I had been following my niece and nephew, both under the age of five, on my brother and sister-in-law's shared Facebook page for years. Every so often I would "like" a picture of the kids or make an admiring comment without any acknowledgment or fanfare, until one day when I came across pictures of the kids decorating eggs for Easter. I was saddened since I knew their joy was unwittingly at the expense of other young innocents. Like most children, they are unaware of their participation in animal cruelty and exploitation because they are conditioned by a non-vegan society that starts with their parents.
Since I knew these pictures were posted by my brother and his wife for their own benefit and that of their friends, I sent the following comment and picture to remind everyone that even painting eggs for Easter is not harmless:
Some vegans are plain fed up and are boycotting holiday affairs or any other gatherings where people are eating animals. Those taking the #LiberationPledge are refusing to sit at tables where victims' bodies are being eaten in order to counter the silent notion that animal suffering and violence is acceptable.
Unfortunately, some have expressed reservations to me about adopting a vegan diet solely because of familial concerns and social negativity. I encourage them to be brave and reach out to others in the vegan community and online for support.
I was informed that my brother will not renege on his position unless I apologize, but I won't apologize for inconvenient truths. The bodies, babies, and eggs of chickens no more belong to me or my brother than my own body, babies, and eggs belong to someone else. Furthermore, the consumption of eggs, which have been capitalized on during Easter to symbolize new life and Christ's Resurrection, tragically and hypocritically entail the deaths of billions of lives. Every day thousands of newly born male chicks slide down chutes and conveyor belts on their way to macerators or dumpsters because they are useless byproducts of the egg industry.
I wonder what my brother and sister-in-law will tell the kids as they get older and ask questions. What might they say? Aunt Bethany cares about other animals and that's why you're not allowed to see her anymore? Aunt Bethany loves animals and thinks they should be treated as we want to be treated so she can't come over? What could they possibly say to justify such banishment?
While it's taken me some time, I have chosen to forgive my brother. One day I hope he will come to see my post for what it truly was—a chance to raise awareness and encourage practices that are merciful, kind, and just to other animals.
I miss my niece and nephew very much, and I know they would welcome me with loving, open arms if they could right now. Maybe they will one day soon, and maybe my brother will be able to show me some mercy, too.
Vegan Starter Kit