photo by daveybot
Most vegans are faced with compromising situations in the workplace every day. Situations in which your beliefs are tested in some way. I work in a coffee shop. All day, I make drinks containing milk, sell food that contains dairy, and even a couple of items that contain meat. Though I’m not consuming these items myself (pass the soymilk, please), I am essentially promoting the consumption of these products by working there.
At my last job at a newspaper, my co-workers would tease me about my choice to be vegan. They’d refer to me as the “militant vegan” and talk about how much they loved meat. But I loved my co-workers dearly and learned to take the good with the bad in such situations, pick my battles, and bring in amazing vegan food to share with them. I eventually got some great support from co-workers who started reading my blog and sharing vegan recipes. They even decided my blog was good enough to be added to the newspaper’s website, added my link to their Salt Blogs, and gave me free advertising in the newspaper. Which was a big help in getting Happy Vegetable on its feet.
And now, I’m facing a new challenge– going back to school for psychology. One aspect of this decision scares the crap out of me: animal testing. Psychology has been paired with animal testing for a very long time. Many of the discoveries made in this field have been through testing on animals and humans. I fear that at some point I may face a situation in which I am expected to complete lab work involving animal testing. And that perhaps my decision to boycott this would compromise my career. It’s one thing to prepare a cappuccino for someone. Testing on and torturing animals is a whole new level of ethical compromise. I hope much of the animal testing will soon be replaced by the study of human-cell cultures and other alternative (and better) methods of research. But I know there’s still plenty of animal testing going on today.
If there are any other vegan psychologists out there, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Were you forced to compromise your ethics at any point, and if so, how did you deal with it? Is animal testing a requirement at any point in the psychology career track? I know there are plenty of non-vegans that are against animal testing as well, so if you’ve also had to face this situation, what did you do? My current goal is to get a PhD, so I’ve got a long, potentially bumpy road ahead of me.