Robyn Moore is a badass activist. She’s also a Mommy who wants to meet other Mommy’s who would never consider stuffing chicken “fingers” in their kids mouth. She created a group to support her decision to raise her child ethically. This is one of the posts that us Editors had a hard time not bolding every single line. Robyn so eloquently shares her compassionate heart. We hope you’ll share this piece with all the Glamazonian Mommazons in your world.
After giving birth to my sweet daughter, Charlotte, in August, I was determined to surround my family with a supportive community of like-minded people in my city. So I created the NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup. It’s a place for families to gather and exchange ideas, and where veg kids can have fun without having to worry about what they can eat or participate in. It’s a group of families who are choosing to raise their kids humanely, according to the belief that animals are not here for our use, whether it be for our food, products, entertainment, or clothing.
As vegetarian and vegan parents, teaching our kids to respect animals and to oppose all “traditions” and practices that cause harm or suffering to animals is a main priority. If we want to change how animals are treated, we have to start with ourselves and our own families. It requires that we look at our everyday choices to see how they affect others around us, including animals—and teach the next generation to do the same. Most parents—and people for that matter—oppose animal cruelty in theory, but when it comes to putting that into practice, it’s another story. We tell our kids to treat animals kindly, but then we buy the family dog from a pet store instead of adopting one from a shelter who’s desperately in need of a home. Or we sit down as a family to a dinner table full of animals who’ve been treated horribly (to say the least). As Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely said, “You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”
I created this group for parents who are raising their kids to be conscious consumers:
- We’re teaching our kids to steer clear of artificial venues like circuses, zoos, and aquariums, where animals are on display for gawking humans, forced to perform confusing tricks (what’s the thrill in seeing a circus elephant twirl in a circle?!), and live their entire miserable lives in small enclosures, nothing like where they’d live in nature. John Youngman said it best: “As for educational value, the only substantive thing a polar bear in captivity teaches kids is that it’s okay to ruin an animal’s life for our viewing pleasure.”
- We’re teaching our kids the truth about where our food comes from—and it’s not from “happy cows in California.” They won’t be partaking in the standard American diet—a diet that callously treats animals as commodities. The majority of meat, dairy products, and eggs consumed in this country comes from animals who never get to see the light of day—literally billions of frustrated animals who, right now, are confined to huge, windowless warehouses in tiny cages and crates, unable to turn around or stretch a limb.
- We’re teaching our kids to find alternatives to products that have been tested on animals. Millions of frightened animals sit locked behind the bars of laboratory cages, crouched in fear, trembling at the thought of the next procedure for which they’ll be yanked out of their cage to have electrodes implanted into their skull or toxic chemicals dripped into their eyes or rammed down their throats.
- We’re teaching our kids that animal skins should be left on the animals they belong to. Sounds reasonable enough, no? Animals stripped of their fur, hide, and wool often live in horrible, confining conditions and suffer from atrocities, including flesh mutilations, suffocation, gassing, and electrocution, and many are even skinned alive. No matter how cute that jacket or sweater is, we teach our kids that cruelty is never in style.
It seems like we’re teaching our kids something that is just plainly obvious, but most of America chooses to look the other way when it comes to animal suffering. If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, “Don’t tell me what happens to the animals” or “I can’t watch that video—it’s too upsetting,” I’d be rich! I get it: Nobody wants to see animals suffering, but when you turn away from the videos and the facts, what you’re really doing is turning away from the animals (and your own conscience). Turning away only eases your discomfort, not theirs. And if it’s too awful to even watch with just your eyes, imagine what the animals are enduring with their bodies. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be paying people to do what we can’t even watch. As Elie Wiesel said: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Most adults are capable of finding restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan meals, choosing events that don’t exploit animals and meeting likeminded friends with the same beliefs and interests. But when it comes to kids, their lack of independence makes it a little harder, so they need some help from us adults! That’s why it’s so important for parents of veg kids to be proactive and help create a loving, accepting community for them to be a part of.
A vegetarian/vegan kids-and-parents group that can come together and enjoy cruelty-free events is a dream come true. There are more and more people out there who are making the connection and no longer want to contribute to animal-abusing industries. We’ll save our money, thank you. We vote with our dollars and consciously reject the products and activities that support animal suffering. Let’s hope this group grows to one day include mainstream America!
Members of the NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup can look forward to many events including vegan cookie swaps, Easter egg hunts in Central Park (without real eggs, of course), vegan ice cream outings to the East Village, make-your-own-pizza parties, and good old-fashioned potlucks and picnics. The ideas are endless!
Check out this short on vegan parenting from Perhaps Media;
If you’re a parent raising a vegetarian or vegan child in New York City, please join! If you live elsewhere, check your area to see if a veg parenting group already exists. If not, start your own!
Start a Group for Vegan Parents And Kids in Your City!