Friday, January 4, 2013

In Defense of The Fence

This is one of my favorite Tim Minchin songs and has been from the instant I heard it. I have wanted to write a blog post about it for a long time, but have been putting it off for several reasons. One is that I'm not sure this video should be on YouTube. For a long time, every time it was posted on YouTube, it got taken down. This one has been up for four months, so I think it is actually up for good, and I'm going to try to use it. I like this one, because it has the talky intro, which is funny and poignant.

I'll be honest. I'm not super knowledgeable about Che Guevara. I did a bit of research and it would appear he was a bit of a homophobe...apparently. I do really like the Dalai Lama though. I like that guy on Facebook and follow him on Twitter so I can read his soundbites galore. Right now I'm reading his book, "Beyond Religion". Here is a picture of me sitting on a fence holding a picture of the Dalai Lama.

So nobody (nor the history of any religion, OBVIOUSLY) is perfect. "It's not that simple."

My personal "fence" issue right now is vegetarianism/ veganism. I've been vegetarian since I was 10. I do not want to eat animals. I love animals. It has nothing to do with how intelligent/ cute/ social they are. I cannot imagine eating an animal. I don't understand why some people love certain animals and eat others. It has never made sense to me. I'm not judgmental about people's choices. I live with carnivores. I just won't buy meat or cook meat, and I won't eat meat. I am very consistent about it and don't eat meat broth or gelatin and always check ingredients. It is very important to me and I feel strongly about it.

I realize this is hypocritical because I do eat eggs and dairy. I do realize that these cause horrific suffering and death of animals. I have struggled with this for a long time, but have not committed to being vegan. It is slightly because of health reasons, but more honestly it is because I love eggs, and cheese, and milk, and cream, and butter, and ice cream, and all the wonderful things made with them.

I am so close to making a step in the right direction. I do get my milk and eggs for my house at a local farm. I go there and see the happy chickens and cows out running around and eating grass. I know they are treated well and live good lives. (No, I don't know what happens to the male chicks or the male calves. "The more you know, the harder you will find it to make up your mind...") I'm wondering if I can commit to being vegan outside of my home (where I don't know the origins of the animal products I consume) and allow myself to have my milk and eggs and the delicious things I make with them at home (where I know they come from animals treated humanely). It seems like a good (but still difficult) compromise, and I hope I can muster the strength to do it. And I realize it's not perfect. It's not black and white and I'm still sitting on the fence.

"You can’t see what grass is greener
Chances are it’s neither
And either way, it’s easier
To see the difference
When you’re sitting on the fence."


  1. I'm cutting down on meat/dairy/eggs as much as I can for health & fitness, but also because I really don't like contributing to the suffering of animals. It's much easier these days to choose vegetarian (much more 'mainstream' now) so I find it hard to justify eating meat when I really don't have to.
    But, geez, eggs and milk and cheese are in freakin' EVERYthing. It is my hope that this is a continuing trend; that as 'easy' as it is now to find vegetarian options, it will be just as easy in the near future to find vegan ones.
    Says the woman who is making a living growing animal feed and raising bees. (But, at least with the bees, they're not being killed for the honey! And supposedly being a beekeeper is HELPING the honeybee population so... there is that. Am I justifying again?)

  2. I'm not a vegetarian, but don't eat meat more than one or two times a week.

    To add more to your view from the fence. You also have to consider that animals die to bring you your vegan food as well. Pesticides harm more than the insects they are meant to kill -- small rodents and other animals must be kept out of the farms as well. Even organic has it's deaths -- I know the owner of a local organic farm, and they let a lady with a falcon (a falconer?) come and have the falcon catch the rodents in the fields. It's organic, but animals are still suffering for our vegetables. I know the suffering level in conventional meat production is much higher, so then the question goes back to humanly treating/killing the animals versus cruelty.

  3. Liza, yes, you are helping the honeybees! (And your honey is so good.)

    Rebecca, I know. Those things seem unavoidable if I want to eat and survive I guess, save being totally self-sufficient and growing everything on my own.

    I also sometimes question my "non-judgmental" personal choice stance about not "preaching" about this issue. I do think it is a very personal decision. I'm sure my friends and family would tell anyone that I do my own thing and don't make others uncomfortable with my vegetarianism. But maybe I'm wrong in that. Maybe I am just scared. If I really cared for the animals, wouldn't I want to do more for their plight? Why do I take a stand against racisim, child abuse, etc., but not this? These victims cannot speak for themselves in any way. Why don't I try to speak for them? Ugh.:(