I have a mother-in-law who brings a meat dish to our Sunday get-together dinners. I find this quite offensive since she knows that we are all vegan. Should I ask her to stop?
—Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI
This has been a tough one for me to answer on a vegan family website. I think that my answer should be to tell the mom that you are vegan family, and you are offended that she would even consider undermining your core beliefs by bringing a dead animal into your home. However, with that being said, I think it depends on the person and the family. Since you already stated that it offends you, you should definitely tell her how you feel and find the most polite way of asking her to stop. For example, maybe you could let her know that you appreciate her bringing more food to the dinner, but you really want her to be a guest in your home, and you would prefer for her to sit back, relax, and enjoy not having to cook. Or, depending on how comfortable you feel with your mother-in-law, you and your husband (don’t take all the heat my friend!), could take it as an opportunity to let her know that you are an animal-loving home, and if she has any questions about your beliefs, you’d love to discuss why it’s so important to you.
When someone asks me if they can bring a meat dish, I usually let them. If I were invited to a party that served only meat or dairy, I would certainly ask if I could bring my own food. So, I try to be objective and understand that not everyone has my same beliefs. However, when someone brings a meat dish, I take that opportunity to ensure that it is out-shined by the other vegan options. Many times people are willing to eat more cruelty-free only due to taste. Maybe focus your energy on making your food so out of this world that your mother-in-law will forget about bringing meat next time!
I wish you all the best and hope that if your mother-in-law is allowed to continue bringing meat dishes to your home, you can at least use it as an opportunity to have an honest open discussion about your ethics.
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