By M. Butterflies Katz
Is there such a thing as a perfect vegan? I think it’s technically
impossible unless you live as a hermit outside of society. From antifreeze,
floor wax, lubricants, paints, emery boards, hydraulic break fluid,
biodegradable detergents, crayons, specialty plastics, buttons, plywood
adhesive, pharmaceuticals, high grade steel, water filters, bandage strips
that contain animal products –to- buying vegan food at Whole Foods which
also sells animal products - it becomes unrealistic to be a perfect vegan.
But this does not then mean that we should not avoid animal products
wherever we possibly can.
Aspiring to be a perfect vegan is certainly nothing to criticize or condemn. Attempting to be a perfect vegan is not a silly inconsequential aspiration. Some things we just can’t help, such as driving a car that has tires that, in the vulcanization or formation of the tire, the standard industry practice is to use stearic acid; often animal-derived. But aside from things we just can’t help, what would a perfect vegan look like? I started to think of virtues, high qualities or beautiful acts that I have admired in different vegans. From compiling these virtues in various vegans, I’ve creating a model of the ‘perfect vegan’:
The perfect vegan would be healthy as a statement to non-vegans that they won’t die from becoming vegan. The perfect vegan takes care of his/her own body so he/she can continue to be a voice for animals. He/she is responsible to get tested so he/she knows that they are getting all their required nutrients. The perfect vegan is living testimonial that vegans can be very healthy.
The perfect vegan would spend their time working to abolish the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, breeding, buying and selling, and other human purpose; to eradicate this unjustified speciesism. Just because humans CAN and WANT to oppress others, does not mean they SHOULD. This is the necessary education the perfect vegan would impart. Since the beginning of time, society has been built upon the enslavement of others and upon exploitation. The thinking that "it’s okay to oppress any animal; human or nonhuman” is what is needed to be reprogrammed in human consciousness. The perfect vegan would help change perceptions. He/she would guide other humans out of their misguided behaviors.
The perfect vegan would be totally assured and would know that veganism is right, civil, and the opposite of the widespread violence afflicting this world. He/she will not be apologetic, not shy to speak up for other animals. The perfect vegan would be eloquent if ever asked to speak on the subject, always keeping in mind “it’s about the animals” not about “the activist”. The perfect vegan is a voice for those who don’t speak our language and therefore needs us to be their voice. (For some reason, many people are numb and deaf to pigs screaming and begging for mercy in a slaughterhouse.) The perfect vegan can hear the obviously audible screams and feels it is his/her obligation to speak up.
The perfect vegan stops and pulls over on a busy highway to help a turtle crossing the road. The perfect vegan brings the turtle to safety in the direction he/she was headed. The perfect vegan grabs that turtle from the hands of someone who wanted to turn him/her into turtle soup. The perfect vegan brings that turtle in the car and releases the turtle on his/her own land; a vegan sanctuary.
When the perfect vegan goes to a shop in town and out of the corner of their eye they see a rabbit out back in a small (un-kept) cage, he/she goes on a nighttime rescue mission and brings that falsely imprisoned victim to freedom. The perfect vegan cares nothing of human-made laws saying that other animals are the “property” of a human, but knows that victim is a rights-holder that was falsely imprisoned based on species. The perfect vegan would open that rusty cage and set that bunny free in a safe environment (safe from neighborhood dogs).
The perfect vegan would not dress in someone else’s skin! Upon becoming vegan, they would burry their leather and their (new expensive!) wool sweater, with a ceremony. They would donate fur coats to wildlife rescue centers for orphaned wildlife. The perfect vegan realizes that being dressed in animal’s skin is not a fashion statement they want to make, any more than they want to model human skin.
The perfect vegan comes from a place of purity. He/she is so gentle that dogs in the neighborhood are drawn like magnets and come with wagging tails to meet him/her, while their “person” looks on in amazement, or a young child looks the perfect vegan in the eyes and comes for a hug from this person they’ve never met while the mother explains that this is unusual behavior. Forest deer will eat from his/her hands. The innocent ones instinctively feel the purity and the harmlessness emitting from the perfect vegan.
The perfect vegan would hand-carry spiders out of the house, one by one, taking ages, rather than vacuum them up. He/she would have a cup and a piece of cardboard and catch insects in the cup, cover with the flat piece of cardboard, and then escort outdoors. The perfect vegan would use their soft (synthetic) flannel hat to catch flies and gently grab them and release them outdoors. He/she would also use ‘capture and release’ rodent traps, and try to keep families together when relocating them. In fact, the perfect vegan would clean their kitchen every night, leaving nothing to lure the rodents into the home as a trap, so they would not have to then be caught and relocated and possibly breaking up their family, or where they might get eaten by an animal in the house. The perfect vegan would keep his/her door closed so as not to invite mosquitoes inside to get swatted.
The perfect vegan would communicate nicely with other species, befriend them, help them and rescue them, do right by all species of animals, not some while ignoring others.
The perfect vegan happens to sleep with his/her canine companion (on a doggie sheet on top of the covers), and ensures that they live a long, very happy, healthy life. The perfect vegan would not think of buying or selling a living conscious animal or supporting 'breeding', and would have rescued their canine friend. The perfect vegan would learn to feed their dogs (metabolically omnivores) a balanced vegan diet; (being sure to supplement their nutritional requirements that are not naturally met from a plant diet), so as not to be a part of the demand for institutionalized exploitation of other animals, as far as possible.
The perfect vegan might attempt to grow some of his/her own food, veganically; marrying the principles of organic with vegan…thus would not use animal products as fertilizer, but instead use compost, rock minerals, hay, as well as grow nitrogen-fixing plants like lupines, clover, broad beans, peas and beans, etc. The perfect vegan enjoys and pants trees; lots of fruit, flowering and native trees.
The perfect vegan sees ‘The Big Picture’ – not just their small limited world – and seeks to lessen their own environmental footprint and help heal our ailing planet; which is home to many thousands of fellow Earthlings. Over 29,000 recorded species of fish, 6,000 recorded species of reptiles, 9-10,000 species of birds, 1,000 amphibians, 5,400 mammal species and 1-2 million insect species (of sentient animal) also share the same planet. Because of humans, widespread species extinction is occuring. All species, including us, are on the endangered species list, in reality. Our planet is home to many billions of human and nonhuman animals, and the perfect vegan considers the health of our planet and what he/she can do to help heal it. The perfect vegan smiles inside because she/he knows just being vegan and thereby opposing animal agriculture (the #1 culprit in environmental degradation), he/she is doing more than most to lessen his/her own environmental impact.
The perfect vegan cares about all injustice and opposes all oppression; whether the victim is oppressed based on species, race, gender, age, class, nationality, religious or sexual preference or any other unjustifiable reason to oppress sentient individuals. The perfect vegan uses rational discourse to relay this message to the public.
The perfect vegan uses their life as a statement that wearing, exploiting, killing and eating other animals is fundamentally wrong. He/she will inconvenience themselves and always verify ingredients, bring their own food when travelling, etc. because they are making a stand, with their life’s actions, knowing it’s not really much of an inconvenience compared to the holocaust that other animals are facing every day at the hands of humanity. Auschwitz happened because of racism…slaughterhouses happen because of speciesism. The perfect vegan wants no part, not even minuscule. The perfect vegan does not want complicity in the crimes against nonhumanity.
The perfect vegan would speak and write in such a way that it would reach into the soul of every vegan of every group within the vegan movement. He/she has the power to bring out the vegan that lives within everyone. The perfect vegan speaks to the soul in all humans - in our souls; where we all agree that being vegan is “the right thing to do”.