‘Meat’, dairy, eggs. When we are not vegan, we grab them thoughtlessly from the supermarket shelf, hardly paying attention to what we’re doing. Our actions do not connect with any awareness or empathy for those who are our victims.
Even if we feel a slight shiver of concern, we look around and see everyone else doing the same. We see smiley people on TV joking and chopping vegetables beside gory scenes that should make us retch. ‘It must be okay. It’s normal. That’s the way things are meant to be’. The reassurances that we were taught as children surface to soothe, and we carry on.
Let’s look again.
Each pack, each neat package of blood-drained flesh, each container of milk or yoghurt or cheese, each carton of eggs has a story to tell; each leather purse, each wool jacket, each shampoo and package of bleach is telling a story, is crying out to be heard. The stories they tell are of their rightful owners; are of those whose lives we destroyed to turn them into commodities and ingredients, and if we were only to stop and listen, theirs is an eloquent legacy. If we were only to see the pitiful remains as they really are. The tale is of desperation, of grief and fear, of partings and loss and helplessness.
As our thoughtless hands arrange dismembered body parts on plates, we are looking through a window into the private hell of a desperate individual. We are looking through a window at someone exactly like we are in every relevant way, someone anguished, someone frightened, someone struggling desperately not to die.
Laid before us in our every nonvegan choice, are lost lives; lives with thoughts and hopes, lives with identities and personalities; memories of an existence that afforded no dignity and no recognition that they mattered to themselves and to their family and friends.
It’s all there, we only have to look. And having looked, and really seen, we can never look away again. To find peace we must be vegan. We can live and thrive without being part of the machine of death. Why not turn your back on it today?
Find out about veganism here