Picking Battles

Being vegan has one major downside: the frequent circumstance that things that matter a great deal to us, will matter profoundly and dishearteningly less to others.  And it’s really difficult to see this as anything other than a spectacular failure on our part, so many of us wade through work, and family, and love wearing our missionary boots, treating each and every new human interaction as though it’s our job in life to convert, rather than to simply–participate.

So, I’ve been trying really hard to find the beauty in Nathan Winograd’s recent Facebook post, where he champions the moral relevance of bugs, and thoughtfully explains the perils of sticky-tape as they pertain to their delicate and distal insect aspects.  Could it be that he is finally strapping on his missionary boots?

And isn’t there beauty to be found the eighty-eight or so readers who agree with him that we’re all just a little bit better than thoughtlessly gluing butterflies to our yard-sale signs, and using pest remedies that leave thousands of ants alone, befuddled, and starved?  Shouldn’t we all try to save bugs–if it’s as easy as keeping our kitchen counters clean and purchasing new staple guns?  For the past month or so, a spider has been living just east of where I hang my wash cloth—by our mutual agreement–so why can’t I celebrate that Nathan Winograd is finally bringing her (yes, I know that she’s a “her”) into a discussion about moral relevancy?

Perhaps the better question is why is Nathan Winograd choosing to train his magnifying glass on insects, just days before his fifteen-thousand-strong readership will be arm-deep in the hulls of dead turkeys. And that is in no way meant to be a commentary on the moral relevance of one group of animals over another. It is meant to be a commentary on Nathan Winograd’s clear lack of vegan fortitude, given the audience he has, and his self-professed commitment to saving animals.

Think about it.  Who wouldn’t rather draw that straw?  When it comes to ethics battles, reminding a species that generally doesn’t want to be introduced to its conscience that ovens are not particularly great places for turkeys to be, is considerably more challenging than launching an offensive against duct tape. Discussing the compassionate use of fasteners doesn’t challenge anyone’s civility. It doesn’t ask anyone to rewrite their social destiny. It doesn’t require anyone to redefine who they think they are.

So this year, while most vegans will be ushering in the Holiday Season engaging in the fundamentally unpleasant task of inserting our beliefs and our Tofurkeys where they may or not be wanted and fearing just a little bit for our lives, Nathan Winograd is taking on–tape.

Plato described the concepts of beauty and art this way: real beauty reflects truth, and art is a deceptive imitation of nature.  There is nothing beautiful about Nathan Winograd’s choosing the vegan low road, while so many of us are still reeling from Mercy for Animals’ recent release of their undercover Butterball investigation.  But it’s a detail about who he might be, and I think it’s a telling one.  No worries, though.  I’m pretty sure we’ve got this one without him.

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9 thoughts on “Picking Battles

  1. Sad video. I do not think that most people realize that those birds have been specifically breed for the extra white meat and consequently suffer other problems related to that breeding. I supose that Mr. Winograd will write a book about how Mercy For Animals spent their money wrong by doing undercover investigations like PETA and HSUS when the should have been spending it on trying to buy all the turkeys to rescue and putting them in a shelter I guess.

  2. I have often wondered why Mr. Winograd has no interest in speaking out for the ten billion animals we slaughter annually for food, though I suspect it is the same reason he refuses to hold puppy millers/breeders accountable for their roles in the euthanization of four million dogs and cats each year.

  3. It will make sense if you consider the following. Mr. Winograd is aligned with a group that lobby’s for breeders. His sole goal is to convince folks that their is no over pet population and that a nation of no kill shelters will take the guilt out of buying from a dog breeder. He makes money from his book sales and speaking engagements and from his lobbying efforts.

  4. PS. He simply has no interest in the other areas of animal welfare that a “real” vegan might because they are not money makers for him.

  5. Nathan Winograd works with AKC and their lobbyist Rick or Richard Berman. You probably are aware that Rick Berman through Center for Consumer Freedom is a lobbyist for the factory farm lobby, and that includes the puppy mills which supply the majority of the income for AKC through their commercial dog breeding registration business. Research “akc puppy mills” and rick berman through web searches and sites like sourcewatch.

    I am not sure where anyone gor the idea that Nathan Winograd represents the animal welfare. He works with the animal profiteer lobby, to the detriment of animals. Nathan Winograd works with AKC and their lobbyist Rick or Richard Berman. You probably are aware that Rick Berman through Center for Consumer Freedom is a lobbyist for the factory farm lobby, and that includes the puppy mills which supply the majority of the income for AKC through their commercial dog breeding registration business. Research “akc puppy mills” and rick berman through web searches and sites like sourcewatch. Also research patti strand through sourcewatch and naia. She is a former incarnation of the role that Winograd plays now, lobbying for animal profiteers, but he hides it more in order to fool kindhearted people who don’t know what he really represents.

    I am not sure where anyone got the idea that Nathan Winograd represents animal welfare. He works with the animal profiteer lobby, to the detriment of animals.

  6. The sad part is that many if not most who follow him get emotionally involved with the animals and are not very good at looking any deeper than that. They see one “fur baby” and never look at the big picture. Many however do want to see more spay and neuter and are not buying the no pet over population story as they see animals pour into the shelter every day. However they have not quite figured out why there is that disconnect. I find it interesting that he has to try and continuely defend the no pet over population theory. It would suggest that that issue is not going down too well even with the faithful. On a bright note No Kill may have actually raised the public awarness of the kill rates in shelters. If we have a few more high visibility no kill failures (I am not hoping for that but fell it is inevitable) then at some point even the most dense will figure out that just filliing up the shelter does not really do anything except cause suffering and spends tons of money. Hopefully at that point they will start looking at why the shelters are so full. I believe breders will be in the cross hairs at that point. An ironic twist!

  7. An old post, but a timeless, well-written one.

    My belief is that Nathan Winograd does care about all living things. He is smart enough to know convincing people to forgo their Thanksgiving turkeys is going to take a progression of thought on behalf of the American public.

    First, get Americans to lobby for the cute little kittens and puppies. Then the not-so-cute cats & dogs. From there, farm animals and insects and other creepy-crawly things. As people’s compassion adapts to all living things, they will gradually get on board.

    It may be excruciatingly slow for those of us more enlightened, but trying to get Americans to quit turkey “cold turkey” first won’t have much success.

    • Reverence for dogs and cats is not going to lead to veganism. It just isn’t. This society already adores cats & dogs. In my opinion, Nathan Winograd is doing nothing to help this process. What I see is a huge ego and less than honorable connections. Sorry, I’m not a fan. I want no kill as much as the next person. But when my local shelter (Charleston Animal Society) completely waives adoption fees it is not doing any of those animals a favor. If you can’t afford an adoption fee, you probably can’t afford to have a dog or cat.

  8. What? Nathan is a Vegan. He has written about it in Redemption, many blog posts and it probably comes up in his Vegan cookbook once or twice too.

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