Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Living up to the Lessons We Teach our Children - an excerpt from Confronting Animal Exploitation

Here's another excerpt from my 23-page essay in Confronting Animal Exploitation, officially due out April 1st (though it looks like you can put it on a Kindle or a Nook right now if you wanted to).
The late Stanley Sapon, professor of psycholinguistics at the University of Rochester, said, “we typically raise children from birth to five or six years in a kind of fantasy-land of ideal behavior on the part of the world’s inhabitants … a ‘land of goodness and mercy,’ a land where the animals are our friends, and we are the friends of the animals.”

Children under a certain age are not taught that other-than-human animals are here for us to exploit and kill. Instead, representations of these beings are used in children’s media to illustrate life lessons, as in books like Chicken Little and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Other stories also teach us that other-than-human animals should be spared suffering and death—as is the case in Bambie—and should live free from captivity and have their intrinsically valuable lives respected by others—a major theme of, for example, the children’s movies Free Willy and Rio.

Vegans parents take these lessons to their logical conclusions and teach their children to not only say that animals are our friends, but also act as if they are. It’s not enough to say, “Be nice to animals.” We need to actually be nice to all animals. Chicken dinner, steak on Fridays and eggs for breakfast run counter to this message.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vegan Kids Rebelling Against Their Parents? - an excerpt from Confronting Animal Exploitation

April 1st! That's the official publication date of Confronting Animal Exploitation. To celebrate the impending release of this book, I'm posting an excerpt from my essay, Vegan Parenting: Navigating and Negating Speciesist Media, which appears in a section of the book titled Veganism in Action.

As the title suggests, my essay centers on speciesism in children's media. But the essay also includes a section that focuses on attitudes which undermine vegan parents and a section in which I outline some practical advice on how to talk to our kids about veganism and speciesism. This excerpt is from the section about attitudes intended to undermine vegan parents.

Another reason children of vegan parents will inevitably choose to eat non-vegan foods, according to some, is that they will rebel against their parents when they reach their teens. They will become ardent meat eaters, much to the joy of the meat-eating majority. It’s an interesting claim, but it’s one that doesn’t warrant much concern from vegan parents.

Vegan parents who are vegan for the reason of respecting the interests of other-than-human animals will likely pass that respect down to their children. An analogous example would be children who are raised as anti-racists. When a person learns from the get-go that oppression is wrong, it’s hard to lose that knowledge. If parents teach their children about the oppressive ideology of speciesism, the oppression of other-than-human animals, and sentience and the interest in living that it entails, then there’s no compelling reason to believe that the kids will someday unlearn that.

Of course, there is still a probability that children of vegan parents will decide that they shouldn’t respect other-than-human animals, or that respecting them means something other than being vegan. On the flip side, there’s also a chance that all the kids of non-vegans out there will come to veganism later in life. Parenting is full of unknowns. All parents need to make peace with that fact.

I'll be posting more excerpts as the publication date gets closer. I'm so excited for this book to come out and for all of you to buy it!

Want to know more about the book? Check out the descriptiontable of contents and author bios. And like it on Facebook

Friday, February 1, 2013

Apa's Nighttime Poem

Here's a Friday poem from Anna.

Apa's Nighttime Poem 
I love you in the morning
I love you when I'm at school
I love you in the afternoon
I love you in the evening
I'll always love you, Apa

Here's Apa. He's a flying bison. He's awesome.

Anna asked for and received a stuffed Apa for Christmas from her Grandpa Ned. She looooves him. So much so that he's started to eat breakfast with us:

And when he's done with breakfast, he plays with some Legos:

And she writes love poems to him.