The email from Jonathan Fields (love him) landed in my box and it was talking about a friend of his, a vegan advocate who has been a closet meat eater for a while now. She decided to come clean with her lifestyle change and tell her readers about the reasons why.
This prominent vegan, Alex Jamieson (she was Morgan Spurlock’s girlfriend in the documentary “Super Size Me“), has made a living advocating for veganism. She started eating meat again in small quantities because she could no longer fight her cravings. Alex eats just a bit, and tries to buy local, sustainable, and humanely-raised. Plus, she listens to her body.
Yes, she is now an omnivore.
In her incredibly well-written blog post on why she changed her ways, she talked often about compassion for animals and the compassion the vegan community has in general. Then she hit publish and let the chips fall where they may, knowing this admission could literally cost her her livelihood. It was no small feat on her part.
The vitriole began to fly almost immediately. Last I checked there were nearly 300 comments; some people were actively supporting her and her personal choice, but a whole bunch more were eviscerating her decision. One person literally equated her actions with genocide and another used the c-word.
Yep, a vegan eats meat and apparently the world is over.
One of the many different reasons why we started True Food Movement is we thought the vegetarian and vegan movements could be a bit screechy at times. Enough so that a curious omnivore would be quickly scared away. We wanted to create a place where a plant-based or a plant-exclusive diet could be shared and enjoyed by everyone. No judgment … just people living better than they did before.
(Check out this great guest post we ran, “A Vegan Girl in an Omnivore World“.)
Is the backlash fair?
I feel for Alex, and apparently the fear she had about coming clean was very real given the negativity she’s received.
I had a big discussion about the compassion of veganism the other day with my husband. One of the big reasons is you can’t treat an animal well in captivity and you can’t kill it with dignity. For the huge factory farms out there, this is definitely true, but there is an ever stronger movement of local, smaller farms that are doing it better.
The market is there and I think we will continue to raise animals for human consumption better and better as we go. I can’t wait to see where we are 10 years from now, and yes, I’m hoping those factory farms are abolished and we’re all living a lot healthier.
My husband pointed me to a line he saw a comedian say online: what about the migrant worker picking the produce? Where is the compassion for that person? Is it “more righteous” to be compassionate for another species at the expense of our own? How does one reconcile that?
I’ve been thinking about this a LOT the last week. Basically if you eat food, someone is paying the price for it, unless you have the ability to raise your own food and most of us don’t have that option. I’m pretty sure my tiny apartment balcony isn’t going to cut it as a chicken coop / vegetable garden.
What do you think? Should a prominent member of the vegan community who turns omnivore be criticized for her move? For letting her tribe down, as one person said? Or should we show her a little compassion and let her live her life the best way she can?