So Oprah Winfrey’s joined the list of celebs taking the vegan challenge.
From the PETA files:
Inspired by the book Quantum Wellness, by Kathy Freston, Oprahâ€™s going to be cutting all the meat, dairy, and eggs out of her diet in an effort to live a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle.
According to Peta (the original quote’s now gone from Oprah.com), she said:
How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?
Excellent question. I think it’s great that Oprah will bring visibility to veganism, and it’ll be nice to stop being so frustrated by hearing her talk about health, consciousness raising, and spirituality while serving veal and foie gras.
But I wonder if she’ll fare better than Kevin Rose of Digg, who announced on Twitter he was going vegan for two weeks and then never mentioned it again.
A few weeks later, DiggNation was all about “50 new uses for Bacon.” Ugh.
I’m encouraged that people are open to trying to understand veganism, but I think this whole “challenge” approach is the wrong one. Going vegan isn’t a challenge. It’s a decision. To quote the wise yoda:
Do, or do not. There is no try.
If veganism is something you try on like a new diet, you won’t commit, you won’t take it seriously, and you will likely fail. This isn’t the Pepsi Challenge, it’s an ethical lifestyle based on a fundamental philosophical orientation. I can see easing into it, starting by reducing consumption of animal products over time, but I don’t think it should be seen as a contest.
I am not a religious person, but I think it would be odd to speak of “trying” to be a Christian for 2 weeks, or taking “the Islam challenge.” Or could you ask someone to try “the Atheism challenge” and try to go three weeks without believing in God?
It makes it seem like veganism is about deprivation. People often ask me “so you can’t have cheese?” and I always answer “I choose not to, because I don’t want to sponsor animal cruelty.”
Do you ever think to yourself “I can’t have puppy for dinner?” No, you would be horrified at the thought.
Veganism isn’t about depriving yourself of things you want to eat, it is about celebrating your ability to eat only the things you want to eat, where those things are all free of animal cruelty. I no longer have to try to suppress the knowledge that every time I order I meal I’m paying other people to abuse animals.
That’s something to celebrate, not a be challenged by.