I try my best never to compromise when it comes to my beliefs. I make a point never to do things that I will have to feel guilty for later. I am especially strict when it comes to matters of animal rights; I am probably one of the pickiest vegans in the world. I do everything in my power to avoid harming any living being, even the ones that many other vegans don't take into consideration (like various "pests").
Unfortunately for me, I live in a place where compromise on these issues is often necessary just to get by in society. I think one of the necessities of the animal rights cause is to attempt to spread the message that animals deserve better than the way our society treats them, to as many people as possible. However, it is simply not feasible for me to be open about my feelings about the treatment of nonhuman animals here. I have to deal with people on a daily basis who are involved in animal exploitation, in one way or another. At work, I end up talking to hunters, farmers, breeders, and even people involved in rodeos. I can't exactly tell these people what I think about the things they do. I'm pretty sure I would get fired, and it really doesn't seem like a good idea to get on the bad side of everyone who lives in my area.
As much as I hate the activities encouraged by this culture, I do still live here and therefore am required to deal with the locals, whether I like it or not. I feel like, in the long run, it's probably better to be "the vegan girl who gets along okay with everyone" than to be "the angry animal rights activist who antagonizes her neighbors". I still don't like it though. It's not that I actually believe I could change their minds if I did tell them how I feel, but it still feels like a betrayal of my beliefs to stay silent.
As if dealing with this in normal social situations isn't enough, I have to face it even more because of Riley and Tuni. There aren't exactly separate stores for people who want to buy feed for rescued farm animals, and if there were they certainly wouldn't be in West Virginia. This means that every time I have to buy pig food, I have to interact with other people who are buying food for farmed animals, and not one of them is doing it for the same reason I am.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes no matter how hard you try not to, you do have to make compromises, even when it comes to the things that matter most to you. I can only hope that someday this will not be the case, but for now I can see no way around it. I tell myself that, as long as I stay true to my beliefs, it doesn't matter whether I express those beliefs to the rest of the world or not. I'm not certain that I really believe that though.