We all like to think of ourselves as ethical, as animal lovers, as caring, decent, moral individuals. I bet if you think about it you can recall conversations where you have said, ‘I love animals’, ‘I can’t bear cruelty to animals’, even perhaps, ‘I’m not vegetarian/vegan but animals should be treated humanely’. I’ve certainly seen and heard such statements almost daily.
I’m not asking questions, and I’m not looking for feedback. Only you will know if this rings true and I hope that you may read on.
The first thing we all need to face is that saying a thing does not make it so. The word ‘humane’ has no role to play in any context where one sentient species is exploiting all others simply because they are vulnerable and cannot prevent our ‘might makes right’ atrocities.
If we were to say, ‘I eat chicken/ burgers/ bacon/eggs/dairy but I don’t believe in causing unnecessary suffering’, then that is clearly a nonsense statement. Given that we have no morally justifiable need whatsoever for our use of others, and a wealth of available alternatives, then in order to supply humanity’s obsessive desire to consume and use bodies, body parts and secretions, ‘unnecessary suffering’ is part and parcel of the supply industries.
It can never be otherwise, as the fundamental concept of bringing others into the world as commodities and resources is a total violation of their most basic rights as sentient beings like ourselves. Whenever we spend money, we create demand. When we create demand for suffering and death there is NO way we can avoid being responsible for it. It is sad and self-deceiving if we are unable to accept our role in the most horrific injustice of our time.
It does not matter how many companion animals we cherish, how many petitions we sign, how many sad pictures we share on Facebook, how many inspirational poems we pass on. If we consume and use the flesh and secretions of other beings – we are not living true to ourselves.
If this makes you uncomfortable or makes you try to justify why your own circumstances are different, then all I ask is that you follow that thought in your own heart. I hope it will keep coming back time and again. It did for me.
If we really intend to be all the things we so eloquently tell ourselves and others that we are, we need to live true to our words. Because there are lots of noble, lofty sounding words that we can all say to deceive ourselves and others, but in our hearts there is only one way to live our values.
And that is to be vegan.