Loud, Obnoxious Vegan

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Most people like their vegans quiet and deferential. Antonia Moore figures that only helps the human animals.

I’m what people call a “loud, obnoxious vegan.”

For years, I was an “apologetic vegan” – the vegan who doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable. At parties, if someone fretted over what I’d eat, I said, “Don’t worry about me! There’s beer!” At restaurants, if someone asked, “Mind if I order chicken?” I said, “Don’t worry about me!”

I mean, a nice person doesn’t make others uncomfortable.

Then I joined in an action to expose animal abuse. With about 70 people, I walked onto a farm that supplies markets with chickens labeled “humanely raised.” That day, I saw chickens so sick, weak, and injured they could barely move. I saw birds dying, unable to stand because of the huge breast muscles they’re bred to develop.

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I saw friends in tears, begging the police to take the sickest birds for veterinary care. I saw my friends taken to jail. I saw the chickens left behind to die. I saw the inside of jail myself.

And when I re-entered my regular life, I began to sometimes ask my loved ones to consider eating something else.

Then I went to a slaughterhouse. A group of us waited in midnight darkness, because that’s when animals are trucked in – when no one’s around. I saw trucks crammed with trembling young pigs, deprived of food and water on their last days. We gave the pigs water and a gentle touch – the first and last they’d know. I watched them driven through the gates.

I’m not the same person I was. No longer apologetic, I’m “a loud obnoxious vegan.” It’s the only way I can be. I now take any opening to describe what I’ve seen, because we don’t really know. What happens to animals is hidden and lied about.

At a party, I won’t say, “Don’t worry about me!” when asked if I mind seeing bits of an animal who lived in misery and didn’t want to die.

My party invitations have dwindled. I often feel isolated and sad. But a person can’t un-see things, and my silence would betray the animals – who are far more isolated and sad than I’ll ever be.

Do I make you uncomfortable? I hope so.

With a Perspective, I’m Antonia Moore.

Antonia Moore is a quiet copy editor and a loud animal rights activist who lives in San Mateo.