Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 06 »
Dian asks: I did the Cancer Research UK “Relay for Life” two years ago, and since then I’ve gone vegan. I’ve just been asked to join a team this year, and I agreed—until I realised, wait a minute. Research. Animal testing. According to their website, they only test on animals when they absolutely have to, as a last resort, and they no longer use monkeys, or dogs, or anything like that. But they do still test on animals. At the same time, they do amazing work. I don’t know what to do! It’s a lose-lose situation, I’ll feel awful if I do it, and money I raise goes towards testing on animals; and I’ll feel awful if I say “No, actually, I can’t help you raise money, because I’m vegan.” I realise there are other cancer research charities that do not test on animals, but CRUK is the main one here. I don’t know what to do.
Oh, Dian, my heart breaks for you. First, good on you for running. That is an exercise I cannot do; I get shin splints immediately. But moving on: I know how it feels to have to weigh one evil against another. You could say that the main point of this column is, “Hey, at least we’re trying,” and I’m going to offer a variation of that here. I did some digging, and while you’re right about CRUK being predominant in your corner of the world, there are a few other options to hit the pavement and raise money benefiting people who have cancer. Many charities do not fund research but rather promote awareness, support, and care for people with cancer, none of which involves animal testing. I know it’s not the same as cancer research, but it seems that you’d be hard pressed to find cancer research that does not test on animals; hell, stateside it’s hard to find cancer charities that don’t hate women and their ladybusiness! That might be a good compromise. This is what I would do if I were in your running shoes. Here is a big fat list. Good luck!
Patty asks: I had a “friend” ask me what I couldn’t help but feel was a really “weird” question. He asked how vegans can really consider themselves vegan since, as he put it, “Vegetables are grown in animal sh*t.” He was totally asking this question in the vein of “catching” me in some way, and it was more of a statement question. I could not answer him. I thought that I could go look up and learn about fertilizers and growing, but then I thought I’d ask you what you think, know, etc., both about the fertilizer aspect, but also, how I maybe could have responded to this.
Yeesh, Patty, this is a rough one, quite the dilemma, yesiree. My research is inconclusive, but I do know that people who feel threatened by our dietary choices try to make themselves feel better by pointing out what they see as inconsistencies. There are “veganic” veggies—those grown without any animal products whatsoever. My response to a question like that, quite frankly, would be, “Go fuck yourself,” but in more eloquent terms, it would be something along the lines of, “If you go to that level of commitment and compassion in your diet, then we can talk about where the fertilizer used to grow my vegetables comes from. Sucka.” [Ed. note: I’d also like to add that being vegan is about doing as little harm to animals as possible. It’s not about being perfect!]
Matthew asks (via Twitter, @mattheworbit): Omnis have a prob with us giving non-vegan names to vegan food items. How should we get around this?
As Jenny Bradley put it, “Omnis have another problem with us?” Yes, it’s true, the list of problems people think they have with vegans is never-ending. In this case, we don’t have any sort of burden of proof; we don’t have to get around it. Half the time we put a disclaimer in there anyway, right? “Tofu dog,” “soy yogurt,” etc. If omnis don’t like what we’re calling our food, they can shove off; there are a lot more important issues to worry about than renaming seitan barbecue wings something that omnis are more comfortable with. Because you know our lives and dietary choices are primarily to make others comfortable, right? Christ, I can’t stand this kind of bullshit. Omnis can call their pile of chicken nuggets “kale salad” if they want. I don’t give a fuck, so long as I don’t have to eat it.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
[Photo credit: John Baxter via Flickr]