Have yourself a humane holiday
Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle From All-Creatures.org

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.


Veda Stram
Fall 1998

Interview by Deanne Dazalla as published in The University of California, Irvine, newspaper

It's that time again. The holiday season is upon us. Many will sit down to turkey and ham Thanksgiving dinners and give Christmas and Hanukkah gifts such as fur coats and wool sweaters.

However, others plan to make merry in a different way.

"I've had hundreds of holiday meals without meat in them. I have had lasagna for the holiday season," said Veda Stram, a two-year member of Orange County People for Animals (OCPA) and an animal activist for 10 years.

Founded almost a decade ago by Ava Park, OCPA is a volunteer group supported by the contributions of individuals.

"We're a resource to a lot of people who are committed to taking care of animals," Stram said.

Stram stated one of the primary goals of OCPA is education.

"What we want to do at OCPA is educate people about all the animal abuse in our country today and try to stop it," she said.

According to Stram, Americans consume 1,000,000 animals an hour.

"Americans consume animals all day...when they eat the gelatin in the gummy bears, Kentucky Friend Chicken, steaks, etc.," Stram said.

For vegans like Stram, those who do not eat meat, dairy, eggs, dairy products or honey, the holiday season can be a particularly upsetting time of the year.

"If you listen to the conversations on Thanksgiving, the whole day is about the bird. If you know people who are vegans or veggies (vegetarians), have some compassion. It's upsetting to us," Stram said.

According to Stram, from the time the turkey eggs are hatched, the birds are treated very cruelly.

"We're talking about livestock," Stram said. "There's no regard for the well-being of the animal. It's called factory farming."

Equally appalling to the treatment of livestock, Stram says, is the treatment of animals bred for their fur.

"You have animals that are raised in wire wages. They literally rape these animals because they artifically inseminate them," Stram said.

"Leather is somebody's skin or a byproduct of somebody's skin. If you start to look at WHO you're wearing, it gives you a different perspective," she said.

Another technique fur breeders employ is the use of traps.

"If somebody [an animal] gets trapped in them, they may chew their legs off to get away, or they starve, or other animals can attack them or if the trapped animals is a parent, their babies may die," Stram said.

Also Stram said the fur industry refers to "trash animals," such as people's pets, birds and squirrels, that may become snared in these traps.

"The traps are of an indiscriminate nature. They are huge, steel and barbaric. Any animal can step into them," she said.

One way Stram uses to help people understand the anmal abuse is by asking them to think about their own pets being subjected to painful lab experiments or being killed in the slaughterhouse.

"You would not allow a neighbor to treat an animal that way," she said. "If you saw a hurt dog or cat on the side of the road, you might feel bad, but if it was a person, you'd stop."

Stram said part of what OCPA is about is having compassion.

"What we really stand for is that each and every living being has a right to its own life and body. That's the heart of the matter," Stram said.

The easist and fastest that Stram recommends for people to show their compassion for animals is by not eating them.

Even simply giving up eggs and dairy products and still eating meat would make a huge difference.

"The most abused animals in the world are laying hens and and dairy cows," Stram said.

Stram claimed the vegan lifestyle is not as hard as many perceive it to be.

"I've been doing this for 10 year and it's much easier to find vegetarian restaurants. It's real easy now. You can go into Ralph's and buy soy burgers," she said.

Stram said there is a way for people to change their lifestyle as soon as they sit down to their their next holiday meal or tomorrow's lunch.

"The secret to not eating animals? The stuff on the plate around the meat. Eat that," Stram said. 

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