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Branch from the "do you cheat on your lifestyle" thread.

Continuing discussion from: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=19076.0 (do you cheat on your lifestyle?)

I will copy my post.

I had an idea last night that I think goes with this thread:
OK, assume that the world gives up living on an animal-based diet and everyone is vegetarian/vegan. The global economy completely changes; places that were once used to rear animals for slaughter become cornfields. My question is, in your mind, what happens to the animals? (This is ideally, not necessarily realistically.) Since our economy gives these animals their short, brutish lives ... what happens if we decide to do without them? Do the thousands of beef cows get moved to an animal sanctuary? Do we put them in zoos? Keep them as pets?

I am trying to picture it in my mind I can't really think of anything. (Probably because many of these species have been domesticated by man for centuries ... it would be weird to release them into the wild.)
Ideas?

In my mind, a lot/most of these animals (realistically) will die. No, they most probably can't survive anywhere but their horrid environments in which they came from. I guess everyone would try to save as many as possible, and give them a wonderful remaining life, but that could only be a select few. Our society has created them, and they would die without us. Thankfully, in this hypothetical situation, no more would be created for such a purpose! I guess they could just live on these cornfields. Could we keep big pastures for them? They could live there until they die. Also, why all corn? I want big...avocado fields, or something.

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Anyway, I honestly think there is a whole lot being blown out of proportion/misunderstood here. (and I'm not meaning that in a way to minimize or devalue anyone's feelings) We are all people communicating. I said over and over that I'm not saying that I'm any better than anyone else, or "I hate you", or whatever. I'm "speaking" my opinion, as everyone else is. Obviously, I'm going to hold the same opinion as some, and not as others. Period. I mean, if we were all sitting around in a room talking, it would play out the same (without as much time to think of what to say..and hopefully without as much misunderstanding).

Also, I want to clear something up. I won't speak for her, but I don't purposely conspire with KMK (or anyone else) against anyone, or to say certain things. We agree 98% of the time, and THAT'S why we are good friends (in part, of course). It's not that we are good friends, so we must agree all the time. Just because we hold the same opinion, it doesn't mean that we are banding together to overthrow anyone.

Re: this favorite business-Isn't it obvious that we're all going to like certain people more than others. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like every single person I meet, and I definitely like some people more than others. IRL ( ::)), I don't pretend to like certain people, and play like we're good friends, but I also don't personally attack others, or say hateful things to them. I guess I don't understand why it's so surprising, and such a horrible thing, that we might not ALL like each other. I don't really have a problem with someone not liking me (online at least...In life, I'd be like, WHAT is wrong with you?!) I also know that on other forums, they have threads talking about how much they love certain members, and so forth. We don't do that, and we don't personally attack each other.

eta before posting in reference to CW's post: I understand that those situations arise, and must be extremely difficult for those that encounter them, but that's not at all what I was talking about in my original posts, and regarding the big picture of it all. Those are extreme situations that arise, and I assume can't be avoided. That's not the same as choosing to eat/do something not vegan, but wanting to be vegan, and justifying it (or not).

Cali,

:)>>>

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Wow, some different point of views for sure. I guess I have a problem calling myself a vegeterian, because like I said, only when challanged outside of the home do I eat something that might not be vegan...I never eat meat, eggs or cheese or anytype of dairy when I'm home...and let me make it clear, I eat out maybe 4 times a year, I really prefer to cook, and know what goes into my food...My Hubby is not a Vegan or vegeterian, and he loves his meat and dairy, yes, sometimes i cook for him, but 90% of the time he will eat his meat outside of the house, and he will eat the vegan entree I cook for dinner. I have cheese and eggs in my fridge because he eats it. I choose to become Vegan for health reasons first, and secondly because I don't want to cause the animals to suffer on my part...I own no leather or fur, and don't buy animal tested products for both myself, my husband and our household....my hubby is supportive on that end, I prefer to call myself vegan, because thats how I live my life, if something happens outside the home, and I consume an animal product, I am not going to beat myself up about it, and I'm not going to say I'm no longer a vegan...you've all heard the expression  s**t happens....the way the food supply is here in the US, I don't trust what is on the label 95% of the time...it might say vegan, but have some animal bi-product  in it...unless you stick to veggies, (and make sure you read the labels on the frozen ones)fruits, and whole grains...god only knows what you are eating....remember alot of these vegan companies have their products produced in large facilities that also process non vegan items...so with that said, I guess I'll continue to classify myself as a vegan....and you guys can call me what ever you want ;D just don't call me late for dinner...cause that will never happen....Peace

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1. I don't think my opinion of what is not vegan makes me an uncompassionate person, just as I don't think someone doing/eating something not vegan makes them a bad (i.e. any negative description word) person.

2. I didn't ask for any type of points, nor was I trying to win.

3. I really don't understand how (in what way) I'm making any judgments.

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Since we're all making lists ... here's my idea in a few clear points, AC.
NB: this isn't intended as a personal judgment, just my explanation of why you might feel the way you do.

1. Obviously, everyone on this forum applies a value judgment to veganism/vegetarianism as being "better" than an omnivore lifestyle. This could be for a variety of personal reasons, from a desire for better personal health to animal rights.

2. There is a major distinction between a "vegan person" and a "vegan product." A "vegan product" is 100% vegan, which can be verified by looking at its ingredients, source, etc. A "vegan person" on the other hand is probably not 100% vegan in the same way as a "vegan product." We weren't born vegan; we live in an omnivorous society, benefit from non-vegan medicine, and so on. Furthermore, everyone's idea of what constitutes a "vegan lifestyle" is different; for one person, it may be eating cheese once a month. For another, it may be purging every animal-based item and living an all-plant lifestyle. Everyone has his or her own interpretation.

3. The trouble is the indistinction between vegan people, vegan products, and the vegan ideal. No person can live up to an ideal (because it's an ideal, duh), and no person is truly vegan. Even vegan products are suspect. So it's unfair to compare vegan people, or say "that's not vegan enough."

See what I mean? I think that's where this tension comes from; the perception we share that there is a value in veganism, and the comparison of acceptable degrees of vegan behavior.

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Dang, people... I gotta say, I'm pretty happy to see this thread turned into funtimes while still staying (mostly) on topic.  ;D

.....I will say that my last few posts were not meant to attack, belittle, or offend anybody..though the tone comes across as pretty harsh. So if it seems to anybody that I've used this thread as an outlet for my anger, I apologize, because that misrepresents my real intent.

However, I do stand by every argument I've made so far, having read through all responses and backtracking to original posts that I responded to.

The important thing to remember here is that Our WORDS are the only tool We can use (other than smileys, which are not always effective) to express Ourselves here. ...Unless We want to post webcam videos of Ourselves, speaking Our points and having the luxury of voice and facial expression, We'll have to be very careful in Our wordcrafting. Example:

"Vegans do this"
vs.
"Some Vegans do this"

...those two phrases really DO indicate different statements. The first appears as an all-inclusive blanket statement, while the second shows selectivity. It would be akin to saying, "Vegans do not eat cheese" vs. "Some Vegans do not eat cheese"
.......Those two show a big difference; and in this case, the first blanket statement is what applies, but the second one is selective of the group "Vegans," so it claims that NOT all Vegans are included. ..Obviously there is a major difference when that one word is taken out, which is why We must select Our words carefully.
There is also the question of "Good" and "Bad" or if You will, "Evil."
......believe it or not, these words ARE subjective, and they denote value or judgment specific to one person's or one system's definition. 'Systems' include religion (and each individual denomination, etc.), schools of philosophical thought, and even social or political groups.... they all have slightly varying ideas of what is "Good," "Right," "Evil," and "Wrong."
...So, just keep that in mind if You (collective) say "That is wrong," or "That is better than..." because the description points to a specific system of values, which don't apply in exact terms to everybody here. Alternatives might include "That opposes this principle of Veganism," or "That is more acceptable/preferred in my/Our opinion," and so on.

That aside....I'm glad that the discussion has taken this more chill demeanour. I must wonder, though:

AC, are You made of black beans, crumbled tofu, alfalfa sprouts, red leaf lettuce, baby 'bella mushrooms, and salsa inside? ...Is Your skin really a 10" flour tortilla??

:o ...I think I ate AC last night.
sorry guys.  :-[

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You ate AC? Oh dear. (Sounds delicious, though.)

I have to know ... if she was full of beans, did she give you gas?  :-D

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You ate AC? Oh dear. (Sounds delicious, though.)

I have to know ... if she was full of beans, did she give you gas?  :-D

HIGH FIVE!
;)b 8-)

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I guess the problem I have with these discussions is that most people will feel judged by many of the comments.  While no one is specifically saying "Cali, you are so not vegan! You ate bread that you didnt ask if it had an eggwash! How DARE you!" the feeling will still be there.  Some people are trying their best and may not be there yet due to illness, circumstance or location.  Does this make them "Not Vegan"?  Maybe they should say "I am aspiring to be vegan".  But when restaurants, family and omnis dont eve know what vegan is let alone cook for one how do you tell them what you do or dont eat?  Say Vegan, tell them no animal products and if they give you honey then use your best polite judgment on how to proceed.

I find my issue with this topic is it is labeled as "cheating".  Is this deliberately not being vegan or do circumstances make thing accidental.  I know I have been fed everything from milk to cow to fish in the last 11 years but I do not consider it cheating unless I knowingly and willingly said "i know this isnt vegan but I dont care! neener neener".  No, I ate casein filled cheese for many years, not knowing it was dairy!  Was I cheating?  Or just uneducated?

For those living with omni's and family animals that might provide non vegan food simply trade it with others who have garden produce.  Be sure you have a cutting board thats obviously always for the vegan foods.  Even if all you do is write VEGAN on it with sharpie.  Make vegan cookies and pancakes for the kids so you know you can enjoy them too.

For those living hand to mouth, look into cheap things like rice and beans, in season local veggies, growing your own indoors or out, and working with assistance like Food Not Bombs.

For those with eating disorders that may end up binging, simply do not have non vegan items at hand.  I know this is probably hardest of all because you have no control when it hits and the guilt of just the event is huge enough.  Recover how ever you can and then get back to your ideal of vegan.  Do what is best for you when you can.

Just remember, the only perfect vegan is a dead vegan.  And if you have a momentary lapse, shake it off, learn from it and continue on your journey.

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This is so well put. Your passion really comes through!

I think we're all "aspiring to be vegan." And I agree (I think KMK made this point earlier) that "cheating" doesn't really make sense. You cheat when you use the dictionary in Scrabble, not when you accidentally eat casein.

I think it really is a distinction between vegan food and vegan people. People, as you said, are never going to be "perfect" vegans. It just doesn't work like that. The best thing we can do is try, and try. And be welcoming to those who try alongside us.

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Some people are trying their best and may not be there yet due to illness, circumstance or location.  Does this make them "Not Vegan"?  Maybe they should say "I am aspiring to be vegan".  But when restaurants, family and omnis dont eve know what vegan is let alone cook for one how do you tell them what you do or dont eat?  Say Vegan, tell them no animal products and if they give you honey then use your best polite judgment on how to proceed.

I find my issue with this topic is it is labeled as "cheating".  Is this deliberately not being vegan or do circumstances make thing accidental.  I know I have been fed everything from milk to cow to fish in the last 11 years but I do not consider it cheating unless I knowingly and willingly said "i know this isnt vegan but I dont care! neener neener".  No, I ate casein filled cheese for many years, not knowing it was dairy!  Was I cheating?  Or just uneducated?

For those living with omni's and family animals that might provide non vegan food simply trade it with others who have garden produce.  Be sure you have a cutting board thats obviously always for the vegan foods.  Even if all you do is write VEGAN on it with sharpie.  Make vegan cookies and pancakes for the kids so you know you can enjoy them too.

For those living hand to mouth, look into cheap things like rice and beans, in season local veggies, growing your own indoors or out, and working with assistance like Food Not Bombs.

For those with eating disorders that may end up binging, simply do not have non vegan items at hand.  I know this is probably hardest of all because you have no control when it hits and the guilt of just the event is huge enough.  Recover how ever you can and then get back to your ideal of vegan.  Do what is best for you when you can.

Just remember, the only perfect vegan is a dead vegan.  And if you have a momentary lapse, shake it off, learn from it and continue on your journey.

I agree.
I was never arguing that people don't accidentally eat something not vegan. Anyway, I think my point has been heard!
Of course, we all disagree on some things, and agree on others. Yada.

Despite all fears (or lack of), I am still here, and whole; CW did not eat me. I have morphed back into human form, but in my burrito state, I'm just filled with lots of guac., and some rice.

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I mean, I pretty much agree with everything you said, Cali, though I know we might be on opposite sides of the issue in some ways.  I wasn't referring to accidents in this post, or binge eating, or non-vegan medicine.  I was referring to things like, "I'm vegan, but I eat cheese once a month when I pass by this really nice cheese store on the way home from work because it tastes so good."  That's a pretty striking, direct break with veganism on a regular basis.  It would just be more accurate, more productive, (and that person should still be proud) to say, "I am aspiring to be vegan," or some such.  

Again, I stand by what I said in that the term "vegan" is neither positive nor negative, and it's not a badge of honor--it's neutral but for your own personal judgment.  People with whom veganism doesn't really resonate don't care if something is "vegan"--and as we know, some people are put off by food which is labeled "vegan."  The judgment is a projection of your own values.  Most of us here think vegan is something positive, and we want to apply the term to ourselves because it resonates with our values.  That's good, but again, if we are regularly opposing those values (and again, here I do not refer to binging, or poverty, etc--just regular nonvegan choices) then we need to ask ourselves (a) what can we do to fix this, and (b) are those values really important to us anymore?

I mean, if you say, "You know what, I really value honesty.  I consider myself an honest person" but then you continue to lie on a regular basis, there is some disconnect between your values and your actions that needs to be fixed--or maybe you don't really value honesty as much as you thought, and you probably shouldn't go around saying you are an honest person.  I mean, you could still call yourself an honest person, and far be it from me to say, "You're not honest!" to your face (that's not my problem), but we can all agree that lying is not an honest action.  Eating cheese on a regular basis is not a vegan action (as an example).

We all just need to keep asking ourselves whether we are being vegan to the best of our ability.  I couldn't say that in good conscience if I were still eating cheese.  And I know there are lots of other things I can do better--for example, I still use a pot of Clinique makeup that I bought pregan, and I still use tylenol, which of course was tested on animals.  I recently gave more thought to the razors I use.  As long as we are constantly reevaluating our decisions and trying to do better, I think we're fine.  What bothers me is when people use the "no one is a perfect vegan" philosophy as a free pass to eat their favorite brie or buy that really cute leather bag.  I mean, come on, that's kind of lame--and not vegan.

Another thing that bothers me in this thread is that the question of "is it ok to call yourself vegan if you are " was specifically raised in this thread for debate.  That is different than going around and saying to people in person, or in casual conversation here on vegweb, "You know, you're not vegan!"  None of us do that.  Like, Cali said, we're not going to go into church and say "You're not Christian."  Honestly, I don't really care--call yourself vegan if you want.  But if we are going to debate, let's debate.  Remember the context of the discussion.  

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I think that some people might feel like just saying "that's not vegan" (etc) is a judgment. I mean, in a way, it is a judgment - you're judging as some food/behavior/whatnot as not vegan - but people might read it as a moral judgment because of the nature of veganism. I think most people go vegan and stay vegan for primarily ethical reasons (moral judgments about whether it's ok to eat animals, products of animal agriculture, byproducts of animal agriculture, and so on), and so for one vegan to call another one out on doing something/eating something not vegan (that was debatably optional) seems like saying "hey! we agreed this is wrong! why are you still doing it?!". It's sort of like how just saying "I'm vegan" to some omnivores gets them all defensive - we don't mean to say "what you eat is immoral" but that's how people take it. Should we tip toe around that issue as to not offend anyone? Or should we be like "yeah, I think it's wrong, but it's your choice". (Ok, I stated that in a very biased way, so I agree with the latter).
So yeah, I think there's general agreement of what foods and such are not vegan, there's some gray area too (you know, like using catgut in surgery. Obviously not a vegan product, but what are you gonna do?). But as far as people saying they're vegan when they slip up (on purpose or accidental), I think anyone who feels like they've slipped up will take the defensive, because they know those actions can be seen as unethical.
That being said, I have slipped up too in some ways - first year I was vegan I ate Halloween candy (I was 12... the whole bandwagon thing), and then realized it was a hell of a lot crappier than I remembered it. I also tried cream cheese because I was suspicious that my mom was using regular cream cheese and not tofutti in my sandwiches for school (I was right! grr). I ate bread that had whey in it (I didn't want to go return it). I didn't read the ingredients on ginger Cats Cookies from TJ's (they have egg, unlike the other flavors), and still ate a few after realizing it before giving it to my brother. And I've mistakenly eaten animal products many times (one time it made me really ill! who the hell makes curry sauce with cream??). But I move on. One of the ways I help prevent these "slip ups" is trying to recreate whatever cool nonvegan thing I saw (maybe a nice barbecue sauce with honey or something, or whole wheat bread that doesn't friggin have honey in it, a cool looking wool scarf) at home. Other times I just pass things by and go "meh. I still have dark chocolate."
One of the non-vegan things I regularly do is eat refined cane sugar (the whole bone char thing). Since I've learned of how beet sugar is labeled, I've bought that stuff instead when available, but I haven't made any real effort to eliminate refined cane sugar from pre-made stuff I buy (namely oreos, cereal, etc). Hell, I don't even know if these use cane or beet sugar - beet is cheaper, but cane is apparently more of the standard in the States. Sometimes I feel bad about this, sometimes I don't think about it at all. And I still call myself vegan.
Oh, and the one time I bought beer (for bakin'), I didn't check into vegan brands or anything.

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As is often the case, I'd like to say, "Hear, Hear!" for Cali's post.
Everything she said was spot-on. ...for instance, the casein-tainted veg. cheeze: My sister bought some of this a few years back for a special pizza night just for Us, and I figured it was vegan because she said she checked the label. I found said label on top of the trash later that night, after eating 3 slices.   :P So I just didn't eat any more after that.

Intention is quite different from misinformation and innocent ignorance.

I think that some people might feel like just saying "that's not vegan" (etc) is a judgment. I mean, in a way, it is a judgment - you're judging as some food/behavior/whatnot as not vegan - but people might read it as a moral judgment because of the nature of veganism. ...

Yup. That's what I meant when I said that We should all be careful in selecting Our words. What might not sound like a judgment or insult to You can be interpreted differently to someone who has been given a different impression of "good," "acceptable," etc.

I have slipped up too in some ways ... But I move on. ...
One of the non-vegan things I regularly do is eat refined cane sugar (the whole bone char thing). Since I've learned of how beet sugar is labeled, I've bought that stuff instead when available, but I haven't made any real effort to eliminate refined cane sugar from pre-made stuff I buy (namely oreos, cereal, etc). Hell, I don't even know if these use cane or beet sugar - beet is cheaper, but cane is apparently more of the standard in the States. Sometimes I feel bad about this, sometimes I don't think about it at all. And I still call myself vegan.
...

This, too, is something I can speak for. Peta2's list of "accidentally vegan" candies rarely specify what kind of sugar they use...maybe their sugars are refined with bone char, and thus, falsely labeled as vegan?
Sometimes there is only so much we actually CAN do..... it's a question of preventable harm. If I could avoid hitting bugs with my windshield, I wouldl; but when those bugs fly across the line of fire of my big boat of a conversion van, there's not much I can do. Heck, even bicycling usually results in a few swallowed gnats, and it's not like I do that on purpose.

...Most of us here think vegan is something positive, and we want to apply the term to ourselves because it resonates with our values.  That's good, but again, if we are regularly opposing those values (and again, here I do not refer to binging, or poverty, etc--just regular nonvegan choices) then we need to ask ourselves (a) what can we do to fix this, and (b) are those values really important to us anymore?

...We all just need to keep asking ourselves whether we are being vegan to the best of our ability. ...As long as we are constantly reevaluating our decisions and trying to do better, I think we're fine.  What bothers me is when people use the "no one is a perfect vegan" philosophy as a free pass to eat their favorite brie or buy that really cute leather bag.  I mean, come on, that's kind of lame--and not vegan. ...

I agree for the most part with what You've said here, KMK. ...like my example:
if a Christian personally believes in the morals and values taught by her/his church, and does her/his best to follow but s/he slips up sometimes, s/he will likely not renounce that belief system entirely just because mistakes were made. That person will continue to aspire toward the "Christian ideal" (whatever that is), still stumble along the way, but will identify as a Christian nonetheless.
.....But in other cases, like when I finally decided that I rejected the Christianity I grew up with, one can realize that multiple, consistent "mistakes" actually fall in line with that person's individual value system. ....I finally realized that sex is a natural and wonderful part of human nature, that questioning one's beliefs is not blasphemous or "dangerous," and that I used occasional prayer just for personal comfort...I honestly doubted the existence of the Christian idea of "God," so I gave up claiming that system of belief.

I do not buy or request any non-vegan items. But if I try to ask Sanvean's mom if the bread she serves has an egg wash, she might not even know, and assure me that there are no animal products in it...So I accept whatever quantity of that bread that I think will show my appreciation.

When my friend bought me a pair of boots from Wal-Mart, she checked to make sure they were all man-made.  :)>>> This was incredibly sweet of her, though I'd have preferred that she not support that disgusting corporation and the sweatshop labour that went into making my boots......but of course I wasn't going to refuse or return them. I wore them regularly, and they're now barely holding together. :)

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I agree that there is a moral judgment implied in saying something is "vegan" or not. However, I think that it goes beyond saying "what is vegan is good."

I noticed in more than one instance (particularly in the "honey: yes or no?" discussion) that it wasn't a person's dedication to a vegan lifestyle that was called into question. It was the person's preferences for particular tastes.
I'll paraphrase an example: "you don't eat honey because it's non-vegan ... you eat it because you like the taste." This argument has appeared more than once.*

It is unfair to condemn a person's appetite, in my opinion, and that kind of argument (the "you'd be more vegan if you had better self-control, a different palate, etc.") is very negative and judgmental. I think we all crave the same things, in terms of taste and texture. I think that craving a butter-and-egg cookie isn't a crime, and being unsatisfied with the vegan version isn't a crime either.

The person who can point a finger and imply that appetite is at fault has been able to be satisfied with the vegan substitutes for meat, cheese, eggs, and milk. Unfortunately, I feel like there's a very serious moral judgment involved in that accusation -- one that really shows the "more vegan than thou" attitude.

*I say this as a person who does eat local, organic, cruelty-free, non-commercial, raw honey and doesn't feel like that's a betrayal of my veganism.

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I think we're beating a dead horse, (not vegan, I know)
it will never be resolved, and we will all never agree....so can we move on????

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I think we're beating a dead horse, (not vegan, I know)
it will never be resolved, and we will all never agree....so can we move on????

*AC NOT VEGAN SIREN*

You meant to say, we are beating the mashed tofu.

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go ahead and handcuff me officer..... ;)b

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Hee hee!
I feel the same way when I say "bitching" or "nagging." Feminist police!

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"Bitching" is a double whammy since it refers to women and female doggies.  :P
Vegan feminist police!

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