Hate mail

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I get suprisingly little hate mail here, which kind of surprises me. Maybe I’m really not offending that many people… or maybe they’re just not reading. In any event, the other day I got an interesting letter. Below is what he wrote, with my responses interspersed (I know, I know, do not feed the trolls):

Please enlighten me. I am not a vegetarian, but I have no particular feelings of rage or disgust against anybody that choses to be. What I am is a single parent with three children who gets upset when activists who have no concept of the real world try to influnce the one I live in. If you really care about stopping animal cruelty drop out of society and live off the land, because one cannot exist in this modern world without contributing to said cruelty.

It’s pretty simple, really. It’s impossible to live a life completely free of cruelty. However, just because one can’t completely avoid contributing doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our best to make some sort of difference. It’s quite easy to avoid animal products in one’s diet and same goes for clothing. That takes care of a major chunk of it. And, really, we don’t need animal products to live, so it just makes sense to cause the least amount of harm as possible.

So burn that leather coat, take off those leather shoes,

My leather coat and shoes are long gone. :)

…please don’t crank up that internal combustion engine driven vehicle,(emissions harmful to both man & beast). I don’t know how but i’m sure that somehow reading this e-mail will contribute to animal cruelty,if for no other reason than it’s keeping you from your animal saving crusades. Sorry to cut this rant short but i’ve gotta walk the dogs before I drag the clan to Wegmans for some cage free eggs(wait a minute kids they’re 4 times more than regular eggs-sorry no breakfast for you!

Of course, the easy answer to this is not to buy eggs. That’d the cheapest choice of all!

PS- If I do not receive a response to this I will assume that you plan to do the honorable thing and exit society. The worlds downtrodden chickens will be very pleased!

You mention animal rights activists not having a concept of the “real world”… I think the problem is more that many of us have *too* much of a concept of the real world. It’s the everyday consumer that doesn’t realize the unnecessary pain and suffering that goes into meat production since what they buy is packaged so sterilely, looking far removed from the way it did when it was alive.

Listen, I know I’m not changing your mind with any of this, but consider watching a movie like Peaceable Kingdom. It may give you a little better of an idea why compassion towards animals isn’t some weird, strange, unreasonable ideal.

14 Responses to “Hate mail”

  1. Karen

    You’re a wonderful veg spokesperson…

  2. Rene

    You know, it’s amazing to see how people react towards vegetarians/vegans. I wish they would not be so negative. However, it is nice to see how you responded in a mature, educated manner. Like Karen said, you’re a great spokesperson for the veggies and animals :)

  3. SusanV

    You handled that very well. It’s funny how people think that their way of seeing things is the “real world.” Like vegetarians and vegans don’t shop in the same stores and try to stay within a budget while feeding our families. I wonder where such anger comes from.

  4. esm

    One of my favorite comments I ever heard in the advocacy for buying local/organic/free range, whatever was that if it is too expensive, don’t buy it (this was in response to a comment about milk and eggs being so expensive). That sounds harsh, but the best foods for you are often the cheapest – think of indigenous foods – rice & beans, corn, etc.

  5. Dreena

    Ryan, I am not surprised you don’t receive more of this “angry” mail… you are not offensive or antagonistic in this blog. At all.

    Let’s hope this person learns more through your blog and other sources to understand your point about the ‘real world’. I think most people turn a blind eye to reasons for eating vegan, simply because they think it will require too much work and change for them. For so many people, ignorance is bliss.

  6. Ryan

    I had a much snarkier response ready to go, but thought the better of it.

  7. karen

    this is a slightly extreme example of something i come across fairly regularly. somebody finds out you’re vegetarian or vegan, and they immediately want to know why you’re not doing all these other things too, also out of conscience.

    i can’t think why somebody would want to make that argument or why they’d get all riled up unless they were kind of defensive. at the very least they’d have to feel looked down upon, even though i don’t think the tone of this blog is condescending in any way. sometimes people just feel condescended to anytime somebody makes an ethical choice not to do something they still do.

    bottom line, people make their own choices and rules. some people try not to consume animal products, some people try to leave the smallest footprint, etc. and some people just sit around second-guessing people who are just doing their best to make a positive effort of some kind.

  8. Marcy

    I’m a regular reader of this blog, and now my mom even tunes in (and is also eating vegan recently, although that was her choice, I just offered help when she got interested). Just wanted to say that I’m glad you were able to handle it in the way that you did…a good middle ground common-sense response that’s neither too inflammatory or too sheepish. Good on you. That’s how people most likely learn and change, anyhow. I’ve influenced more than one person to eat more or all the way veg*n over the years, never as conversion or dogma, just as giving common sense replies and making it doable in the so-called real world. Getting them to try new things and be open-minded. That sort of thing. It’s what leads to more lasting change…i.e. someone not only turning veg*n/animal rights oriented, but *staying* that way and doing the same for others who are curious…

    Anyways, as a “reclaiming” sort of humor I recently purchased an herbivore.com “Cranky Vegan Asshole” button which I now wear everywhere. Not only does it show an ability to poke fun at one’s self, but also it relates to how so many people assume vegans are automatically just that, i.e. we’re picky and snarky and in the wrong somehow. As opposed to, say, being deeply affected by empathy towards animals while growing up…

  9. Summer

    Well said, Ryan (and everyone else who commented above). I find that just being vegan is offensive to people. It can be extremely frustrating to be offensive to someone without even trying. :) But it’s also an opportunity to be a catalyst for change. When I remember that, I react better. :)

  10. Michael G. Richard

    At least you get coherent hate mail. At Treehugger.com we often get stuff like: “OMG I LUV KILLING TREES, I’M EATING VEAL RIGHT NOW!”

  11. Daharja

    Change starts with the smallest step. I don’t understand why the writer would feel such anger towards vegetarians and vegans, and justify their lack of action by the fact that it is impossible to do *everything*.

    Every tiny change we make for the better makes this world a better place. Every time a person (vegetarian or not) chooses an animal-friendly option at a restaurant or at home, they are making a difference, even if they don’t realise it.

    This doesn’t have to be a battle between a mythical ‘us’ and ‘them’. We’re all on this planet together. Lets start growing up and living as ethical beings.

  12. Pamela

    I am glad you posted the email so everyone can see how uneducated the author is about everything they mentioned. Any logical person would look up at least one thing before blindly criticizing it. Too bad the author already passed their hate genes on….
    We are so used to this stuff, but the letter was a bit over the top. You can tell the author really is angry. We’ve had cans and insults thrown at us at KFC demos. We have had people say we are wrong for opposing cruel, money-wasting “charities” like March of Dimes of American Cancer Society (Relay for Life). One thing we can always take solace in is the fact that we need never be ashamed of doing what is right. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it will be for the greater good.

  13. Teresa

    Well, I think you did very well responding to that e mail. For myself, going completely vegan last November has given me a very peaceful feeling. I think I actually spend less on food now.

    By existing on this planet, we all cause it harm. I do my best to do as little harm as possible. I think there are many of us who do try.

    Got to go and pack my vegan lunch for tomorrow. Hard working, tax payer in the real world!

  14. michelle

    Oy vey! People and their soapboxes. I don’t understand why everything is so black and white. Eating a non-animal based diet is proven to lighten the load on the environment and our asses, so why was this lady so hateful?

    Everything comes in steps and very few people can go from being a mega-consuming, SUV driving, Starbucks every morning and Big Mac every night person to a tree-hugging, herbivore, public transit riding eco-evangelist overnight. Why can’t people accept that there are thousands of shades of grey and many of us are working towards that ideal instead of being a nasty little hater? She should be friggin’ happy that there are people who want to do their part to make the world nicer for her little crumb crunchers.

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