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The End

I won’t be posting to this blog anymore, for a number of reasons.

My transition is done, so I feel I can move on to other things now. I intend to start a new journal/blog at some point in the near future, but maintain its privacy and make sure that my family do not have access to it.

It will likely be a combination blog; veganism, mental health, Buddhist principles and feminism. If you follow those tags, perhaps we will come across each other in the future.

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making a difference

I’ve been told that when you’re vegan, you save approximately a hundred lives a year. I don’t doubt that statistic, but I’m having trouble feeling like I’ve actually made an impact. Yes, I am no longer directly impacting the lives of farmed animals by buying products manufactured using them. But I do not feel that the market has changed since I did. I do not feel like lives are actually being spared because I am no longer making those purchases. I feel like there’s just going to be more meat eggs and milk going on rapid-sale to get it sold before the expiry date because I didn’t buy them. I know the market will eventually change, as more people make ethical decisions. My previous purchasing/consumption habits are haunting me; I just don’t feel like I can take any solace in the fact that I’ve impacted some animal’s lives for the better.

In order to feel useful, I agreed to take in a foster dog a few weeks ago, even though I knew that my dogs probably weren’t going to be thrilled with the idea of it. But this dog had a tough time keeping a foster home, and his previous “parents” were on the brink of euthanizing before a friend of mine took him into her small rescue agency, saving him. Initially I thought I’d be able to manage and help him, but his issues were much more intense that I initially thought, and I had a rude awakening to the fact that I really know nothing about dog behaviour (something I’m looking to change over time). He had aggression behaviours that were more widespread and intense than I was able to handle. I was a little afraid of him at times, even had nights where my dogs and I slept on my couch and left this dog alone in my room simply so that I could visit the bathroom and kitchen without having to get past him while he was growling. I didn’t want to give up on him though. I was mortified about what might happen if I couldn’t handle him, given that I was the fourth foster home that he had been placed in since his removal. I struggled for a long time with what I should do. I have the resources to help these kinds of behaviours in people, so I thought I’d be able to help him. But a trainer convinced me that I was not a failure because I could not help him, that I wouldn’t beat myself up if I couldn’t rehabilitate an elephant or bear; I don’t know their language so I don’t know how to read them. So I conceded and we began looking for somewhere else for him to go. He was able to go back to the second woman who fostered him temporarily (he was amazing with her, she just didn’t have room for him initially) and we actually found an amazing young woman who has a history of helping aggressive dogs looking to adopt him. So, thankfully he gets a happy ending and a chance to keep living his adorable life. I played a part in that, so I need to be proud. But I still have trouble shaking the feeling of failure.

After it was back to just me and my critters at home, I was coming home from a walk with my dogs, and I saw a dead mouse on the road. I went to move it to the grass so it wouldn’t get squished, and discovered that it wasn’t actually dead. It was incredibly muddy, fur was all separated, feet were so encrusted that they looked infected; barely moving. So I scooped the poor thing up in my dog’s ball launcher, and carried it home in that. That’s how little it was moving… it let me do that. I brought it home, and gave it a bath. It perked right up and I had a hard time getting it out of my sink. The little bugger eventually got out of the little habitat I had set up, so I guess that means they were feeling better. I had intended to release him/her back to the spot where I had picked them up after they were looking better, but they beat me to it. No sign of them since, so I assume they didn’t run into my cat. So I’m hoping that turned out for the best.

The main thing is, I need to focus on the differences I’ve made in the lives of my fur babies. I may not be changing the world, but I’ve changed their worlds. My cat no longer sits in an empty room at the OSPCA. My first dog no longer lives in a kennel only getting outside twice a day if he’s lucky, and doesn’t run the risk of being put back into a semester or year of testing/experiments. My second dog no longer is starving on the streets. But I keep forgetting that I’ve helped them, cuz they’re just here with me and I love them and this is our life now.

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I’m Grumpy

Every time someone (who I assume or know is a meat-eater) posts something about animal rights, ESPECIALLY something about typically farmed animals… I immediately comment on it all excited asking them if they’re veg/vegan too.

It’s my passive-aggressive way of calling them a hypocrite.

Oh, you think it’s cute and happy when Dairy cows are released from their confinement, and get to live in a nice field because of some amazing people, instead of being sent to slaughter? Oh cool, STOP DRINKING MILK AND EATING ANIMALS THEN.

Except, I can never actually open with that, cuz what if the person actually is vegan and I just didn’t know it yet.

I just get so mad at the hypocrisy. The disconnect. How stupid people are. How ignorant. How blind they are to the impacts of their actions.

I get mad. I get frustrated. I just want this shit to end and there’s nothing I can do to end all the suffering I know is going on around me every second of every day from every angle.

Sorry guys, guess I’m having a bad night.

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Status Symbol

Leather has always been seen as a status symbol. It used to be for the rich, the people who have money to flaunt. It was something I wanted, something I thought would make me cool. I always wanted a Fossil purse, I got excited when my friend gave me a hand-me-down wallet, I was thrilled when I found a bargain on a jacket in a Value Village.

And then I saw Earthlings. And then I saw pictures posted by friends at Toronto Cow Save of skins coming out of the factory, steaming in the winter chill from being so recently on their owners. And then I saw them in person when I finally had the courage to go. The white parts of the cows hides weren’t white. They were red, almost indistinguishable from the black/brown parts they were so covered in blood.

Before I started seeing these things, I knew I wasn’t going to be buying any more leather, but I figured I’d be okay to keep using the things that I already had around the house. Mainly my moccasins. I haven’t worn them in months though. Not since Earthlings.

Then last night I went to write in my journal, something I have not done in a while, and really ought to be doing on a regular basis. I paused before I went into my room, realizing that my journal was leather… I tried to talk myself into believing that it was faux, so I’d be okay to keep using it. But I couldn’t trick myself into believing it. I wanted to though. I looked up ways to distinguish faux from real on the off chance that it actually was faux, but after smelling it; I knew. I was repulsed. Recoiled from it after that sniff, I couldn’t have it that near my face.

What a change, eh? I went from looking at leather with awe, wishing that I could have certain things that I could not afford, to being repulsed and saddened and seeing horrifying images in my mind.

But leather is still a status symbol.

It is no longer a symbol of your wealth, it is now a symbol of your character. When I see leather on the streets, I do not see people with expendable income, I see people with disconnected lives. I see people enjoying their ignorance. We all know that leather is cow skin. But we aren’t taught that leather was A COWS SKIN. We don’t acknowledge the death that took place for that jacket, wallet, purse, or pair of boots. We just want to be seen as having that cool thing that everyone wants.

So I’m aiming for a new social recognition that I’d like to be a part of. I don’t want to be seen as “cool” or “rich” or anything like that (not that I ever was anyways, but, I can’t lie: I always wanted it) anymore. I want to be seen as compassionate. And that’s not a “look”… that’s a “do.”

 

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Illegal to Kill Cattle?

I was cruising the Criminal Code of Canada, looking to see what I could find on civil disobedience and if I could lose my spotless police-check record (which I need for my field of work) should I ever feel like being a little stubborn in a protest at some point. I didn’t find what I was looking for, because I got sidetracked by a criminal offence pertaining to cattle.

  • 444. (1) Every one commits an offence who wilfully
    • (a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures cattle; or
    • (b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by cattle.

And the following offence.

  • 445. (1) Every one commits an offence who, wilfully and without lawful excuse,
    • (a) kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose; or
    • (b) places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by dogs, birds or animals that are not cattle and are kept for a lawful purpose.

According to section 444 of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to kill cattle. There is no mention of any exceptions (such as those found in section 287 regarding the exceptions to the legal restrictions on abortion) and if you’ve ever taken a high school law class, you know how nitty-gritty those legal folks can get with precision of language.

On the topic of language, I would like to note the given definition of cattle.

cattle

« bétail »

“cattle” means neat cattle or an animal of the bovine species by whatever technical or familiar name it is known, and includes any horse, mule, ass, pig, sheep or goat;

Upon finding this, I was surprised to see that the term cattle officially refers to other “farm” animals as well; not exclusively bovines.

So… the Criminal Code states the killing of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses etc as a criminal offence punishable by fine and/or imprisonment, with no exceptions listed… yet there are no slaughterhouse-busts. Apparently mind altering substances that individuals (consent to) take illegally is worth substantially more police attention than the endless number of lives being taken illegally (and without consent).

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My Identity

I have been on an emotional roller-coaster lately, and it has not been at all fun.

I bounce back and forth between being genuinely happy about things, finding joy and love everywhere; and feeling like nothing at all is right with my life.

I have some really fantastic people in my life, and I get a lot of support from them. But lately I feel like my support from them and their willingness to be around me is contingent on me not talking about certain things. Normally I’m respectful of avoiding topics that might trigger certain things in certain people, and I’m not one to intentionally make someone feel uncomfortable.  But when everyone requires that I mute myself on the same topics… that becomes a little hard to handle.

I get that not everyone can like everything about you. But when that thing is so crucial to your identity, often feeling like the biggest part of who you are and how you define yourself… how do you deal with that? How do you deal with people saying that they love and respect you, so long as you don’t talk about the thing that’s most important to you? How do you feel loved entirely when you think people would be happier if you were different?

I’m not going to change; this is who I am. But sometimes I just don’t know how to deal with the impact it’s having on my life.

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A Sunday on Pig Island

I was able to meet up with Toronto Pig Save again yesterday, during the largest vigil I have ever attended. There were a total of 37 of us there yesterday, and it was the strongest sense of community I’ve felt in a while. Some people even recognized me from here and my impossible-to-miss rainbow hat, so thank you to anyone who mentioned my blog 🙂

I saw people I’d met previously, I met new people. Most importantly for me is I met more people my age. Everyone that I’ve met has been beyond friendly (I mean, have you ever met a mean vegan? I’m pretty sure that’s an oxymoron) but with how I’ve felt lately in terms of feeling isolated from my friends… it’s great for me to be starting to connect with more people my age.

One dedicated young woman (with awesome pink hair) was there a whole hour before everyone else. One of the memorable conversations I had was with a gentleman; I had been telling him how I had come to be vegan, and asked how long he’d been vegan. He didn’t know. There was no solid date that he decided to be vegan. Apparently it just sort of happened gradually over time without much planning. I think this is an excellent thing in terms of telling people about how easy going and being vegan is. If some people just end up vegan accidentally, how hard can it be to do intentionally? Clearly, not very.

I had a conversation about that with a woman at a red light who had taken one of the pamphlets being offered to her. I told her that I was recently vegan, and barely noticing in terms of food. We talked about how there are substitutes for literally everything now, and I told her that to me, it really only feels like I’m buying different brands of food at the grocery store. She was very supportive and assured us she was going to do more research as she drove away when the light changed.

I think this is the first vigil that I’ve attended where the positives outweighed the negatives for me. I actually had a really good day.

I had a good day despite the fact that some people were laughing at us from their cars. Despite the fact that a driver re-routed his truck so that he wouldn’t have to stop at the light in front of us. Despite the fact a driver threw carrots at us on his way out after “unloading” his pigs (because, didn’t you know: vegans are always starving because we have nothing to eat… so really, he was being nice……………) while yelling who knows what. We had waved at his passenger because it looked like he was recording us or taking pictures on his phone.

I also had a good day despite seeing this after leaving the vigil. I had posted this link on my wall in the morning. 

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All in all, I think I’m getting better at managing things. Before leaving my house in the morning, I had to tell myself that I wasn’t allowed to get mad at myself for not being able to do anything for the pigs today. I need to remind myself that some things can be done today (like showing love and compassion to as many of them as I can) and some things can’t be done today (I can’t save any of the ones being sent to slaughter). But I can help reduce the demand by talking to people about it and helping them realize what they are participating in. Like the man at the light the first time I was there. Like the woman I spoke to yesterday. That is why I had a good day despite all of those thing, because someone listened and understood.

Now please excuse me while I go dig in to the delicious blondies I have cooling on my stove top.  Recipe.

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Photos: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Full Album: here 

Also, if you haven’t checked out Toronto Pig Save, you should!