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Vegan Atheist 40+ Parenting

skymom11mosmelbourne

I was going to change Animal Person to Vegan Atheist 40+ Parenting and come back to blogging. Doesn’t have a ring to it at all, but a young man at Whole Foods yesterday called himself an “animal person” while ordering a roast beef wrap and I thought: Note to self-must change blog name if going to resume blogging.

Hal Herzog writes about how many people who say they are vegetarians will also say they ate meat within the last 24 hours. And of course, many self-identified vegetarians eat fishes and/or chickens. A good friend said he “loved” animals the other day and my response was, “Yeah, you love them grilled.” He laughed, but nervously.

Then there are the people who use the word “sacred” when they’re talking about eating the flesh of other animals. You know, because of the prayer they said for the animal’s “sacrifice.” You say a prayer and Poof! The unnecessary killing of a terrified animal who was likely fighting for his life, becomes he lined up to be slaughtered so you may dine on his flesh. Oooo, pick me, pick me!

My doctorate in Applied Linguistics from New York University puts me at a considerable disadvantage. I pay attention to the words people say–and write. And sometimes I feel like words weren’t made to get that much attention. They can’t handle it. So many of them have become virtually meaningless, or at least unrecognizable from their original intentions.

The first year of Baby Sky’s life was pretty much sans television. Lately I’ve been checking out various shows, some of which appear to be just plain fun, which so far are the best ones. The problems arise when values are transmitted. Some of them are obvious, with clear messages I don’t agree with, such as an entire episode based on the theme: “Everything’s better when you follow the rules.” I couldn’t fly to the remote control fast enough to change the channel.

But it’s the messages that the creators don’t think are the transmission of values that are the most insidious. And they, unfortunately, are the majority of what I’ve seen so far. For instance, there’s a morning show, The Sunny Side Up Show, which stars a chick named Chica. There’s all kinds of barnyard shenanigans and clear affection for all of the creatures who live in barns. During the show they give out Good Egg Awards to kids who’ve performed “acts of kindness.” A good egg is one that is edible. Where did it come from? Who laid it? What happens to male chicks on day one of their lives? Hardly an act of kindness. Think of what an egg is, people! As I often say: I don’t eat my own ovulatory secretions. Why would I want to eat someone else’s?

Then there’s the instructional video sent in by a viewer teaching us how to make chicken cutlets. Right after all of the love in the world for the chickens of the barnyard. The young boy says, “you dip the chicken in the egg  . . .” Of course the chicken is not recognizable from the one we just saw and loved. It has been cut up and sanitized. It’s a floppy thing on a plate that has nothing to do with chickens. But it’s called “chicken.” If I’m a nearly 14-month old and understand far more language than those around me realize, what do I do with the two chickens I just saw? No one is making a peep about anything being awry and no one has been harmed in any way, as far as I know. Yet there’s a cute chicken who talks to me and I like her, and then there’s this stuff I eat that has the same name.

I don’t envy Sky, growing up in a world where 98% of people will watch The Sunny Side Up Show and others, and not be at all disturbed.

 

–Photo of vegan Baby Sky at Tire Kingdom (time to replace the tires on the Element) in her Isabooties, organic BumGenius diaper (though she does do her business on her potty most of the time) and random, hand-me-down T-shirt.

 

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I still like the name 'Animal Person'. I immediately know (by name)that it is your blog, although I would eventually get used to another…. Plus, 'animal person' can be interpreted as you, or recognizing animals as persons.
    Shows like 'Sunny Side Up" do take advantage of children's developmental stages. They cannot often put cause and effect together in complex ways, especially as presented by the producers, who leave out/hide from view the sequence that is involved in moving from from loving animal to the corpse on the plate.
    The visual missing pieces are 'filled in' with verbal,social value -laden instructions on how to 'prepare' the flesh. This disconnect is part of the contrived schemas that end up carrying us in society, making it easy and seemingly 'whole' to say that we love animals while we eat them.
    Our steps towards critical thinking,personal freedom, and recognizing the seperate lives of others get developmentally 'stuck'. (It's the same when we see commercials with stereotyped roles).It becomes harder to step back(inwardly and outwardly).
    With your wonderful support, Sky is gaining the ground she needs to be seperate and whole, just like the animal persons that she can connect with.

    August 19, 2011
  2. Lucky you Mary! You get to hang out with a vegan friend all day, everyday… Even to get tires! :)

    Likewise, Sky will benefit too as she gets older and can formulate the questions – She'll have someone courageous enough to be truthful in her corner to explain it all. I don't envy that part for you though… I'm thinking it's quite the challenge to state reality: people kill/eat "friends", while preserving the tolerance necessary to function in a world like that. No wonder why so many parents opt for "the pork-chop tree". But they're also masking their own guilt… So no "good-egg awards" go to them either. :/

    I met one of those people recently… The ones who call themselves vegetarian (actually this woman said "vegan")… Fifteen minutes or so into the conversation and she admitted… That she still occasionally "loved" her salmon. And that she "only" ate chicken if there was nothing else on a menu. I thought what the heck *x!#! If there's "nothing" available besides fishes or birds at a restaurant – Then boogie somewhere else! Real simple – Yes?

    The up-side that I draw from people like this is that somewhere in their minds… They really desire to eat differently. Or why the momentary white lie? I can only hope that eventually they follow through with what they really know is the right thing to do. I suppose in time, this will be part of what you'll tell Sky too… That people don't always do what they they should…

    And with other white-lies that people tell themselves about being an "animal person" – Don't let anyone steal that from you. You've earned that title several times over! ;)

    August 20, 2011
  3. Wow. How many people have said they are an "animal Lover" and they eat them. It totally blows my mind. They SHOULD say, "I am a canine lover" or "I am a cat Lover". OR people who really almost risk their lives saving dogs. Then eat meat. Argh. I am a happy vegan in public and don't want to be a crazy vegan b*tch but on the inside, I am totally baffled and just thinking, WTF, keep my mouth closed, and go home and pop that Vegan Frey while shooting up my tofu.

    August 26, 2011
  4. That was the one thing I dislike about the new My Little Pony(Friendship is magic) show where all the ponies are vegetarians but they keep cows and chickens for eggs and milk(even through they show the cows as being sentient. It's bizarre!

    That said its not focused on too heavily overall and its something you should checkout for your daughter. (there's whole episodes on youtube!)

    It does have some great messages(like in one episode, it's "Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it".) so it might be worth checking out. :3

    August 29, 2011
  5. Though the origin of the term "good egg" comes from agriculture, it has adopted a new meaning in modern day society. When used in the context of children's programming it takes on the meaning of a child who is perceived to be growing up "well" per the standards of that society. I understand that as a vegan, you question the standards that our society has towards animals but it seems inaccurate to direct frustration on the term "good egg" and alternately the Sunny Side Up show. No one on the show is implying that anyone should eat a "good egg."

    The same goes for the discussion on the term "animal lover." To someone who eats meat the term "animal lover" means that he/she does not desire purposeful cruelty on an animal. There in lies the debate, however. A meat eater typically does not know and/or ignores the cruelty done to animals in order to bring them to a dinner table. However, as someone who studies language you should know that words have different meanings to different people.

    Critique the people if you wish, but it seems pointless to dwell on the words themselves. Unless your goal is to redefine the words I don't really see the point. If your goal is to enact change then applying criticism in this manner won't win anyone to your side … it will just harden the commitment of those who already agree with you.

    August 29, 2011
  6. Ron Kearns #

    Mary,

    Perhaps news like the following article will encourage you to continue blogging–at least intermittently–to help keep people informed about important nonhuman animal issues.

    {Quote:

    "The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that between 2003 and 2010, more than 500,000 cows were slaughtered under CWT’s dairy herd retirement program in a concerted effort to reduce the supply of milk and inflate its price nationally."

    And:

    "Dairy herd retirement ended in the summer of 2010, but CWT’s tactics may affect the price of milk for years, according to the lawsuit. The end of the program came shortly after Land O’Lakes agreed to pay $25 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the United Egg Producers and its members.

    That case alleged that egg producers were encouraged to reduce their flock size as part of a program disguised as an animal welfare initiative."

    End Quotes}

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2011/09/lawsuit-cows-were-killed-to-raise-milk-prices.html

    ____________________________

    Regarding your potential blogging name change, I suggest against any such consideration. Your daughter is exceptionally fortunate to have you as her Mother and a source of dedicated guidance that so many children miss during their formative years.

    Respectfully,
    Ron

    September 30, 2011
  7. Our beautiful English cocker spaniel, Chica, died recently on her 14th birthday. Having cherished her for all those 14 years, our family was very saddened by her passing, and we still are.

    November 15, 2011

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