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From: Jo Stepaniak (
Subject: Re: need advice about vegan right-livelihood question (a little long)
Date: June 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm PST

In Reply to: need advice about vegan right-livelihood question (a little long) posted by ellie on June 30, 2009 at 7:00 am:

Hello, Ellie. Before I respond, please know that I go ONLY by "Jo." The other name has been retired.

Although this is more of an "Issues" question, I think (hope) it can be addressed safely here without folks engaging in a debate.

From my own perspective, I do not equate taking medications or assisting others to take necessary medications with bludgeoning animals. Most medications that the elderly will be taking are those that have been on the market a long time and are on the GRAS list. That's because nursing-home patients are typically given the least-expensive drugs, and those are usually the "oldest" versions that no longer require testing.

When my mother-in-law was in a nursing home, we arranged her meals -- and she was a staunch meat eater -- as well as oversaw her medications. You do what you have to do to help others. I don't see that as compromising vegan values, but rather putting them into action. Your veganism is about what YOU do, not what others do. If you can help an elder live a longer, more comfortable, more healthful and peaceful life, then do so, regardless of the medications you help them take. Some fields require that employees be inoculated against certain diseases -- hospital workers or people who travel overseas, for instance. There are lots of good reasons for this. Only you can make the decision for yourself, but is it worth leaving a job you like and that helps others just to avoid taking a flu shot? To me, that's practicing only the letter of veganism, not the spirit. And for me, that's not what my vegan practice is all about.


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