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Because Bunnies Can’t Type: How I Answer “Why Vegan?” with My Heart (Not My Head)

By Visiting Animal — June 10, 2013

It’s true that we try to remain indefatigably positive — whenever possible, anyway. There are a few things in life that make that easy for us. Among those things are: people who follow their dreams no matter what, cute bunnies, and vegan crepes. In today’s Thought for Food piece by guest columnist Annie Shannon — co-author of Betty Goes Vegan, and a recent podcast guest — we’ve got all three things, tied up in a bow. Enjoy.

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Because Bunnies Can’t Type: How I Answer “Why Vegan?” with My Heart (Not My Head)

by Annie Shannon

Almost 10 years ago, I ran away from home to follow the circus with a bullhorn and some protest signs.

I left my job at a cruelty-free cosmetic company in Atlanta, Ga., to work in PETA’s circus campaign. I was leaving behind the house I owned, a job that paid three times more than what I was about to make, and any chance I had of paying off my student loans. Everyone I knew thought I was crazy. The night of my farewell party, there was a lot of teasing about me leaving to “wander the earth and have adventures and shit.” But as the night wound down, I was sitting on a patio with several friends when they began to hint around that I should reconsider. We’d had a few drinks by then, and I was still feeling a bit blasé when I answered the question that was on all their minds: Why in the name of all that was good and pretty would I do this?

I can still remember raising my glass and declaring: “Because bunnies can’t type – so I have to!”

There was silence for a heartbeat or two. One of my friends finally raised his glass. “To the bunnies!” he said, and we drank a toast to all those poor freaking bunnies and their lack of marketable skills.

bunnyphotoA few weeks later, I was in Norfolk, Va., sitting at a desk next to my future husband, when I got a letter from Atlanta. It was just a strip of printer paper that read, “Because bunnies can’t type!” I tacked it above my laptop, where it would stay for the entire time I worked at PETA and later when I was at HSUS. It now hangs in my new office – my kitchen.

I keep it because it’s a great reminder to me of why I chose the path that I did. The moment I uttered those words about bunnies was one of the first times since I was a kid that I was asked why and answered with what was really in my heart – not a series of statistics or facts.

As vegans, we live in a world that is constantly asking us why. Why would we give up meat? Why would we choose plastic shoes over leather? Why would we stand outside a stadium handing out leaflets to parents taking their kids to the circus? Why can’t we just choose to be blissfully ignorant like everyone else?

Sometimes the questions come from a sincere desire for someone to understand. And sometimes they come from a not-so-nice place. But these questions are everywhere. As activists, how we answer them is what we need to focus on – to remind ourselves why promoting compassion toward animals is so important.

For me, that seemingly silly answer about technophobe rabbits is a reminder that 24 years ago, I made the choice to give up eating meat and do all that I could to live a compassionate life – not for myself, but for those out there who have no choices, and no voice. I wrote a book, with my husband, about cooking my way through the Betty Crocker Cookbook as a vegan and recreating those recipes without products that are filled with cruelty. I didn’t do it for the money – I wanted to prove to the world that not eating animals is a choice we can (and should) all make.

You and I were lucky to be born human. What about all those beautiful beings who didn’t end up with that arbitrary privilege? I’m vegan because, to me, it is the least I can do for those non-human animals who, for whatever reason, were given the short end of the stick.

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I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen (I have the apron collection to prove it!) – cooking and working to show everyone how easy and delicious it is to be vegan. This recipe is one of those easy yet fancy-looking meals that if it weren’t vegan would include eggs, butter, and maybe even ham. But this is a compassionate and classy version that leaves the animals out of it. It’s something both rookie and veteran vegans alike can enjoy and share with all those not-yet-vegans, too. It’s my tribute to those bunnies who pop into my head from time to time to motivate me … because bunnies also can’t make crepes.

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Annie Shannon

Annie Shannon

Annie Shannon has been involved in activism since she was 14 years old. Her roles have ranged from working in sexual assault counseling to promoting fur-free fashion and veganism. For the last few years, she’s been cooking her way through the Betty Crocker Cookbook, making all the recipes vegan with her husband and partner on MeetTheShannons.com and writing their first book, Betty Goes Vegan

 


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(6) Readers Comments

  1. June 10, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Annie, I love this and I love that you can write pieces like this. It's hard to feel like I must constantly justify "why" I'm a vegan by using your above mentioned "statistics" and horror stories of factory farming. I think I will start answering with my heart from now on and let it go at that. I know why I'm vegan, I love animals and want to do all that I can to ensure that I NEVER contribute to hurting them. If someone else doesn't like that answer than that's fine. It's mine and it's heartfelt :)

  2. Allison
    June 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Beautiful

  3. June 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I love how you've somehow managed to simplify such a vast, complex issue into one teeny, tiny yet very effective statement!

  4. June 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Y’all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over five years of vegan cooking, it’s never trust a recipe without garlic. Here’s what you really want to do: In a separate skillet with 1 Tbsp. of the oil, saute the tofu, flipping as much as you can, until it gets nice and brown and crispy.



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