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Byron Shire
July 7, 2022

Being Vegan: Teach your children well

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Teach your children well, their father’s (and mother’s) hell, did slowly go by…

By way of an apology to my children.
There are no words to express my sorrow toward all earthlings.


This article is made possible by the support of Veet’s Vegan Cooking School

Eve Jeffery

I wasn’t always a vegan.

I am happy to admit I was wrong.

Not many vegans have been a vegan all their life. Mind you, I have been speaking to some families who have happy healthy teenage children who have never consumed animal products – but, for the majority of us, being a vegan is something we have come to later in life.

Like ex-smokers or ex-alcoholics, ex-carnivores can be a little bit ‘militant’ when it comes to their food choices because we’ve seen the light, or maybe, we’ve seen too much of the dark.

I did what I thought was right. I was wrong.

I have spoken to other vegans, people who became vegan, and there is something we all have in common. There is part of us that can’t understand why we didn’t do this sooner, why we didn’t see what we were doing to animals, didn’t see the pain and torture we were inflicting on other earthlings, before.

I personally think the answer is simple, we are humans! And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, we just are.

The only other thing I can equate it to, is being in love with a total jerk. How many of us have been so absolutely absorbed and immensely, passionately in love with someone, only to wonder years later how we could have possibly even looked twice at that person? I look back now and wonder what part of me convinced the rest of me it was ok to have sovereignty over the lives, and deaths, of others.

That’s what being a vegan is like for me.

Once I actually stopped, and thought about what it was that I was doing – which was causing suffering and death, and obliterating the rights of other earthlings – my own past actions horrified me.

We hated it when Hitler did it. We condemn slavery of other humans. We even feel very superior when other humans consume dogs, yet we, on a daily basis, cause immeasurable trauma to other earthlings.

We hated it when Hitler did it. We condemn slavery of other humans. We even feel very superior when other humans consume dogs, yet we, on a daily basis, cause immeasurable trauma to other earthlings.

When you think about it, who actually has it in them to kill and eat another live being? I always used to say that if I had to kill my own food, I’d be a vegetarian – why did it take so many years for me to take that extra step?

Yet, for the first 50 years of my life that’s exactly what I did because that was my ‘culture’  – it was what I brought up with, it was what generations upon generations of my family had done and so we just thought it was right.

I thought it was right.

I was wrong.

This is how I try to turn the tide – not by being judgemental, but by offering positive feedback.

But it wasn’t all that long ago in history that we thought slavery was okay. It wasn’t all that long ago that we thought that women were in some way less than men – even many women thought that! It was part of the indoctrination. Eating meat and consuming animal products is also part of the indoctrination that many of us have been influenced by since birth. Since pre-birth.

Even though I was an omnivore, I always wanted my children to be aware of what they were eating, so when we’d go shopping I’d hang my head over the meat freezer and ask them: ’What do you want? Dead pig, dead cow, dead chicken, dead sheep or dead fish?’

One of my children used to think everything was chicken. One day she said to me, ‘What sort of chicken is this mum?’ I said to her, ‘It’s not chicken, it’s pork’.

‘But what sort of chicken is it?’ said she.

‘It’s not a chicken love, it’s a pig.’ said I.

‘But what’s sort of chicken is a pig?

The conversation went along. She couldn’t understand that everything wasn’t chicken. The disconnect from what she saw in the paddock, to the shop, to her plate was too vast for her to get. So in the end I said ‘It’s Babe! You know, B-a-a-a-a-a-a-abe! It’s a dead pig.’ The look on her face was one of complete horror.

By the time she was eight she had become vegetarian. ‘I don’t want to eat dead things any more.’

I have to admit, I certainly wasn’t any good at vegetarian cooking. To be honest, I just didn’t value her choices and ideals enough to be a better mother. I am ashamed to say I added meaty broths to her meals to make sure she got enough protein! I literally had no idea.

Plain ignorant.

Within five or six years she was eating meat again. But she soon went back to being a vegetarian, and it wasn’t too much longer after that that she became a vegan.

It wasn’t long after that that my other daughter became vegan and then it just seemed a natural transition for me.

Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Kahlil Gibran

They woke me.

They – woke – me.

‘…they come through you, they are not from you, though they are with you, they belong not to you.’ (Kahlil Gibran).

So where did I go from there?

I got preachy. Yes, I’m guilty, I’m guilty as sin. I’m guilty AF!  I did it and I can’t take it back. It was me who caused, not only my own habits (we grow up and become adults – there comes a point where you can’t blame your parents any more), but I also inflicted eating death upon my children and I can’t take that back. Ever. Never ever.

I am preachy, but not judgey. it took me 50 years to work out what my kids worked out in less than 20, no thanks to me. I am not judgey because I know it’s hard to break that life-long indoctrination, so, you eat whatever you want to eat. I hope you choose plants, I hope you don’t feel as bad as I did when I worked out what I had been doing.

I feel I need to make up for that. I feel I need to turn the tide – the tide of sorrow and earthling blood. That’s why I feel compelled to ‘preach the good word’, the only word.

Earthling.

To my children – I am sorry. I am so, so, sorry. I am sorry I didn’t love and respect you more.

I am guilty, but I’m not guilty of being an annoying vegan. I’m guilty of 50 years of being asleep, of not looking after my fellow earthlings. I’m guilty of behaving like an entitled dictator over the lives of what I saw as lesser things.

They are not lesser beings. We are all earthlings under the sun, we are all created equal, and I have to take responsibility for my past actions.

So do you.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. What I like so much about Eve is that she is a committed vegan without the smug superiority that so many vegans display. It’s those smug, self-righteous vegans who do so much damage to their cause by judging those of us who remain omnivores.

    Veganism (and vegetarianism) can fill people with two things: gas and self-righteousness. The gas I can accept.

    Go, Eve!

  2. I will be deliberately simple in my arguments.
    Most people tend to believe in one of 2 theories in how humankind was created.
    If you believe in evolution, man evolved by the consumption of protein that fed his brain and enabled him to develop from primitive man to homo sapiens. That protein source was animal products.
    If you are a creationist, then the Lord said “let them (humankind) have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over the wild animals of the earth”. Before you holler too loud, I realise there are other thought processes, religions, ideologies etc. The choice of the vegan = the right of the affluent. if you are in an impoverished country you will eat what keeps you alive. Do we now hate dolphins because they eat fish. Do we now protest against all carnivorous animals, who by their very nature seek to devour other animals to survive. your very argument revolves around us being on a level footing with animals. We are the apex predator and should not be shamed into thinking otherwise. Meat eating humans don’t ram their thoughts and ideologies down the throats of vegans but for some reason vegans feel the need to do it to us. (I speak generally, this article was respectful). Just because you (vegans) think it is wrong doesn’t make it wrong! Have your opinions, eat what you want and leave the rest of us alone to enjoy a burger!

    • Respectfully, just because you (carnists) think eating meat is right, it doesn’t mean it is – also, quinoa is a complete protein and CHEAPER than flesh.
      (See Echonetdaily article on protein here https://www.echo.net.au/2019/08/where-vegans-get-protein/ )
      Also, every time there is an advertisement for Barbeques Galore, McDonalds, Woolworths, Coles, KFC and the inserts in my newspapers, meat-eating humans are ramming their thoughts and ideologies down the throats of vegans. Jus’ sayin’.

    • I’m not a vegetarian or vegan but keeping a pig or chicken in that mass production can’t be right next time you meet a pig or chicken or other animal we consume look it in the eye and say to yourself it’s fine to be so cruel

    • I approve of deliberate simplicity, so let me reply in the same vein.

      The idea that meat made us into what Nietzsche called the “clever animal” is deeply flawed. If a carnivorous diet was all that was necessary, the earth would now be ruled by giant cats. We are more like the hyenas that follow the carnivores, we are scavengers, as are most omnivores. Agriculture is a better explanation for why we settled in fixed areas and built communities and languages.

      Veganism is not affluence. Even with the growth of industrialised agriculture in the twentieth century, most humans remains predominantly vegetarian (see for example Pimentel, D., & Pimentel, M. (2003). Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(3), 660S-663S). Omnivores cannot have it both ways – complaining about vegan elitism and at the same time bewailing the crippling cost of meat.

      The claim that we are “apex predators” is absurd. Do we really want to live according to the law of the jungle? Most animals in nature spend all their time hungry, looking for food, and usually die of starvation or violence well before fulfilling their potential life-span. Hobbes said that, if we returned to nature, we would lead lives that were “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. We form societies so that we can be sheltered from the extremes of nature, and we develop ethics to keep those societies functioning. Peaceful coexistence, not just with humans but will other animals, is essential, but not natural. Nature is red in tooth and claw. I don’t worry what dolphins eat. I am concerned with what I eat, and I don’t want to cause more suffering than I absolutely have to.

  3. Thanks Eve.., i’ll Leave mine for another time.
    I don’t know about smug vegans… I think it really is more along the lines of looking st people who you know innately do not give a shit. This to me is smug. To know & are confronted multiple times each at all levels with unconsciousness & cruelty that falls under the banner of indoctrination.

    You know years ago, in a class I was doing in song writing, the teacher asked, what makes popular music popular? How does something, anything at all, going from nothing to become part of popular culture?
    So what we see is literally eons of distortion in belief systems, to the rebirth of personal responsibility because veganism is not generally attached to a religion, although the Dalai Lama does ask, in one of his books, ‘please, do not eat the fish’… interesting!
    The Buddha was vegan.

    It isn’t smugness, it is trying to rationalise each & everyday when constantly confronted with both conscious & unconsciously choices by people to allow, cause, enable, be quiet, turn a blind eye, justify, the constant violence in a so called ‘civilised’ society. How it is possible to live in & amongst groups of people who are selfishly & co-operatively giving permission because they were told it’s their right, to be the cause of unbelievable & on-going harm, malevolence & violence to other living beings who have entire family units slaughtered.

    To live surrounded by other humans whom live in these realities. The foul smells, the funeral pyre…(bbq) is an incredibly uncomfortable thing to deal with on a daily basis. Especially when I know it is isn’t necessary.

    Honestly, it took someone once to say something to me. I had a bit of a 2 second hissy fit. Processed what this woman said for a month & then I started replacing one thing at a time. She was absolutely right. After 3 months the indoctrination lifted. Oh my goodness. It was like coming out of a haze into clear sunshine. I could see how it all sat together. The collective agreements etc. the lies. Unbelievable! I felt sick. I felt sad! Taken for a ride! A long lying ride that had utterly nothing to do with love. I was angry!
    Every single day is a challenge really. Living in world created by love, with so many seperate ftom compassion & kindness.

    I think I read a comment by Eve about people saying vegans push their realities on people. The response something to the effect, tv adds, etc, all of it, charity bbq’s at Bunnings… its all like the greatest presumption by mainstream culture & pushed on everyone.

    So Eve, I really enjoyed your series hon.
    Thank you
    Blessings & love

  4. I write these snippets on my phone & sometimes they get caught in the throat of the internet like a fur ball… so I will write something else.

    Thanks Eve, I loved the series.

    I think what some people see as smug is really attempting to get through yet another day of senseless, meaningless violence & cruelty to other beings. People think it’s an intellectual process.. 3 months it took after I became vegan for the indoctrination to lift.
    It was like someone lifted a cloud of fog from the level of understanding I had. From the belief systems & cultural validations… the agreements went with them & I could see it for what it was, an horrifying lie to keep the entire population, all civilisations & the planet in slavery. I know big statement! This is not the place for that one. So, I will move to a simpler
    conversation.. simpler to identify with for most people.

    My friend & I, school buddies from 7, went to Catholic school together. Both primary & high school. My parents weren’t religious, hers were. At 15, standing in the street during the school hols, playing tennis with myself it occurred to me that if God made everything, than the planet was the church, so to speak & that I could do my ‘talking, praying, everywhere. I never felt the need to go to church after that & began to develop spirituality in a way that work for me that has come through years of practice. Researching various religions to choose limitlessness & personal responsibility. With freedom, that is the partner!
    It’s been a journey… from then to here.

    My friend’s family were deeply religious.
    We occasionally catch up with years between teas.. last time it had been 10 years..
    in that time both of us had become vegan. I found that incredibly interesting.
    My friend found it so hard to process the level of cruelty due to coming from asuch a deeply religious base, she started seeing a Buddhist counsellor to help with the high level of emotional stress st the realisation everything we had been taught was a ‘long mile’ stretch from any truth. It took her quite a while to deal with & process the levels of violence & cruelty.
    For me, it is a daily challenge. I have spoken to others that find it so difficult well.. one day at a time. It is for a lot of us, intolerable, especially knowing it’s an unnecessary lie.

    I spend a lot of time hanging out in nature, in my own space, doing things I love.
    Given that I feel very much some days like running the hills.. instead I have chosen to use it. Do something with it & transform it something positive.

    It took someone once to say something to me.
    I had a little hissy. Processed for a month & said to myself, she’s right & started changing one thing at a time. I research pretty much everything I eat, use now….

    So joke… who is you see on their knees in the supermarket reading the labels?

    Blessings & love

    Merry vegan blissmass

  5. So why do you think Nature/God/Gaia gave humanity the stomach of an omnivore, midway between that of a carnivore and a vegetarian?. Or that source has provided you with two groups of teeth, one for grinding seeds, one for cutting meat?. So nature is wrong and only you in your infinite woke wisdom is correct?.
    I was going to ask do you read but it may be better to ask can you read?. Because you obviously havn`t read the last Uni research from about 6 months ago reinforcing again that for a equal mass of protein a vegan will kill 27 times more animals than a carnivore. But a rat, mouse, snake, lizard or frog doesn,t rate does it?. Only your smug, self satisfied ego tripping ilk know the truth, eh. Stick your “Merry vegan blissmass” where, oh why bother.

    • Hey there,
      No one is denying that we are omnivores, physically. Its just that humanity has now evolved to a point where we can quite easily live without eating meat or animal products. In regards to the research you are referring to, it hasn’t been taken in to account the crops that are fed to the animals omnivores eat. It is awful that animals die in crop harvest. But when you eat meat, that cow or pig or sheep has been fed plants all its life; it has consumed a lot more food than a human being in its short lifespan. The food that farmed animals eat comes from cleared land, that was once native habitat. They also then eat the crops that resulted in the deaths of mice, rats, snakes etc. And they also are on their own cleared land. And they are then killed. So when someone eats a steak, they killed that animal, but also all the thousands of animals that died due to the harvest of crops and the clearing of land to farm those crops and those animals.

      Eating just plants means that less land has been cleared to produce your food, as its only the land for those crops, which of course is still awful but land also gets cleared for everyone to live on (rather than land for the crops to feed the animals and the land for the animals to live on). The animals that die are far less than when you are paying for cows to be slaughtered, as whilst heaps of smaller beings die in harvests, humans eat less than farmed animals and so require lest crops to be harvested in the first place, needing only 2.5kg of food per day compared to a cows 40kg. If both are eating only plants, less animals are dying in the harvest of food for the human than for the cow, which then also gets slaughtered, adding to the death toll.
      If every human on the planet only ate plants, much less plants would be needed to feed us, as we wouldn’t also be feeding 70 billion animals these crops.

      Being vegan requires less plants to be grown than an omnivorous diet does, as the farmed animals need a lot of plants. Therefore being vegan kills less animals, as not as many plants are needed for your diet, so you cause less crops to be harvested, saving more of the little animals that call the fields home.
      There is also the whole issue of mass farming like that, and using the huge machines, and not all vegans eat like that; especially in the Byron shire, as we are really lucky to have lots of food that is locally grown on a small scale, but thats a different problem for a different day.

      I hope some of that helped you in some form, as having incorrect facts is really annoying. The way that study was done was looking at what a vegan eats, and what an omnivore eats, without taking into account the food the animals need to eat before they go onto the plate. Because yes, vegans eat more plants directly than omnivores will, but a lot of plants go into raising the animals that get eaten, and the figures just increase massively of what is killed as a result of their diet. I am not forcing you to go vegan, but having the wrong facts and using them to make people feel bad isn’t cool 🙂

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