The line between vegan and extremism

May 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am taking a pause from writing my recent entry after a long conversation with a co-worker in the work parking lot.

See, the other night I watched the movie “Year of the Dog,” which stars Molly Shannon and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.

Without giving too much away, Peggy (played by Molly) is a dog lover and owner and ends up as a vegan and animal rights activist.

You would think, “oh gee, Bethany, you would LOVE this movie!” I mean, Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the No. 10 best film of 2007.

Well, yes, it was good to see a vegan movie BUT the tone was completely off and offensive.

First of all, whereas they brought up some of the issues with the meat industry and the treatment of animals, both farm and domestic, the script threw in the one-liners that gives vegans dirty looks, such as “meat is murder.” Whereas this is what I believe, at this point Peggy was a vegan for all of a few weeks. And her little niece, not even 5 years old, asked why Aunt Peggy wasn’t eating meat. The looks the parents gave Peggy when she said it to the little girl was “she’s nuts.”

That was the problem I had with it all. When Peggy talks of the horrors of animal experiments, fur coats and the meat industry, everyone except her vegan friend (only one) gave her the “she’s crazy” look then laughed it off as if she’s the weirdo in their life that can be barely tolerated.

That is until she snaps and tries to kill someone. This is when her veganism, or as I see it veganism in general, went from an innocent “hobby” in their eyes to the extremism they feared in the back of their minds.  They made it seem like this: That veganism was just a hobby, like when a teenager decides to be Wiccan or Buddhist or they go goth. But if gone too far, it can alienate and hurt.

It’s obvious that all vegans do not condone violence, as our premise is that animals should not be experimented on, tortured or killed. So why would the creator of “Year of the Dog” think it was wise for the main character, now a vegan who is clearly upset with what is happening to animals, to try committing murder so “he could feel what it’s like to feel hunted” and make everyone think she needs some mental help? I’m not sorry for being vegan and I do not need to be in rehab for wanting to save animals!

At the end they try to “right” this bad vegan view in the span of less than 5 minutes. The damage has already been done. And even the way that Wikipedia writes it doesn’t sound like the ending was convincing enough: “She must follow her soul. She abandons her former life and heads off to the protest, content that this is her greater reason for living.”

Being vegan for two years now and in a world where vegans are definitely more accepted than before, I don’t know what it was like just a few years ago when veganism was an even harder path, especially without the Internet. Nonetheless, vegans are still persecuted. We are still looked at like we’re “crazy.” And this movie did not help, by a long shot.

I can’t find the specific clips but here is the trailer, though it doesn’t really show what I am talking about:


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