I’ve been a vegetarian for more than a decade, and vegan several years. In that time, I’ve seen significant changes to how vegetarianism is perceived. They’ve mostly been good changes. Vegans and vegetarians have much to be thankful for.

The reality of modern animal agriculture is sobering, if not disturbing. That reality is not going away, and very few veggies expect it end to anytime soon. But progress is important, regardless of scale.

I now have a decent chance of getting an acceptable entree, possibly even highlighted on the menu, at any restaurant without looks as if I’m from Mars. I buy processed food that is semi-reliably labeled “vegan” or “lacto-ovo veg”. I rarely need to explain the basics of veganism, yet new acquaintances are likely to be thoughtfully accommodating. I actually know vegetarians in the flesh, and not by only the cold facts and trolling and hysteria of the interwebs. Years ago, random people occasionally said been wanting to meet a vegan in the flesh, including myself. All of those things have made it far easier to be a vegetarian or vegan, as well as help get rid of the notion that we’re fighting battles in solitude. We’re no longer merely tolerated and tossed in the pile of do-gooders who obviously (yeah, right) have more fortitude or some other mystical force. We have respect, and people listen to us as intelligent peers with a real point that merits consideration. That makes it much easier to be a vegan human, and easy to be thankful that there’s an entire social movement backing us up.

A common goal, and mine as well, is just “reduce suffering”. No one’s planning a revolution; we’re just planning lunch. Preventing even one animal from suffering is worthwhile, because they exist and think and feel as individuals, like humans. It’s the same concept that might keep some doctors in hospitals, despite knowing they’ll never finish the job. So we’re aiming for steady change and building solid momentum.

If our numbers are growing and continue to grow, we’re doing the job right. We’ve been growing. That success is based on the success carved out by the veggies who preceded us. It is a privilege to contribute, and an honor to have contributed, to a movement that’s making a real, positive change in the world.

To everyone who’s been a vegetarian or vegan… thank you.

Friday ~ November 27, 2009 by b

Posted in grain,veg | Comments Off on progress |

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