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Happy World Vegan Day!

November 1, 2010

Happy World Vegan Day!  It’s the 66th anniversary of the term vegan, and I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss a few topics that I have a particular passion about.

1)   No one living in a house or apartment in the developed world in 2010 is 100% vegan. Let’s get that out of the way. This is for all of the devil’s advocates and naysayers who claim you’re not really a vegan because your neighborhood was built on the homes of animals, probably resulted in the death of animals, and probably was built with products that were tested on animals or have animal products in them. I ask you: Just because you cannot completely avoid harm, does that mean you shouldn’t try your level best to avoid it in the most obvious ways, and even in some others? Refraining from eating or wearing animals or their parts, or using products that you know were tested on animals (and that you can avoid) or have animal products in them (and you can avoid them), and of course refusing to participate in activities or “entertainment” that use animals goes a long way to alter the demand for such things and dictate whether or not they continue in the future. So for all of you vegans, if you became vegan yesterday or have been for decades . . .

On behalf of the planet and the creatures who (should be able to) roam it: I thank you for choosing nonviolence. I thank you for choosing justice. I thank you for doing what the vast majority of people for some reason cannot do or refuse to do, even though they know they should, and then taking the ridicule that comes with following your conscience.

While you’re eating your vegan dinner this evening, raise a glass of vegan wine (or tea or whatever) in solidarity with your fellow vegans and the sentient nonhumans whose lives depend on our choices.

2)   November is also National Adoption Month and I think that vegans should consider broadening their discussions about adopting homeless nonhuman animals to human animals. Twenty years ago, when there was still a Zero Population Growth movement to speak of, the emphasis was on having only two biological children (per couple, to replace the couple). That number has been reconsidered (read: lowered) by many who are now members of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (and the homepage has links to many questions you may have about it). The adoption of humans (and my husband and I have recently adopted one), as a principle, is similar to the adoption of dogs and cats, for me. There are so many who need families, and I feel obligated to do something about that before I create a new one.

Environmentally speaking, whether you adopt or create a child, that’s still one more person in your home, using resources. Your carbon footprint as a parent will always be larger than as a nonparent. And the same is true when you adopt animals. If the smallest carbon footprint is your goal, don’t bring anyone else into your household. But if your goal is justice for the children and animals of the world who already exist and who don’t have permanent homes, one thing you can do is adopt them. And from a vegan movement standpoint, what could be better than raising a vegan child? Also, environmentally speaking, adopting someone who already exists easily trumps creating a new person.

I’m not trying to talk anyone into parenthood. People who don’t want kids are usually pretty clear about that policy for themselves and why they are committed to it. But what I would like to do is start a discussion among vegans about adopting humans as well as nonhumans.

Finally, there is a lot of misinformation about adoption swirling around the Interwebs. From what the process looks like, to the timeline, to the costs, the reality is that there are many variations and options. And there are legitimate reasons for adopting internationally, just as there are legitimate reasons for going to the foster care system. All I ask at this point, is that if you are considering expanding your human family, consider adoption.

–The V above is from the World Vegan Day page on Facebook.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendy permalink
    November 1, 2010 9:36 am

    Good post! Thank you.
    I’m childfree and intend to remain so. My stance on people purposely creating children (especially in the wasteful west) is pretty hard (I just don’t understand anyone with political awareness bringing a new life into this world. Those who are ignorant of, say, the lack of jobs even for college graduates, the inflation vs. earning power, the increasing restrictions on freedoms in the US by our corporate government, the literal wasting of the ecosystem, I do not hold to as high a standard because, well, they’re ignorant). Sometimes I think people believe that I hate kids (well, actually I don’t know how to relate to them) but the truth is that I think having kids is an enormous responsibility, not something to be taken lightly in the least, and I have no desire to put my life on hold for someone else’s (which may be an erroneous assumption but it’s what having a kid seems like to me).

    All that said, of course I haven’t checked into adoption, but I have heard there can be some pretty obnoxious restrictions on queer couples’ adopting kids. Which makes the issue problematic for some of us. (Or it would if I wanted to have kids, but I know there are other queer partnerships where kids are wanted.)

    I don’t think all this invitro stuff is the answer (in a few generations, if there’s still a planet, with all the marriages, remarriages, and kids born to one parent and an anonymous donor, who’s to say half the population won’t be related to some extent, and no one will know?), but the lack of adoption options for queers does pose a real problem for some couples.

    Thoughts, please?

    Oh and HAPPY VEGAN DAY! Hooray for us!

  2. November 1, 2010 9:51 am

    Wendy,
    Funny you mention in vitro (using donors). I was just thinking about 20 years out, and the kids in college who could very well be related and not know it and having sex with each other. Not sure how that’s all going to play out.

    A commenter on my blog, Animal Person (I posted On Veganism and Adoption-http://www.animalperson.net/animal_person/2010/10/on-veganism-and-adoption.html ), recommended Ethica http://www.ethicanet.org/ and of course http://www.adoptuskids.org/ . Even here in Florida, there is no longer a restriction against gays adopting, so legally it’s perfectly fine. Now, whether individual agencies make it difficult is another story.

    • Wendy permalink
      November 1, 2010 9:55 am

      Oh that’s great to know! Thanks. :)

  3. November 1, 2010 10:51 am

    Wendy said, “the lack of adoption options for queers does pose a real problem for some couples.”

    For the record:
    “United States agencies’ restrictions with regard to marital status, sexual orientation, and age are generally applied only to adoptions of healthy white infants. Most United States agencies allow homosexuals, single persons, and older persons to adopt nonwhite infants.”
    http://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/Vol39/Issue4/DavisVol39No4_Maldonado.PDF
    http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/Gay%20and%20Lesbian%20%20Adoption1.html

    Adoption by gay couples is now legal in ALL states.

    I am adopting and I have to say one of the most frustrating things about the process is how very little most people know about it. They ask ridiculously offensive questions and say outrageous things all the time. (Hence, the reason I’m anon here.)

    • Wendy permalink
      November 1, 2010 11:22 am

      I perhaps didn’t preface that properly. The last time I had heard about queer couples adopting kids was several years ago. Because I don’t want kids, I haven’t looked into it and I was just trying to figure out how a person might balance personal responsibility (to kids, to self, to planet) with desires. I was not assuming that queers only want to adopt white kids.

      Sorry if I miscommunicated.

  4. November 1, 2010 8:41 pm

    My glass is raised to you Mary – Happy World Vegan Day – And thanks for all you do!

  5. November 3, 2010 6:54 pm

    Great post – I couldn’t agree more! I am a long-time vegan and my husband and I adopted our son, primarily for the reasons you mentioned. It’s nice to know there are others out there like us! :-)

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