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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Newsletters

Winter 2001-2002 Issue

COLUMBIA COUNTY CORNER

NEWS FROM THE COLUMBIA-GREENE CHAPTER OF MID-HUDSON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY

By Joan Zacharias

Barn Dance Raises $1100 For Local Animal Rescuers

Hugs to everyone who attended the barn dance at Little Brook Farm on September 29 to benefit Lynn Cross and Katrin Hecker - two amazing, courageous women who refuse to turn their backs on suffering.  On one of the first cool autumn nights of the year, the old red barn was jumping with Cajun food, hot cider infused the air with sweet spices, and an impressive spread of homemade veggie food kept our bellies full and warm.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the fundraiser.

Are Meat Eaters Just "Blocked Vegetarians?"

If vegheads and meatheads will be dining together at your gatherings this holiday season, you might want to pick up some tips from Carol Adamsí new book, Living Among Meat-Eaters (Lantern Books, 2001). Adams, a vegetarian theorist best known for her earlier work on the Sexual Politics of Meat, posits that humans will do anything to forget that, when we eat meat, we are eating an animal.

Meat-eaters erect a "nice little picket fence" of arguments around their behavior, she says, and life is rosy - until a vegetarian comes along.  Then itís as if "worlds collide."

The "Meat Thruster" waves his fork at us, taunting, "you know you want it" ó and "The Deluder" cajoles us about our violence against plants - all while she is chomping on a burger.  What they are doing, suggests Adams, is playing out their own issues about eating animals.  They fear scarcity ("what would I eat if I was a vegetarian?") and think that, deep down, we vegetarians must be very unhappy people - "blocked meat-eaters," if you will.

Adams concludes that the best thing a vegetarian can do is to

a) be happy, and

b) share beautiful and abundant vegetarian food (Without gloating that itís meatless).

She also advises strongly against engaging in "food fights" over dinner.  Tell the person who wants to know where you get your protein that youíll mail some info or discuss it later, then gracefully change the subject.  If you are baited into a discussion about the merits of vegetarianism while dining with meateaters, it will just feed their notions of vegetarians as sober individuals who donít know how to live and let live.

This doesnít mean that some arenít genuinely interested.  The intensity of interest, whether positive or negative, could be a sign that the person is in motion - that change is possible. After all, most of us were "blocked vegetarians," too!

Whatís Old Is New Again

In our area we are seeing a renaissance of old farming methods in response to the industrial factory farming of meat, milk and eggs that does so much damage to the health of humans, animals and the environment.  Rather than recognizing the global necessity of moving toward plant-based eating, people are glorifying old ways.

With lofty talk about "living in harmony with nature" and "respecting the spirit of the animals," progressive, conscious people of all stripes are returning to "grass-fed beef," "free-range chickení and "real milk."  Animals are not so much individuals who want to live, but part of a herd that "wants and understands their need to be culled."

If people are going to eat meat, then small, organic, free-range farms typically offer the most humane treatment of animals.  Animals have names, they are allowed to exhibit natural behaviors, and they are not drugged up and forced to eat crap. But in the end, all these animals are shipped off to  slaughterhouses, long before they get old, and stripped violently of their only possession: their lives.  They do not go willingly, as the runaway calf called "Queenie" demonstrated recently.

Just like most meat-eaters, the farmers who participate and profit from the slaughter are in denial about the killing, which takes place off the farm.  When asked about it, they offer so many mystical justifications - rooted deep in the theories of biodynamic farming and romantic notions of agriculture.  The "Demeter-certified" farms look pretty and quaint, but in the end the animals who live there are just "crops" to be "harvested," along with the kale and broccoli.

So now we are seeing a whole new generation of meat-eating environmentalists, social activists, progressives, spiritualists and artists who feel quite at peace in dining on the foods their "mummy" and "nana" gave them.  But to the animal who is being cut into little pieces, in the end it doesnít really matter if the label reads "organic."

Return to Winter 2001-2002 Newsletter

We look forward to hearing from you

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