I’m not a vegan, but some of my best friends practice this way of eating. They avoid all animal products. It usually starts out as something of an ethical concern for animals, then broadens into a worry about the effect of animal agriculture on the planet, and then they start to investigate whether the consumption of animal products is even healthy for human beings.
I can’t really say my concern for animals is as strong as the majority of vegans. But when they talk to me about the enormous toll that animal agriculture takes on the Earth, and some recent scientific findings about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, it makes me think. In my time I have loved my steaks, my Chicken McNuggets, and my beef jerky, but I really won’t be surprised if I one day end up as a vegan.
I like the idea of living a healthy life on a healthy planet. Being good to animals is just a bonus.
It’s with the idea that the anti-vaccine forces need to consider those alliances which will move the health of our common humanity forward. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have a greater vegan presence in our movement.
I take one of my good friends as an example of somebody who should be a natural ally to our cause. She is vegan, is an athlete, is concerned about social justice issues, and thinks that movies like the documentary Food, Inc., about the conditions in which agricultural animals are raised should be required viewing for everybody on the planet.
And yet, she is an enormous supporter of vaccines, and is another one of those people who has asked me not to talk about this issue with her.
IF, I could talk to her, here’s what I would say.
“Do you realize how a typical vaccines is created? They isolate a virus from a human being, then passage it multiple times through animal tissue (usually mice, rats, monkeys, or pigs), then test it on living animals who are subsequently sacrificed, before reinjecting it into human beings. Do you realize that by getting a vaccine you are putting animal tissue inside your body? To say nothing of those vaccines which use aborted human fetal tissue, and the host of chemicals that you would never accept being on your vegan food.”
I guess you could call that my elevator pitch, that thing I’d say in a minute or two to somebody I met on an elevator. Is that succinct enough? I don’t want to overwhelm them with facts, like how their rights have been taken away by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the presence in Washington of at least three lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry for every member of Congress, or the recent revelations of senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. William Thompson.
The wider view?…
The passion of most vegans I have met for animal rights is quite impressive. What I have also enjoyed about them is that although they start with a moral concern, the vegans I know have widened their gaze to look at the effect of animal agriculture on our environment, as well as the effect animal products have on our health.
I believe this open-minded approach serves them well, and is likely to gain them many new adherents. I would like to add a new question to their search for knowledge.
Knowing that vaccines are created with animal products, and require the injection of animal products into the human body; How Can a Vegan EVER Get a Vaccine?