We all make them – some with more commitment than others. We may decide to eat less, exercise more, stop smoking or drinking, be less wasteful; mostly, New Year Resolutions concern things we know we should have been doing already, and we resolve to try a bit harder and not give in to the tendency we all have to give in and take the easy way out, to resist change, to indulge ourselves.
So here’s a thing. Almost every one of us claims to care about animals, and when we are not vegan, we know very well – or at least we strongly suspect – that our actions cause them harm. This feeling of discomfort, which we prefer to remain as vague as possible, is why the industries that commodify the lives and bodies of nonhuman individuals have been able to create the lucrative webs of deceit that suggest there are acceptable ways to take the lives of those who desperately want to live.
The ‘happy’ exploitation myths are targeted at the caring consumer, and are highly profitable only because so few of us actually want to cause harm and will actively seek ways to mitigate what we choose to see as a ‘necessary evil’. However, once we realise that using the lives and bodies of others for any reason is completely unnecessary, we must surely ask ourselves what our ‘necessary evil’ has become?
It might be thought that a vegan New Year Resolution is different from most, in that at first glance it doesn’t seem to be about us at all, but rather is targeted at benefiting our nonhuman kin. Well, I mentioned earlier that resolutions are mostly about things we know we should have been doing all along and the decision to be vegan is simply making our words and thoughts real by living in line with them. In other words, the decision to be vegan is doing what we know we should have been doing all along. Even those of us who are not vegan are quick to declare that we would not wish to cause harm to the helpless.
And for us, there’s the peace of knowing that when we say we care for individuals of other species, when we say we respect their lives, when we say we don’t believe in causing unnecessary harm to the vulnerable, these are more than nice-sounding but ultimately empty words. We are describing the reality of our behaviour when we live vegan.
So as the *Old Year draws to a close, let’s be mindful of the many billions of powerless, gentle innocents who have sobbed, whimpered and begged in vain for their unique and precious lives in slaughterhouses across the world. Let’s not forget that every nonvegan consumer choice is a decision to harm someone who is powerless to prevent our use of their body and our theft of their life.
In this New Year, I would ask anyone who is not vegan to check out the wealth of links and information they will find elsewhere on this blog, then follow it up with research of your own. Resolve to make the year that’s past the last year that you support and participate in the violence that is an inherent part of using helpless and innocent individuals as resources and commodities.
And in this New Year, if we are already vegan, let’s all resolve to take heart from the knowledge that we are not alone even although it can sometimes feel that way. In a pitiless and violent world it is so comforting to realise that there are many others who share our commitment to justice and nonviolence, and it is encouraging to know that our numbers are growing each day.
As we move into a New Year, let’s resolve anew to speak out about veganism with honesty and sincerity at every opportunity. Let’s use whatever talents and skills we can muster to spread the vegan message. Let’s commit ourselves to keep advocating veganism and absolutely nothing less.
Humanity’s billions of victims are looking to us to speak on their behalf. They are utterly dependent on our clear and unequivocal message. If we don’t fight for them – who will?
Have a very vegan New Year.
*Originally posted in 2015 / 2016. Dates amended 02 January 2018