by Park [email protected]
The National Park where I work is on the border of
Mexico, therefore I am exposed to a constant barrage of images I find
offensive. In addition to the typical ads for rodeos, circuses and the
usual distasteful fast death restaurant promos we all have to face, I
see a continuous stream of "artwork" of
cockfights and bullfights. Some of this smut is even displayed in our
park's art gallery. I have always complained whenever this has occurred
but today a new image made my blood pressure climb.
A coworker ranger had taped paper cutouts of matadors to
his office door. Once again, not expecting any satisfaction, I
complained to my boss. You should understand that my boss ridicules
vegetarianism and AR, has had angioplasty and is on medication because
of his lifelong weekly habit of veal parmesan which he lovingly refers
to as "baby cow covered with it's own mother's milk."
Nevertheless, I told my boss that I was offended by
images which promote violence to animals and that I wanted him to tell
this other person under his supervision to take them down, that such
images also glorify acts which are illegal in this country. "I can't
tell someone of Mexican descent to take down
pictures of his cultural heritage," he told me. "If you are offended by
mere symbols, then the problem is yours not his."
I replied, "So if I put a confederate flag over my desk,
a symbol of my southern heritage, I wouldn't have a problem, and you
wouldn't have a problem. My black coworkers would have the problem,
Somehow my logic failed to convince him. I was forced to
tell him that I would pursue this to the next level of complaining. He
smilingly said to go ahead and take it to his boss, Maria, lets call
her. I think Maria will understand my complaint if I calmly present my
case, in spite of her cultural heritage, but my boss advised me that I
would be making a fool of myself if I made a big deal about this.
I've been told I should find some other park to work at
where there is less animal abuse for entertainment as a part of
"cultural heritage." I have even been told I could leave the Park
Service if I didn't want to wear the leather uniform belt. Sounds a lot
like Love it or Leave it.
Vegans need some basic rights. We should be afforded
some of the same rights which have been extended to other minority
groups. But here in Texas, vegans are fanatics not a legitimate minority
group. I have often considered saying that I practice Jainism to be able
to say that animal abuse offends my religious beliefs, and therefore I
have some legal protections. It is so close to the truth.
We all deserve the right to a positive workplace. In the
same way that women shouldn't be subjected to sexism, in the same way
that no one should be subjected to racism or religious persecution,
vegans shouldn't have to put up with jokes about their personal beliefs.
They should not have to submit to any action nor be forced to
participate in any action which violates their ethics. Thus we come
again full circle, animal rights equals human rights.
Go on to In Memory of
My Best Friend, Dos: 1986-2001
Return to 20 May 2001 Issue
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