Learn more about Mike Ness at peta2.com
After seeing this video from peta2.com, Mike Ness has been bumped up to the top of my personal heroes list. I didn't know he was vegetarian and I really think it is rad that he is. I wish I had known last summer when I interviewed him for Shooting Stars Magazine bc I def would have asked him about it.
I don't like to get up on a soapbox about vegan. It's a personal decision I made back when I was 17 (I became vegetarian at 13), but I don't like to lecture people on what they should and should not do seeing as that is one of my pet peeves about organized religion.
However this whole swine flu thing kind of gets me into vegan/environmentalist mode. If we didn't consume so much meat, we wouldn't have crazy huge factory farms and if we didn't have those, we wouldn't have people interacting with swine in such close proximity for there to be a swine flu epidemic. Even my dad, who's the executive director of public health in Kane County, agreed with me on that. Not to mention, as Mike Ness points out, meat is not green. Meat creates more greenhouse gases than cars, trucks, etc combined. Your Prius does not cancel out your burger habit.
Seeing Mike Ness get out there and use his platform to explain his personal choices makes me think I might as well use mine too (though mine is much much much smaller). I'm not judging you or telling you what to do. I will never EVER do that. I'm also not interested in debating. These are my views and I have a right to them, just as you have your views and your right to them. I'm simply explaining why I've made the choices I've made. As one of my online friends Heather said the other day, it's good to speak your mind because ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power.
I became vegan because of animal rights. I saw an episode about animal testing on Degrassi Junior High when I was 10 and me and my friend Jessie started calling all the companies on the backs of our tolietry products and asking them if they tested on animals. If they did, we told them how outraged we were and we stopped buying their products.
Jessie was vegetarian, as was my friend Alison. I continued to eat meat for the usual reasons (it tasted good; I was lazy) for a few years, but they did continue to point out how the animals suffered. When I was in eighth grade, I cut into a steak, my fave food at the time, and watched the blood drip out of it. I put it in my mouth and tasted it. I was too grossed out to eat the rest. I went completely vegetarian (ie no red meat, chicken or fish) as my New Years Resolution of 1993.
When I was a junior in high school, I was getting way more into the political side of the punk scene and meeting a lot of people who were vegan including one of my dearest friends, Tai. Tai had worked on an animal rescue farm and told me the way cows and chickens were abused in the dairy and egg industry. Again, I held out for a little bit because I liked cheese and ice cream, etc, etc. But I quickly realized that my pleasure wasn't worth so much suffering and besides there were plenty of good substitutes! (Yes, I know, decent vegan cheese is really hard to find, but the Follow Your Heart brand is actually quite good and does melt and through much experimentation, I've found some homemade substitutes too!)
So my choice to become vegetarian and later vegan was based pretty much entirely on me being a sensitive, emotional, Cancer girl who couldn't stomach the idea of animals suffering. A lot of people will shrug that off and say whatever.
However, I now feel like I remain vegan because of a sense of larger responsibility. Factory farming is destroying our planet. Maybe I won't be alive to see it all go down the shitter and maybe I won't have kids, but I do have cousins and friends with adorable little babies and I want them to be able to have nice, green, safe planet to grow up on. And because of this I walk and take public transportation whenever possible and share a car and when it comes time to replace said car, it will be hybrid. I also recycle. I garden. I use energy efficient bulbs etc. But most importantly I do not eat meat or dairy.
My friend Polly and I had a great conversation while I was in Seattle (and part of the reason I miss her so is these sorts of great conversations) about how we do see the difference now between meat/dairy raised on a small farm and factory farming. I could never personally eat any animal, but if you are getting your meat/dairy from a local small farm, it's a lot different when it comes to the effects on the earth. We were also talking about her decision to eat only locally grown produce and only when it is in season. I think in Seattle, she has a bit better access to do that than I do. I was relating to her my struggles of chosing pesticide covered local produce or organic produce from across the country or in South America during the winter in Chicago when there are no farmers markets.
Anyway, I'm really going on a tangent now about environmentally friendly food. But my point is that you should think about what you eat, where it comes from, and what sort of effect it is having on the world as a whole. Less selfish actions by all of us will make the world a better place. And honestly, we are getting to the point where we need to be less selfish if we want to have a clean and healthy place to live in at all!
Okay, I'm off my soapbox and will get back to doing that fictional writing that you guys probably enjoy way more.