairly close to the river, but there are like twenty or more flies buzzing around our living room. In a vegan household it’s not so easy to get rid of them, either. I’ve put basil in the window, and we’ll be adding mint and cloth strips dipped in eucalyptus oil come payday, but in the meantime we just have to put up with it. They’re not harming anything, they’re just annoying as fuck. If anyone has any other cheap, cruelty-free tips, we’ll take them.
Viva – articles and resources on farming conditions and veganism.