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Vegan Action #80

    Some activists have started to embrace neoprimitivism by striving to become more independent and consume less from big businesses and industries.  In an effort to be more in touch with nature and our ancestry, some folks are moving back to the woods and living more autonomously.  Over the last few years I have been meeting more and more road kill eaters, mostly at conferences and festivals.  Some of them are even “road kill vegans.” Is this a contradiction of terms or a sound, ecological way of life?  Looking at this from a consumerism point of view, sure, everyone should be a road kill eater.  The less we purchase, the better off the planet.  And it’s’ not like these animals are being hunted, they are already dead — relics of the car obsessed world we live in.  So, why do I have this hesitation to promote road kill consumption?   For one, it is not healthy.  Granted wild animal flesh is hormone and antibiotic free (most likely) and most parasites can be killed as long as high temperatures are used in cooking, but it is still flesh.  I know not all vegetarians and vegans made their diet choice because they did not like the taste of flesh but, animal flesh that has been sitting around on the side of the road for a while is a pretty challenging concept.  Folks that live in the country and pass dead animals on a regular basis develop pretty good ideas of what is fresher and what has been sitting too long.  It’s the “dumpstering” of the roadways.  I guess it gets easier the longer you do it.  So, although these animals would not go to waste (as there are plenty of animals and organisms to take care of that) if someone wants to eat roadkill instead of buying food, I am hard pressed to personally object.  More importantly, my  issue is with the wearing and use of the animal for decoration or neoprimitive fashion.  Again, I am reminded that the animal was already dead, not killed for it’s parts.  But I see the wearing of the skin and fur of animals as objectification in either case.  These objects of “fashion” are not being used for necessity but as a show piece.    After all, aren’t animal skins and furs prized in our society as status symbols and luxuries of the wealthy?  The reason is because they are signs of oppression and badges of domination.  Wearing or using a part of an animal is a sign of human domination over other non-human animals in society today, especially when it is not out of necessity.  It is making a statement that animals are objects to use as we desire, that wearing them is acceptable.  In a society that already objectifies nearly everything in our site, why perpetuate this patriarchal view any further? 
    In addition, some neoprimitivists are hunting and fishing for their meals.  One argument I have always discussed with meat eaters is whether they would continue to do so if they had to kill, skin and thoroughly prepare the animal before they consumed and used it.  Most people say they probably would not be able to.  But our ancestors used to without a second thought.  We have most definitely distanced ourselves from our past where modernization and capitalism have changed our daily way of life.  We no longer depend on our own labor for survival, we pay others to do this for us.  And I agree that this separation of consumer and product, or “alienation” as Marx expressed, has distorted our concept of life and earth. Need and desire are not as easily separated in a country that has an overabundance of everything and where most  people embrace the products of globalization and industrialization, unaware or uninterested in the process (and destruction).  However, most ethical vegans would agree that they choose their diet and lifestyle in order to not support the destructive, unnatural, inhumane practices of factory farming and agribusiness.   It is possible to boycott these industries and not hunt or fish to survive and be healthy. 
    Other than fishing with my dad when I was little, I have never killed or handled an animal to prepare it for consumption and I prefer not to.  I would rather grow my own veggies and dig up a potato instead.  That is my preference and I am not necessarily judging those that do otherwise.  I do not believe that independent hunting and fishing is a practical option any longer.  Wild animals are being killed, poisoned, starved and their habitat is being taken away at alarming rates.  Rivers and bays are overfished and overharvested making us all wonder what creatures will be around in another fifty years.   It is just not ecological to go back to our hunting and fishing days of the past, as unfair as that may seem.  My point is not to support industrialization and modernization, as this is what has been ruining our world.  If we are interested in revolutionary change, let us look toward the future not try to recapture the past.  Taking our lives back is important and something we all may strive for.  So, lets start growing our own food and respecting the earth and animals around us, who knows how much longer they will be there for us to appreciate and admire.  xoxo- krissi   p.o. box 4288 richmond va 23220  or krissi@vegan.org.

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes:  5 thinly sliced medium potatoes  1 finely chopped medium onion  Salt  and pepper to taste.  º cup nutritional yeast flakes º cup flour 1 cup water 1/8 cup margarine  1 tbsp garlic powder  1 tsp yellow mustard  Pinch of tumeric  Salt and pepper to taste. Grease a glass or ceramic pie dish and place a layer of potatoes with sprinkled onion and spices on top, continue this for several layers ending with a layer of potatoes.  In a sauce pan, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk in the water cooking until it is thick and bubbling.  Remove from heat and whip in the margarine and mustard.  Pour this over the potatoes and bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes. 

Peanut Butter Balls - No Bake: 1 cup peanut butter   1 cup softened soy margarine   1 lb minus a cup confectioners sugar  2 cups finely ground graham crackers  1 to 2 cups nondairy dark chocolate.  Mix all ingredients (except chocolate) together and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Roll into 1 inch balls onto wax paper or aluminum foil.  Double boil to melt the chocolate.  This involves using two sauce pans, one smaller than the other.  Boil at least two inches of water in the larger pan and submerge the smaller pan in the water.  Add the chocolate and stir until melted (chocolate chips melt easier).  You may need to add a little soy milk to soften the chocolate.  Quickly dribble over the peanut butter balls and put them back into the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.  Store these in the fridge or they will get melty and soggy.  Enjoy!