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Life In The Omnivorous Household by Kaye Axon, Vegan Views 89 (Summer 2001)

It's not my stomach churning when I open the refrigerator, it's my heart sinking when yet another well-meaning veggie friend asks how I can live with a meat eater. My partner is a wonderfully kind, caring and compassionate man who for some reason is unable to see the other creatures that we share this world with as having the same rights as he does.

I moved in with him fully expecting to have him converted to a veg and two veg diet within six months, five years later we are still at it. I have now become accustomed to myself and assorted veggie friends huddled on street corners frantically trying to remember the location of meat serving restaurants to accommodate the last remaining meat eater of the group, who'll then eat vegetarian food anyway.

There are days when I feel I am making progress, like the day when the first bird was seen on the bird table. It was a beautiful plump wood pigeon. My partner would wander over to the window and show an interest. What I didn't realise was that he was frantically tapping on the window trying to scare the "pesky varmint" away without me noticing and that he is now speculating loudly about who he can borrow a shotgun from. I would like to reassure the vegan reader that I am fairly certain that this is a joke. Fairly certain.

So why do I go to all the extra trouble. Apart from the lifetime commitment I have made to both veganism and my partner, I realise that veganism is a hard thing for many people. Many people are unable to face the inherent cruelty in the meat trade and consequently refuse to think about it. I also feel that each and every vegetarian meal that my partner eats is one less meat meal. Although I have now realised that my partner is at least as stubborn as I am in his diet and that I am unlikely to change him overnight I am confidently predicting a conversion to veganism at some time over the next forty or fifty years.

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Cross-reference: Meat Eaters - Coping with them