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hankie
Jul 29th, 2004, 02:09 AM
I thought that other vegans may find this interesting.
I am an anthropology major. I am planning on doing some field research in Guatemala and Mexico. I will be staying and living with families in those place. Their diets are hardly vegan or vegetarian friendly. If I were to choose a vegan diet there then all I would probably eat would be tortillas and some vegetables. Following the holistic aproach of anthropology I feel that one of the ways to expirence the culture is by eating the food that they eat. That includes meat and dairy products.
I am a vegan in the United States but feel that since I am going somewhere that much of the meat and milk is collected by local people that it isn't as terrible as the american animal product buisness. The only places that I am a vegan are places where i know that the meat is from huge factory farms and the animals were treated very badly (i.e North America, Europe etc). Many cultures have meat as a main staple because that is really all they can produce. I find nothing wrong with local meat production where there isn't another choice.
I would like to know what you fellow vegans think of my choice to eat meat and other animal products in my situation.

Hasha
Jul 29th, 2004, 03:29 AM
Well, if your main reason for being (having been?) vegan is the fact that the only meat and dairy products available in to you in the US are those from the industrial farms, then it makes perfectly good sense for you to eat animal products in those places where you know that these products are coming from local family farms. That said, all this talk about there being nothing wrong with raising animals on small farms reminds me of slave owners who insisted on treating their slaves 'humanely.'

Admin
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:11 AM
The only places that I am a vegan are places where i know that the meat is from huge factory farms and the animals were treated very badly (i.e North America, Europe etc).
Vegetarianism as we know it in the Western countries was born around 1850, before factory farming was born - it was never a reaction against certain ways of killing animals. The vegan movement came 100 years later, still not as a reaction against factory farming, but because a group of people wanted to go further than just not killing animals. You mention veganism in your title, but your statement about only being vegan in some places has not much to do with veganism or vegetarianism. Your motivation is not to avoid killing or harming animals, you seem to be against huge factory farms only, where the animals are treated very badly. Vegans doesn't consider animals food at all.



Many cultures have meat as a main staple because that is really all they can produce. I find nothing wrong with local meat production where there isn't another choice.
The only reason they established a meat eating culture and settled down in an area where it wasn't possible to live on a plant based diet, is that they weren't vegans or vegetarians. In Asian cultures that are veg'n, people simply don't decide to live a place where they have to kill animals to survive.

hankie
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:17 AM
these people really have no other choice. in many places that is all they know. i have enough money and it is possible for me to be a vegan where i live. these people really have no choice. it is all they know and have no reason to change. comparing rasing animals to slavery is ignorant and a red herring. i do not accept that as an argument what so ever.
you obviously don't understand the mind set that i am in. to be an anthropologist then i must not only observe the culture but take part in it. how can i say i know what it is like without expirencing every aspect of everyday life? i cannot judge these people simply because they eat meat and animal products. like i said, i can afford to be a vegan in the u.s i have money and what not. these people more or less respect the animal until slaughter. i also don't eat animal products because i think it is un-natural and gross. but to become a true anthropologist i must remove myself from what i have known to embrace what i would like to learn.
i never should've posted because no one seems to understand.

Admin
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:28 AM
If they were vegetarians, why do you think they would establish a community a place where one cannot live as vegetarians? Please don't say that it's not possible, because it obviously is possible in areas dominated by ie. Hinduism, like India, which throughout history has been populated by very poor people, sometimes in very difficult conditions (climate, large families) and have still haven't used your "excuse" to start to eat meat?

Another thing: why do you call yourself a vegan if health is the motivation? As you might know, vegans are also against use of other animal products, like like leather, and wearing leather isn't known to reduce your health?

Hasha
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:58 AM
comparing rasing animals to slavery is ignorant and a red herring.
Ha-ha! I knew you would say that. My point has little to do with similarities between slavery and animal raising, though. It is about the similarities of the pro-slavery and pro-animal raising arguments.

Slavery is not the kindest thing in the world. But if I treat my slaves better than the owner of the neighboring plantation, then it is really the owner of the neighboring plantation who is at fault and who is giving us all a bad name, while the fact that I own slaves is really not a problem.

Animal raising is not the kindest thing in the world. But if my animals get to see the sky while those on an industrial farm are stuck in a cage hardly larger than their bodies, then it is really the owners of the industrial farms who are at fault and who are giving us all a bad name, while the fact that I raise animals only to slaughter them is really not a problem.

Admin
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:05 AM
You might find this interesting:

"In 1847, in London, a movement was born out a conviction that the killing of living, feeling creatures was neither biologically necessary nor morally acceptable for human survival and well-being. Factory farming had not yet been invented, chickens pecked away in open barnyards, cows had not yet been genetically engineered to have grotesquely distorted udders, and the veal crate of today was unknown. There was no genetic engineering, no hormones, no massive doses of antibiotics, no battery cages of egg-laying hens, no "processing plants" for the assembly line slaughter of chickens, no epidemic salmonella & campylobacter in eggs and poultry, no Mad Cow disease, no Bovine Growth Hormone. " http://veganvalues.org/whats_in_name.htm

Both vegetarians and vegans are against using animals for food, and neither of these groups limit their choice or decision not to eat meat to certain geographical areas where animals are treated worse than other place. Actually, in India, the country where lacto-vegetarianism is most common in the world, cows are considered holy and walk freely in the streets!

Hasha
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:08 AM
Or if slavery is such a touchy point, how about this:

Your honor, I know that stealing is not such a great thing, but I only stole a car while the big-shot capitalists steal millions every day thus causing suffering to a great number of people, so it is they who are giving us all a bad name, while the fact that I borrowed an old car is really not a problem.

Or:

Yes officer, I understand that hitting your wife is not such a great thing, but I only slap mine every once in a while and otherwise treat her great, while Mrs. X spent a week in hospital when Mr. X broke her legs, so it is really Mr. X who is giving us all a bad name, while the fact that I got a bit impatient with my dear wife is really not a problem.

John
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:18 AM
I think that a commited vegan would sacrifice and just eat beans, corn, squash, rice, etc. BUt that's just my opinion

Admin
Jul 29th, 2004, 07:44 AM
You might want to read this book: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1897766718.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

More info in Mexican veg food:

http://www.google.com/search?q=mexican+vegetarian+food&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 (From Google: 1 - 20 of about 822,000 for mexican vegetarian food.)

Check these pictures, do they make you miss meat? :) : http://www.pjchmiel.com/vegan/latin.html Mmmmm....

Tons of veg'n recipes from Mexico and Latin/Central-America:


http://www.vegsource.com/recipe/mexican.htm

http://www.cancunsouth.com/plan_food_veg.html

http://www.fatfree.com/recipes/mexican/

http://www.ivu.org/recipes/mexican/index.html

http://vegweb.com/food/ethnic/index-ethnic-mexican.shtml

http://www.homestead.com/animalsvoice/texmex.html

veganmike
Jul 29th, 2004, 10:29 AM
I would not compromise my veganism in this situation. On the contrary. Going to Guatemala/Mexico would be a perfect way to push my veganism even further. I'd ask my hosts to help me stay on a plant diet by showing me as many edible plants as possible and cook as many dishes from them as well. This could be an interesting way of exploring this culture and possible vegan options within it.

I don't buy this "to become a true anthropologist i must remove myself from what i have known to embrace what i would like to learn" argument. If I'm a doctor and my patient has AIDS does it mean that I have to get AIDS so I can "embrace what i would like to learn"? Makes no sense to me.

Buy necessary supplements that can become handy out there and stay vegan.

mattd
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:09 PM
I would not compromise my veganism in this situation. On the contrary. Going to Guatemala/Mexico would be a perfect way to push my veganism even further. I'd ask my hosts to help me stay on a plant diet by showing me as many edible plants as possible and cook as many dishes from them as well. This could be an interesting way of exploring this culture and possible vegan options within it.

I don't buy this "to become a true anthropologist i must remove myself from what i have known to embrace what i would like to learn" argument. If I'm a doctor and my patient has AIDS does it mean that I have to get AIDS so I can "embrace what i would like to learn"? Makes no sense to me.

Buy necessary supplements that can become handy out there and stay vegan.

I don't think you understand what an anthropologist does. They're not there try to place any sort of change on the culture. It sounds more like you want Hankie to be a vegan missionary. I was an anthropology minor in college so I do have a basic understanding of how field study works. Anthropologist (at least in my view) have long been at odds with Christian Missionaries who are there to "help" the local population, but at the same time push their brand of Christianity on the people. What you're saying is in essence the same thing. Anthropologist are not supposed to push their ways of life onto other cultures, they're there simply to study and interact with the people and to get a better understanding of how it works. And I'm sorry, that AIDS comment is totally offbase and just plain stupid. AIDS isn't part of what makes up a culture, it's a disease that is an epidemic in alot of regions. And besides that you're talking about a doctor and patients, not an anthropologist and the people her or she is studying.

Hankie, I agree with what you're saying. People in alot of other cultures (I guess it does depend specifically on which ones you're studying) don't have any other choice. I've noticed that vegans (including me, sometimes) don't always realize that food is one of the biggest aspects of a culture. Its not as easy as saying "we can teach these people how to live a healthy vegan life." they've got a hell of alot of other problems to deal with than whether or not their vegan.

But, that is one thing that I did battle with when I was trying to decide if I wanted to go into anthropology (I ended up becoming a teacher). I personally don't see anything wrong with you immersing yourself in that culture, culinarily or otherwise. Some of the people on this board probably don't know exactly how anthropology works, or aren't willing to accept it the way it works. But I think it's a worthy discipline as it gives us a greater understanding of how thirdworld and non western societies function.

veganmike
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:44 PM
I don't think you understand what an anthropologist does. They're not there try to place any sort of change on the culture. It sounds more like you want Hankie to be a vegan missionary. I was an anthropology minor in college so I do have a basic understanding of how field study works. Anthropologist (at least in my view) have long been at odds with Christian Missionaries who are there to "help" the local population, but at the same time push their brand of Christianity on the people. What you're saying is in essence the same thing. Anthropologist are not supposed to push their ways of life onto other cultures, they're there simply to study and interact with the people and to get a better understanding of how it works. And I'm sorry, that AIDS comment is totally offbase and just plain stupid. AIDS isn't part of what makes up a culture, it's a disease that is an epidemic in alot of regions. And besides that you're talking about a doctor and patients, not an anthropologist and the people her or she is studying.

Wrong. I do understand what an anthropologist does. That's why I wrote that I would "push MY veganism even further" in his situation, not "push veganism" itself on those people. I meant that he should try remain vegan while being there with the help of his hosts which should be interesting. Nothing more. I admit that after reading my posts once again I realized it could be read in both ways, so I'm sorry for not expressing myself more clearly.

As much as I oppose Christian missionaries trading medicines and "help" for indigenous peoples' souls, "studying" indigenous cultures "is in essence the same thing" if you ask me. It might be less invasive, but still it is a form of intrusion in their lives.

I don't mind Hankie immersing in whatever culture he likes, but I do have a problem with him using the term "vegan".

i_like_deer
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:04 PM
i would be worried about getting sick. i've only been vegan for 2 years but if i went back to eating meat & dairy right now, it would make me so ill.

a friend of mine was in peru with her dad & they stayed with a family in a tiny mountain community who raised chickens for food. she was vegetarian but felt like it would be rude to turn down the only food these people had. she ate the chicken & got salmonella & appendicitis.

Hasha
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:58 PM
As much as I oppose Christian missionaries trading medicines and "help" for indigenous peoples' souls, "studying" indigenous cultures "is in essence the same thing" if you ask me. It might be less invasive, but still it is a form of intrusion in their lives.
I agree. Plus, experiencing the rural Mexican culture isn't going to teach you what it's like to grow up taking care of cattle. What it will tell you is what it's like to be a foreign anthropologist, a fully grown man, trying to adapt to an environment very different from the one he is used to.

phillip888
Jul 29th, 2004, 09:45 PM
I'm really confused by this whole thread. Do vegetables not grow in mexico and guatamala? A lot of mexicans are nearly vegetarian by necessity, so I'm wondering how eating a vegan diet is going to be difficult unless you never prepare your own food or have an irrational fear of raw plants?

mattd
Jul 29th, 2004, 10:41 PM
Wrong. I do understand what an anthropologist does. That's why I wrote that I would "push MY veganism even further" in his situation, not "push veganism" itself on those people. I meant that he should try remain vegan while being there with the help of his hosts which should be interesting. Nothing more. I admit that after reading my posts once again I realized it could be read in both ways, so I'm sorry for not expressing myself more clearly.


Ok, sorry. I do see what you were getting at now, and I just misinterpretted it. And to be honest, thats probably what I would try doing. I just don't know if it's possible in every single situation that for an anthropologist would be in (for example, studying nomadic herders).


As much as I oppose Christian missionaries trading medicines and "help" for indigenous peoples' souls, "studying" indigenous cultures "is in essence the same thing" if you ask me. It might be less invasive, but still it is a form of intrusion in their lives.

I guess our opinions just differ a little bit here. To me at least, there is a difference between forcing ones own beliefs and values onto a people in exchange for life saving drugs, food, agricultural techniques, ect and studying a different culture to better understand the people. In our world, people (in every culture) are very intolerant of others' culture and ways of life. Studying each others cultures and understanding why a people may have certain customs that are alien to ones own is important in overcoming this problem.

edit: I should add one thing. If an anthropologist is percieved as intrusive by the people he or she is studying, then I believe he or she should leave.

julieruble
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:25 AM
To me at least, there is a difference between forcing ones own beliefs and values onto a people in exchange for life saving drugs, food, agricultural techniques, ect


All I want to say is that this is a very offensive, generalized view of Christian missionaries that I think is probably only true in the minority of cases. For all the missionaries I've met, "forcing" has nothing to do with it, and the provision of care and food is out of love and a desire to serve others.

I'm not arguing that missions are the "right thing" to do, although I do think that... you can go ahead and think that you shouldn't seek to proselytize, but you shouldn't assume that the work of missionaries is bribery. At least in all the missions I've heard of, the services are given freely and lovingly, as is the news about the joy they've found and want others to find in Christ. Whether or not the people choose to accept Christ has nothing to do with the desire of the missionaries to serve them.

Like I said, I can't say ALL missions are like this, but I have had experience with an awful lot of them, and I haven't seen any where bribery and coercion were used yet.

mattd
Jul 30th, 2004, 06:35 AM
All I want to say is that this is a very offensive, generalized view of Christian missionaries that I think is probably only true in the minority of cases. For all the missionaries I've met, "forcing" has nothing to do with it, and the provision of care and food is out of love and a desire to serve others.

I'm not arguing that missions are the "right thing" to do, although I do think that... you can go ahead and think that you shouldn't seek to proselytize, but you shouldn't assume that the work of missionaries is bribery. At least in all the missions I've heard of, the services are given freely and lovingly, as is the news about the joy they've found and want others to find in Christ. Whether or not the people choose to accept Christ has nothing to do with the desire of the missionaries to serve them.

Like I said, I can't say ALL missions are like this, but I have had experience with an awful lot of them, and I haven't seen any where bribery and coercion were used yet.

I know not all missions are the same, but they all have one goal; to convert and "save" the souls of those who haven't "accepted christ as their savior". All missions are set up to spread the world of god (ie the gospel). I don't care how many of these missions hold food and medicine over the peoples heads (which I still believe is a significant proportion of missionaries), it can't be argued that christian missions aren't evangelical. I'm not saying these missionaries aren't honestly trying to help people, but what is first and formost in their minds is saving them by converting them.

And to be honest, I could care less if I offend a few christians by saying that. I've been offended numerous times by evangelical christians pushing their beliefs on me, saying that I need to "accept christ" or I'll be damned to hell.

ConsciousCuisine
Jul 30th, 2004, 07:19 AM
Since I'm against eating meat, I wouldn't get involved in a job that would 'force' me to eat it. And, while we're at it, what would an anthropoligist eat if he were to study a culture that practised cannibalism? :confused:Or one that practiced human sacrifice or guzzled ayahuasca or engaged in tribal piercing or tatooing rituals or underage sex or anything else that might not personally fit in with your belief system/lifestyle and so on.

C'mon...the anthropologist could easily bring a "green drink" powder supplement that meets all your daily nutritional requirements and consume nothing but it and raw fruits and vegetables and if you were questioned, you could simply say it was because you have allergies, stomach issues, diarrhea or whatever if you eat anything else and so you have to eat that way, without going into details about dietary beliefs or ecological reasonings and "infecting" them with your modern trappings and knowledge...

harpy
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:31 PM
This is difficult. I once spoke a chap who ate a strictly vegan diet at home but didn't when he travelled in developing countries - I think he was some sort of aid worker rather than an anthropologist but I can't remember details now.

Anyway he said the problem was not lack of vegan food but the fact that the culture in some places required the sharing of meat with guests. He used to try and stop them from killing the village goat etc in his honour but he sometimes found that the deed was already done and he couldn't refuse it without causing great offence or hurt, so he thought eating a bit was sometimes the lesser of two evils, even though he didn't want to.

I think I've heard that some Buddhist monks have a similar dietary principle - that they should eat vegetarian food for choice but that they shouldn't refuse what people offer to them?

I guess all this is one reason I never go anywhere very exotic these days :-/

Hasha
Jul 30th, 2004, 05:51 PM
Anyway he said the problem was not lack of vegan food but the fact that the culture in some places required the sharing of meat with guests. He used to try and stop them from killing the village goat etc in his honour but he sometimes found that the deed was already done and he couldn't refuse it without causing great offence or hurt, so he thought eating a bit was sometimes the lesser of two evils, even though he didn't want to.
Oh, no! Poor guy... I suppose the only way to avoid eating it and possibly even to stop them from killing the goat would be to come up with some rare disease and say that you would land in hospital immediately if you had even a little bit of meat. And then always cook your own food. But geez! I really hope I never find myself in such a situation.

By the way, I did once meet a woman who was vegetarian, not for ethical reasons, but because she had a meat allergy.

John
Aug 3rd, 2004, 10:57 PM
I think I've heard that some Buddhist monks have a similar dietary principle - that they should eat vegetarian food for choice but that they shouldn't refuse what people offer to them?

Actually, most Buddhist monasteries eat meat although some are switching. They rationalize it because the original disciples of the Buddha were beggars and sometimes had to eat meat that they were given so as not to starve. Some sects have always been vegetarian though.

And I would think that people in some far off culture would be more willing to accept an anthropologist's veganism than meat-eaters within our own culture would. In Mexico, you are obviously an outsider with a different culture and the fact that you have different beliefs probably would be expected.

If an Israeli anthropologist went to study in Iowa, would she be expected to eat a pork dinner?

And I'm no Christian, but at least the missionary gives something in return. Anthropologists get what they want (information) and give nothing in return.

And while we're on the anthropology topic I would like to recomend the book The Mountain People by Colin M. Turnbull. It's the saddest book I ever read but it's fascinating. It tells the story of the disintegration of an African forager tribe forced to settle on drought-plagued land. The anthropologist observes the facade of society break down into an every-man-for-himself situation.

ConsciousCuisine
Aug 3rd, 2004, 11:01 PM
Speaking of the study of people, I saw a documentary film about this very subject: "Keep the River to the Right: A modern Cannibal Tale" about a man who studies a tribe and , well, let's say MERGES fully with them and their customs. VEry interesting film and a true story.

John
Aug 4th, 2004, 05:53 AM
Someone should study the anthropology of anthropologists. This is an interesting and important group of people: they are responsible for bringing with them both bad elements from our part of the world and potentially good changes to the societies they visit (like showing them that there are many people in other cultures that live well without eating meat.)

Cultures develop when they meet each other. More often than not, travelers that visit undiscovered parts of the world bring with them bacteria, technology and beliefs the natives don't want or need, but how often do they bring good knowledge to the cultures they visit? Don't miss this opportunity, Hankie! You'll influence them even if you don't try.

I don't think that's what Hankie want's to hear.