If an ideal vegan world means no living thing is ever harmed or killed so we can eat: we better learn to photosynthesize. Since we don’t convert sunlight to energy (vitamin D doesn’t count), I invite you to consider where you draw the line. Vegans and vegetarians must draw the line somewhere: for example- do you eschew meat but feed domestic carnivore animals (cats, dogs, ferrets, fish etc…) their preference? Do you buy products made from animals like gelatin, leather or wool? Do you purchase gas guzzling banana from afar? Do you kill germs? Or bugs?
Bugs… I watch ants “go marching 20 by 20 hurrah, hurrah!” and scream, “Aaaarrrgh!” The black speckled undulating trail shimmers from the compost to the counter, up over the cabinet, across the stove, down the sink to the crack under the door. Upon close inspection, I see they carry bits of food or even other ant bodies (did your friend get tired?). I dusted their sweet feet with baby powder (hoping they would slip), and tried to lure them outside with other treats, then I sprayed them with orange essence (OK it was herbal orange ant killer, but I tried to play nice!)
Ahimsa, the practice of non-violence, I understand; I am a conscious eater, animal lover and locavore (see Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for a description). But, I can’t say my back is sore from sweeping the way in front of me clear of bugs. I do relocate spiders outside or to a better corner than the one above my bed. But I love the spiders because they eat the flies swirling around my fruit and compost bucket. I love the microbes and the bugs that eat my compost down to a rich, black humus which in turn helps me grow lovely vegetables and fruits (to toss in the compost bucket swirling with flies).
I do my very best to keep away from the inhumane slaughter of caged animals. However, I know that every mechanized harvest (including corn and soybeans) lops the heads off of countless bunny rabbits and mice, moles and other small mammals. I agree with Barbara Kingsolver that no type of food production escapes killing living things. I just try to eat lower on the food chain and local from my backyard, neighboring CSA’s and farmer’s markets.
But I must draw the line at insects. I know honey is a sticking point for some vegans. I have had to come to terms with that, so I buy local honey to keep the bees buzzing. I try to induce my ant colonies to take a pesticide free hint, but they don’t. This morning I rinsed my mouth with a few of them from the faucet- what were those black things in my teeth?
Aaaaarrrgh! Ants. Where is that orange spray….