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Telling Agriculture’s Story, and Walking a Mile in Animal Byproduct Free Shoes

March 30, 2011

Today on the Iowa State University campus, members from Vegan Outreach took up post at the corner of Parks Library. Unfortunately, I was unable to go and share my viewpoints and listen to their opinion, however, a good friend of mine did get that opportunity. This is a recount of his experience talking to the members.

“As I walked by, they handed me packets on ‘Compassionate Choices’ and ‘Guide to Cruel-Free Eating’. I stuck around however, wanting to talk to them.” He explains how the one member (we’ll call him Jack) didn’t seem to want to talk to him. However, my friend is not one to be easily deterred and started asking questions along the lines of “if he had been on a farm, why he had gone vegan, if he believed everything he saw in the handouts, and if he had attempted to remove all animal by-products from his life.” Jack apparently didn’t have too many answers, but the highlight of this story was when he admitted that it would be impossible to remove all animal by-products from his life, and that the world would never be completely animal by-product free.

This is the "Power Plate." Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sued the USDA to get them to adopt this animal byproduct free nutrition diagram.

Ironic isn’t it, that Jack and other vegans will admit that animals are so useful to their everyday lives? Going vegan is a personal choice, I don’t believe I would ever be able to remove animal products from my diet, but I respect those who do. It’s not something I would choose and I truly believe the animal agriculture industry is vital to the survival of agriculture, but it’s Jack’s choice to make, not mine.

I do disagree with those who wanted to  change our food pyramid to exclude all animal byproducts, but like I said before, I will respect the opinions of those who choose to go vegan. I also have a true desire to learn why they think the way they do, and what a ‘mile in their shoes’ feels like; that is why I will be participating in “Week Vegan,” the idea of the very friend who challenged Jack and the Vegan Outreach. Next week (April 3-10), we will have an animal byproduct free diet. No meat, eggs, or dairy. If you are interested in seeing how we handle this check back at the Five W’s of Food Production, I’ll keep it updated with the cost of the food, as well as how we are handling our new diet. Hopefully after we walk a mile in their shoes, we’ll be able to tell agriculture’s story that much more effectively.

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