Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Written by Dr. Will Tuttle
Photo: One Green Planet
For those of us dedicated to embodying and advocating the vegan message of compassion for all life, it’s always heartening when we witness someone “getting it” and going vegan. Considering the pervasive indoctrination in the opposite direction, this is no small feat, and a cause for rejoicing on behalf of the animals, people, ecosystems, and future generations who are profoundly benefitted every time someone goes vegan.
However, given the internal and external pressures on vegans, the opposite can happen. Considering the urgency of our global situation, it seems equally tragic when someone, for whatever reason, moves from vegan living back to the mainstream. This was the case recently with Alex Jamieson, somewhat well known as the author ofVegan Cooking for Dummies, and Living Vegan for Dummies, and as the vegan significant other of Morgan Spurlock, creator of Supersize Me. We can learn a lot from Alex’s example it seems to me.
In her recent and controversial blog “I’m Not Vegan Anymore,” one of the first sentences is, “13 years ago, when I decided to eat a vegan diet and live a vegan lifestyle, I did it for my health.” This seems similar to someone proclaiming they’re no longer in love and saying, “When I decided to marry you, I did it for financial security.” Vegan living, like love, is not about getting something for myself; it’s about giving: giving mercy and kindness to others who are vulnerable in our hands. Going vegan to get health is like getting married to get wealth: it’s typically not a lasting motivation and it corrodes the integrity of our commitment. If we don’t deepen our motivation beyond personal health, it’s easy to fall prey to the “cravings” for an adverse affair of some kind—the bacon smells so enticing; the neighbor is so attractive. Motivation is at the heart of both love and veganism, as well as of our spiritual evolution.
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Dr. Will Tuttle, an educator, author, pianist, and composer, presents 150 lectures, workshops, and concerts yearly throughout North America and Europe. Author of the acclaimed best-seller, The World Peace Diet, he is a recipient of the Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award, and is the co-founder of Circle of Compassion ministry. A vegan since 1980, he is a Dharma Master in the Zen tradition, and has created eight CD albums of uplifting original piano music.