My blog has been a tad quiet for a little while, mainly due to the fact I have had some 'stuff' going on outside the world of Google - a break up. They're never easy, they hurt and it is sad to close the book on a chapter of your life, no matter how inevitable or 'right' the decision may be. But it got me wondering. I turned vegan during the relationship, and whilst it didn't solely break things apart, it did pose the question of an omni-vegan relationship and how they work, if they work and can they work?
I do think that omni-vegetarian relationships work a lot easier than perhaps a relationship involving a vegan. This is at least how I have found things to be. For me, when vegetarian, even though I was aware of animal cruelty in the meat industry I didn't truly know the extent of what went on to produce to byproducts of milk cheese and eggs. Maybe I wasn't ready to know, but regardless, the depth of my knowledge and thus my anger was much less as there was less to be angry about. I find that vegetarianism, though it can be out of concern and protest of the treatment of animals, is closer to a diet, whereas veganism is a way of life. It is a way of being, of thinking, of considering others. Of viewing animals and why they are here. And this is what caused conflict in me.
When vegetarian, seeing my other half using milk, cheese and eggs didn't make my moral fibres flinch at all. But now these actions have become hard for me to watch. I see my friends encouraging the production by buying into the market and exhibiting a demand which just causes the industry to continue as it is now. And even though I feel the same flinch within, to see it from someone you are in an intimate relationship with becomes a tougher demon to wrestle with. You don't want to preach for fear of alientation, however you don't want it to continue for fear of resentment. You love this person and they have amazing qualities yet it doesn't extend to animals. You fight everyday against the system, against the 'normal' ideals and it almost feels like it's put to waste when you see that special person buying into the very thing you oppose. They care about you, perhaps even have animals of their own, but cannot show that compassion to other living beings. They are guilty of speciesism.
Some people are able to put these aspects aside and continue a loving and successful relationship, even marriage and are able to raise children together despite these differing ethics. Others cannot. I am not saying the those who buy into the industry in any way are bad people, perhaps even the opposite. These people are friends, family and partners and have amazing qualities that make you love them, and maybe that is what makes it even harder. The fact that they are lovely and wonderful that you cannot comprehend why they won't make the change. Why they won't live according to their good nature and go vegan. I know it's not good to be seen as a militant vegan, if anything it puts people off. It's good to promote by example, so for me that's trying to be the best person I can. But I am far from perfect, and I guess I lack the ability to push aside my ethics and accept a partner that eats meat. Some say that is a negative, others view it as something to be commended - that I am strong within my convictions and want to share them with the person I share my life with. My veganism has become a huge part of me - I believe it was always there, I just had to find it. So now that I have, I don't want to lose it.
I foresee my future with someone who shares a lot of the fundamentals with me, and my ethics are a huge part of that. I want to be able to know the person I wake up with is someone that extends their compassion to animals, that sees a pig and sees a sentient being and not bacon. That sees a cow and sees its beauty and not a beefburger. I want to be able to teach these values to my children, if I have any, without conflict from their father. I want them to have that connection from an early age, and to live with that extra spark of love within them. With the strength to follow their convictions and not apologise for it, to be surrounded by animals of different breeds and see no difference of importance between any of them. I want them to be vegan.
So whilst it is definitely possible to have a loving omni vegan relationship, as there exists many, I don't feel it is for me. I respect those who are able to make it work and feel they are lucky to find someone who they love so much that their differences don't split them. But they way I feel right now, and how I've always been is quite stubborn, and compromising my beliefs is not the way I am wired. I just have to hope my vegan prince exists, or it is a life surrounded solely by kitties and chickens and piggies for me!