Friday, September 25, 2009

Vegan horse racing and an unexpected ray of vegan sunshine

After much umming and aahhing about whether I could go to the races and feel ok with myself, I have decided not to go and to try and find someone to sell my ticket on to.

The fact that I am no longer feeling confused and unsure of whether to go and am feeling almost relieved is a good sign I kicked my cognitive dissonance. So thanks to everyone who let me know what really goes on.

The part I was kinda dreading the most was telling the guys that I had changed my mind and having to explain myself without coming across badly. I usually don't like to discuss vegan issues with omnis as I'm not great at dealing gently with the more, for lack of a better word, ignorant and argumentative questions. You know the ones - "But humans need protein", "Eating meat is what made us smarter than the other apes", "We have canine teeth..." etc. I wasn't too sure what I would get this time.

But it turned out I didn't need to worry... people were surprisingly understanding about it. I did get a few comments that the horses are treated really well but being armed with the info from Miss T's blog about horse racing they actually understood why I couldn't do it and maybe even learnt something about it that made them think twice. I told them I thought it was ok before and didn't really know much about racing but have since learnt about it and don't feel ok going - that it isn't in line with my being vegan and against animal cruelty, that I don't want to put my money into something that hurts animals, and money aside, I wouldn't want to give my tacit vote by being there. And for perhaps the first time people nodded and looked like they agreed with my decision. Someone even told me that cancelling was a commendable thing to do. (And he is one I was going to the races with!)

So, on those days where you think it's all a bit hard and depressing seeing the near universal acceptance of animal suffering there can be a little ray of sunshine where you least expect it. In fact, it made me realise that just being vegan and being normal is influence in itself amongst my workmates, friends and family who knew very little on what being vegan is all about. In less than a year my mates have gone from thinking I'm kinda weird and not even knowing what vegans eat, to understanding what I do and don't eat and why, and accepting it. None of them have gone vegan, but I'm happy that their awareness has been raised. And that's the first step isn't it?

Maybe a really dedicated vegan would not even sell this ticket on and instead bin it so as to not provide the opportunity for someone else to pour money and support into the whole affair. But I'm not quite that good.


  1. Hi and thanks for the link to Miss T's webpage.
    It is so sad. I wish a lot more people would pull their heads out of the sand.
    My uncle died many years ago in New Zealand while horse racing. It was front page news in NZ as he was a well known jockey.
    Despite this, my sister's partner gambles DAILY (big money too) on horses and I even tried to have a discussion with my sister about it but she thought I was making it all up!
    Unfortunately, it makes them lots of money at times and it doesn't matter what I say, she will still continue to be an ostrich!

  2. Great decision. You don't need to be vegan to understand the animal cruetly in horse racing. The Animals Australia footage is something everyone should see.

  3. I applaud your decision! I, too, have a similar issue. I used to hunt and fish. All my friends still do. But, I have learned how to deal with it and retain my 'macho' guy-ness. You find out who is truly your friend when they still respect your reasons even though they do not follow the same convictions.

  4. Hi Seitahn, that is so sad about your uncle. It's true, most people don't know much about it, and refuse to believe it could be all that bad. And as has happened to you, even when something is that close to home people would still rather pretend it doesn't happen.

    I used to be one of those people who preferred not to know and just kid myself, but it still surprises me now how people just refuse to acknowledge the truth about what goes on.

    Bill Cherry, thanks! I feel a lot better about not going. And you are right - you soon work out who can respect your decisions and really, if they can't it's hard to respect them in return.