“Welcome everyone! Welcome to your first ever DATA meeting,” their host for the evening said. “For those not fully aware of what we do, let me give you a bit of our history.”
The woman before them then started in to her lecture. DATA, short for Defending All The Animals, was started in 1985 by a group of vegetarians in response to a certain other animal loving collective who they felt went too far in their efforts to protect the non-humans of the world. Annoy the meat eaters or make them feel threatened, the members of DATA felt, and they’ll respond just as any other animal would: viciously. On the other hand, make them think you’re someone they can work with, and maybe they’ll play ball. It was that philosophy which won them invites to various local schools, where they were allowed to teach children about vegetarian options, as well as face time with patients who were in the hospital recovering from a heart attack or stroke. Age-wise, their host looked as though she may have been a founding member.
“When I moved here three months ago, I noticed that there wasn’t a local DATA chapter. I’m so glad so many of you decided to join me here this evening. I thought that for fun, I’d prepare one of the recipes we use in the schools we visit. It’s a more relaxed way to learn about the petition we’re hoping to present to the federal government next month, don’t you think?”
Out came the alfalfa sprouts, the tofu, the avocados, the soy milk and a whole list of other ingredients no cattle rancher has likely ever seen on his dinner plate. The new members then all gathered around the cooking island to see what culinary magic their host could make out of food items most other people considered bland. But they weren’t alone. An uninvited guest had also joined the party.
“Well look at that,” the head of the new local chapter said. “A fly. Shoo fly! Shoo!” she said while trying to wave it off.
The fly must have mistaken her waves for a hello, because it came right back.
“You are a determined little thing, aren’t you?” she said ,trying once again trying to scare it away.
The fly took that as an invitation to not only stick around, but to join everyone for dinner. He decided to go with the alfalfa sprouts as a starter.
“Get out of here, fly!” the host then said, clearly more agitated. “Get out or else!”
“Get out or else…what?” one of the new members asked.
“Get out or else I’ll…,” she began to say before she caught herself. She couldn’t say what she wanted to say, “…or else I’ll squish you and your diseased little feet to bits.” If cows and pigs and chickens and fish and exotic animals had every right to live, then how could it be okay for her to kill an insect?
“Get out or else I’ll charge you for those alfalfa sprouts you’re stealing,” she then continued, adding a chuckle at the end in hopes of making them think that’s what she meant to say all along.
Twenty minutes later her dish was fully prepared. Everyone took a heaping plate’s worth, making sure to pick out the alfalfa bits however.
In the end, we’re all hypocrites. We just go about showing it in different ways.