Inordinate Ordnance - A Vegan at the Dinner Table
Tuesday, July 15, 20141 Comment
“It’s just horrible,” he said, through mouthfuls of whitish meat, “the way some people treat animals. When I see the trucks passing by with the pigs in it—their snouts poking out the slots—I just want to slash the tires and free them all. But they just taste so good."
This was the sentiment of one person I recently had the pleasure of eating dinner with. He ate chicken, and pasta, I think, in some sort of off-yellow sauce.
At the time, he had also referred to what I had been eating as, “rabbit food” with a half smirk, eagerly waiting to get a rise from me. I granted him, as I always do, a polite smile, a feigned titter of laughter as I lifted another vegetable into my mouth.
It happens all the time. “More meat for me then,” they say leaning over their family members to another helping of animal in the center of the table. “It’s natural to eat meat.” They say through clinically-whitened teeth.
It’s getting harder and harder to plaster my polite smiles. My fake smirks are starting to rust. My customary, “oh you” sound bite is beginning to turn sour on my tongue.
As someone who abstains from eating the flesh and excretions of animals, this is the reality I face. With every gathering comes the customary jokes at the expense of me, the vegan bleeding heart, content with his steamed greens and myriad bean medleys.
“Why don’t you eat meat?” they always ask. My response is to politely put down my fork, inhale deeply, and look at them intently. Their usual response is to bite back their questions, wanting desperately for me not to spoil their recently barbequed animals.
And this is where I stand. I sit, at some part of the dinning table, peacefully abstaining from animal oppression. I have knowingly and purposefully sought out the literature and information on factory farming and have chosen to not take part in needless suffering.
I think this is where the questions come from. I sit, broccoli firmly atop my fork, as a reminder to all the carnivores around the table that what they are taking part in is bad. They’d rather not think about the suffering committed in the name of Sweet Baby Ray’s and smokehouse flavour. I remind them, and I think, they secretly hate me for it.
It is the gang mentality. If you aren’t with us, you’re against us. My vegetable preference is a defiant example of my stand against their woefully misguided habits. I do not blame them, it was how they were raised. They see nothing wrong with it. A steak dinner is like going to church for some; they do it because their parents did, and their parents before them.
It is ingrained in them. We teach our children to not see pigs, but instead, “pork”; not cow, but that’s “beef” between those sesame seed buns. The commodification of animals—and all massive forms of oppression for that matter—always start with language. Like any prejudice, when we cease to understand how they really are, we cease to understand how they should be treated.
Consider the word “livestock” for a second. It means stock of living things. If these were human beings, the world’s leaders would be addressing it. But instead they too tuck into the oppression with every meal.
It is how we see these animals that seems to dictate how we treat these animals. That’s why me and thousands like me want to be seen at your dinner tables, as a reminder that partaking in consuming animals is completely ethically deplorable. Any word to the contrary seems to stem from this learned oppression, so it largely isn’t even known by the oppressor.
So bring on the snarky remarks. The hardy har-hars that keep my eyes permanently rolling and my plate smeared with hummus. I can take it. Just like every other person out there who has made the same stand against suffering as I have. We can take the jabs, the “hilarity”, because deep down, we’re just trying to be better.
Can your actions say the same?