The Writings of
Vasu Murti

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Politics and Passions - Winter 1995-96

Part 8
Veggie Kids

The animal rights movement continues to gain momentum. Vegetarianism, for reasons of health, economics, moral concern for the lives and rights of animals, or environmental considerations, is on its way from being trendy to becoming a mainstream social ethic -- like opposing capital punishment, or opposing abortion.

An April 12, 1994 article by Annie Nakao of the San Francisco Examiner entitled "Veggie Kids: The Young and the Fleshless," observes that "many of the estimated 12.6 million Americans who are vegetarians are teenagers who oppose animal cruelty and care about the environment. And they often end up converting their entire family."

Nakao quotes Judy Krizmanic, author of TeensGuide to Going Vegetarian as stating, "The majority of teens I spoke with for the book were vegetarian but their parents were not. They had to do some fancy talking to let their parents know that this is something they’ve given a lot of thought to, that it's not a fad."

"Parents, be forewarned," states an article entitled "Children of the Corn," appearing in the August 28, 1995 issue of Newsweek. "If Big Macs and pepperoni pizza once defined the culinary side of teenage life in America, they are fast making room for tofu and eggplant.

"For the MTV set, vegetarianism is now mainstream. While no one knows the trend's actual size, a survey done this summer by Teenage Research Unlimited of Northbrook, Ill., found that 35 percent of the girls and 18 percent of the boys thought being veggie was ‘in.’

"In another survey, 37 percent of teens said that they try to avoid red meat -- that's 50 percent higher than a generation older. Danny Seo..founder of Earth 2000, a teens-only advocacy group, argues that the 'defining focus' of his generation will be ‘no animal cruelty, no meat.’"

According to Newsweek, "Concern for animals is the leading reason kids give up eating meat...Most veggies are indignant about factory-farming practices like debeaking chickens and clipping the tails off pigs. And they link eating meat with ecological destruction (another big teen concern)...

"'They all seem to learn that cattle ranching in South America contributes to the destruction of the tropical rain forest. And it makes them mad…Teens can be (surprise!) self-righteous. Whenever Jennifer Hahn…passes the meat section of her Malibu grocery store, she turns to her mom and asks loudly: ‘Can we leave the graveyard?’"

Go on to: Part 9: Bless the Beasts and the Children
Return to: The Next Distraction

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