March 2, 2016 by Cláudia
I have seen videos of violence against animals. I have seen them suffering. I don’t want to be part of that anymore, and I’m not.
This was the best decision I ever made. But now I feel disconnected with everyone else. When I see a steak I imagine a cow or a pig, the images of those poor animals are stuck inside my head, how they suffer, how they are mistreated.
I never talk about animal rights unless people ask me about my diet or the conversation flows in that direction. I never shame nor attack meat eaters and I don’t prescribe or subscribe to that attitude for one minute. I feel like if I really were to engage that conversation with the people that matter to me, my view of them would change and our friendship would too. So there is this boundary that prevents me and the people that matter to me to get into ideological debates that would make us antagonize.
But sometimes, other people don’t respect that boundary: they talk about how veganism annoys them, how animal rights activists annoy them. I also feel like many times I am being dismissed as being too sensitive “oh, she’s a vegetarian” is the response to a lot of things I am trying to say. Or that fact is introduced in a conversation as something funny about me – curiously enough, studying literature is also something that is pointed out as amusing. Everything that defines me the most, and that I am most proud of, is turned into a carnivalesque cartoon of me.
Perhaps because I don’t talk about it too often with people that don’t follow the same ideas, I am mistaken for not passionate or not staunch enough. But I am. I’ve made this decision and I believe in it deeply, so don’t go and tell me it’s stupid. I wouldn’t make fun of your convictions.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it’s hard to be in an ideological minority. I don’t want to become an eremite or be surrounded only by people exactly like me, but also it’s difficult to digest that my closest friends-boyfriend-family are all part of the cruelty that I’m trying to fight against. It’s like I’m personally their friend but ideologically their enemy.
To have a minority ideology is always like this. You believe in it so much, you’ve seen the cruelty that is involved, you believe there is a better way, but you are… alone.
I want to be a peaceful animal rights activist, that is in harmony with everyone else, and I manage to do that most of the time. But there are times, specially after watching something particularly shocking or emotive, that I cannot help it but to react emotionally. These times, I take it personally. I get angry at the ones that are around me.
I still haven’t figured out how I can fight for what I believe in and remain a tolerant peaceful human being that accepts everyone for who they are. It seems paradoxical but if I am attacking people, then I am not acting accordingly to what I believe in either. On the other hand, if I am condescending, it seems that I am allowing the injustices to continue to exist.
It is hard to be a human being.