Vegan Families

Benjamin Lyons

Passionate vegan dad of two amazing little girls, co-founder of Little Nest Refuge.

Passionate vegan dad of two amazing little girls, co-founder of Little Nest Refuge.

Life as a vegan parent is pretty much the same as life as a vegan, but with the extremes reaching further. The same basic principles apply, the same ups and downs apply, but it feels more personal due to the inherent defensiveness we all have of our children. The judgement can be hard to deal with sometimes, as are the usual set of jokes, but surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people goes a long way toward keeping a bright outlook on things.

Having people disrespect you for your choice to reduce harm to the entire world is something that we all learn to deal when we become vegan. We all develop that thick skin that comes with time and it helps us deal with people on the other side of the fence. But having people disrespect and lie to your children for the same reason is one of the more hurtful things I’ve experienced as a parent. Having other parents tell your kids that you’ve lied to them, and then go on to feed them animal products because they’re easily coerced and don’t want to miss out on what their friends are having is absolutely infuriating. The utter contempt for your choices is absolutely infuriating and makes for some tense moments insofar as your relationships with other parents are concerned.

Another thing I struggle with is watching friends who are raising their own newborns, knowing that inevitably they will start feeding the abused flesh of other infants to their own, safe in the knowledge that such actions are normal and healthy. It makes you want to scream, knowing that they’re not only affecting their health, but also damaging the world that is going to be left behind for these kids by feeding them this stuff in the first place.

Lastly, one of the hardest hurdles (I imagine, anyway) is involved with having a child raised vegan from birth. The reason for this is that we all teach them that animals are to be loved and respected, not used and utilised to suit our own wants. But some day, when they’re a few years older, they’re going to realise the horrors that we as humans inflict upon other species. They’re going to realise what all that red stuff on a barbecue is; what people’s shoes are made of; what happens to bobby calves in producing milk and cheese; what those warm, weird smelling plastic bags sitting there under the heat lamps are in the supermarket.

And I don’t know how I’m going to deal with seeing such little hearts be broken when the true nature of the abject misery we thrust upon others is revealed, let alone helping them get through it.

Not wanting to end on a negative note, having your kids (those who are not vegan from birth) eventually figure out on their own that this is the right thing to do, and shoot down all offers of animal products even if it means they’re the only ones going without, is absolutely one of the proudest moments you can experience. It shows a maturity and empathy well beyond the adults who insist on lying to them about the way the world works, and it’s a fantastic thing to witness.

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