In case you live under a rock, or never watch TV, or surf the net, Oprah and all 378 of her staffers went vegan for a week. Today the episode aired, it was a good/bad experience.
Well I must say I wasn’t overly enthused with the episode. Yes it’s a huge step for Oprah to focus an entire episode on veganism. When it comes to the mainstream and trend setting, Oprah is as big as it gets. Ever try to buy a product she lists as her “favorite”? Well its impossible.That’s not to say that veganism is a product or commercial venture. Oprah was able to reach millions of people and spread a positive message about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. This will undoubtedly have a huge effect on its viewers.
I think its important to remember that veganism is still an unknown or misunderstood to most Americans. Oprah used her platform to spread the word. That’s exactly what we need. We need to see the factory where our meat comes from. Just as they put it, “We need to think about the cow”, we need to remember that a steak represents an animal that died for your pleasure. We need to know that a plant-based diet has exceptional affects on our health and the environment.
That being said, I was not completely satisfied with the episode. To start off I found it very disturbing how the meat factory employee talked about the cows. She said the animals deserve a dignified life and death. How is being confined to a cage, over fed to gain 3 lbs a day, and then murdered a dignified life and death. Is it me or was that whole scene completely hypocritical? One minute they’re talking about the ethical treatment of animals, and the next they’re sending bolts through the cows to kill them painlessly (doesn’t seem to painless to me). The factory work also mentions how they “must respect the living creature”, is murder and pain how they show respect? I wish a stronger stance was taken, one that was not hypocritical.
The cows live a happy life, with one bad day. Really? Is that how they live? Cows are happy being fed crap food while they are confined to cages. They are happy knowing that their soul purpose is to become someone’s hamburger. That doesn’t make much sense to me. It seems to me that Oprah was more concerned with not offending anyone then anything else.
Before we bash Oprahs attempt at veganism let’s remember that any step that gets people to consider a “veganish” lifestyle will save animals and open their minds to a kinder life. I say lets be happy that Oprah completed a Vegan Challenge. Viewers were able to see that veganism is weird or crazy, but rather rewarding and easy. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, and maybe it wasn’t all I hoped it would be, but Oprah is a trendsetter. Lets hope this is a trend that not only catches on with Oprah speed, but also lasts forever (much like her career).