Saturday, June 26, 2010

Member Update, June 26

Patrick Broderick goes abroad:

I ended up leaving for my study abroad in Mexico earlier than expected. So I find myself in a society a little less acquainted with the movement for animal rights and reliant on a host family for meals.  

Luckily, I have a pretty understanding family.  They've made changes to the meals they serve me so that they are free of meat and obvious dairy and egg products.  I don't want to create an unreasonable amount of work for people nice enough to let me into their home.  This is not just an exchange of calories -- it's a cultural exchange as well, not to mention a particularly delicate cultural exchange between a thriving developed country with more options (the United States) and a developing nation with fewer options (Mexico).  

I also think the essential message to send in this exchange is that there are US citizens very willing to eat with a Mexican family, enjoying their cuisine, while maintaining a different perspective on meat consumption. "Not every American eats nothing but hamburgers," in combination with, "There are some Americans that wish to respectfully share in your food culture," are the two major messages I wish to send on this study abroad trip.  

So I guess my message is to vegans who travel abroad from rich countries such as Canada, the United States or Western European countries, is yes, continue being a vegan, but if you find yourself particularly integrated in the culture (such as staying with a host family), just do your best within the context of a respectful cultural exchange.  In this particular form of globalized economy, so many cultural ideas are forced.  Vegans can be different -- we can be those foreigners who come to our host country with an interesting (hopefully intriguing) idea and do it in a refreshingly respectful manner.  Sounds fair, right?

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