Who are we?
German content/website created by: Ann-Marie Orf
Main body translated into English and localised by: Andrew Bryden
Logo & bookmark designed by: Patrycja Czachowska
Why did we create this website?
The idea of writing a piece aimed explicitly at parents(-to-be) who are not (yet) vegetarians came to us when, as new parents, we now and then found ourselves in situations where other parents found it remarkable that we, as a family, do not eat animals. Given the reality and impact of meat production, we consider such a reaction to be remarkable. We therefore felt it would be a good idea if, whenever conversations on the subject arise, we could refer to a text that summarises all the key arguments against meat consumption and explicitly targets parents(-to-be). But to our great surprise, we could find no such text online – and so, without further ado, we decided to create one ourselves! Our main target group is of course parents who are not yet vegetarian, but the website is also designed as a tool for vegetarian and vegan parents who either have no desire to say the same thing over and over again whenever they are asked why they don't bring up their children to eat animals or who just want to make their position clear even if not specifically asked. An important advantage of simply being able to refer to a website rather than entering into every single conversation that comes along is that you give people the opportunity to explore the issue a little in their own time without their potentially feeling under pressure in a one-to-one conversation. Basically, we see it like this: anyone who wants to ignore the issue altogether won't look at the website anyway. But anyone who does look at it and wants to talk about the aspects it covers is more than welcome to do just that. So it's not about avoiding conversation – on the contrary, we want to give people a sound basis for talking about the issue.
A few (personal) thoughts on parents(-to-be):
People who have, or are expecting, children are often the very people who take a special interest in issues such as nutrition and health, the environment and the climate and their general behaviour, as role models, when it comes to their values and the future. For us, the need to face up to the responsibilities that come with being a parent raises our awareness for numerous issues, the response to which could impact on the wellbeing of our son, both now and in the future.
As for us, we went from being a vegetarian couple (one for 20 years, the other for about 2 years) to being vegan parents because we wanted, as far as possible, to be authentic role models for our son Liam when it comes to all the aspects covered in this piece. To enable us to make sound nutritional decisions for the whole family, for example, we focused on the issue of healthy eating even more than we had done before. And when you really start exploring the subject, you discover that advertising campaigns asserting, for example, that milk gives you strong bones are every bit as unsound as the claim that meat is somehow vital to our wellbeing and that, in fact, a well-planned, balanced vegan diet, containing a rich variety of plant-based foods, not only gives you all the nutrients you need, but also is associated with important health benefits compared with an omnivorous diet and other vegetarian diets. Examining these and other upbringing-related issues led us to start thinking more often and more deeply about the extent to which our actions actually reflect our values – that is, whether we can be authentic role models at all. So as vegetarians, we wondered what we would tell our son if he asked us why we reject the killing of animals for human consumption but support, through what we buy, the idea that so-called “milk cows” are kept in a near-permanent state of pregnancy so that they can be milked; that their calves are taken away from them so that their mothers’ milk can be consumed by humans; that these calves are either slaughtered immediately or fattened up and then slaughtered; that their mothers too end up in the slaughterhouse as soon as their bodies are spent and can no longer produce enough milk; that the brothers of so-called “laying hens” are either gassed or shredded at birth because they are of no use to the industry, and so on and so forth. What would we tell our son if he asked us why we have only gone so far even though we knew full well that the creation of animal products in general, and not only meat, is a major contributor to environmental and climate destruction and global hunger? Obviously, we wouldn’t be able to give him any answers that wouldn’t make us deeply uncomfortable, because this kind of consumer behaviour is of course totally and utterly incompatible with our values. Nonetheless, for quite some time, we both managed to somehow ignore some obvious but unpleasant truths.
As a result of this long-overdue process of thinking and awareness-raising, we are now vegan – of course, this doesn’t make us perfect (i.e. 100% responsible) consumers or parents, but it is certainly an important step in the right direction.
Thank you, Liam!
Veganism is the most consistent form of vegetarianism as well as the easiest and by far most effective way of contributing to the protection of humans, animals and the environment on a daily basis – and we knew this well before we made the switch. But would we have made the logical progression from vegetarianism to veganism if we hadn’t become parents? Maybe, hopefully, who knows. Our primary motivation was without doubt our desire to be, as far as possible, authentic role models for our son. And because we are pretty sure that we are not the only parents who, aware of their responsibility for feeding and raising their children, suddenly feel compelled to explore more closely the issues covered here and no longer turn a blind eye to the facts, we decided to create this website.