Buying absolution by the kilo

chicks-1280732_960_720There was a time when I used to buy the most expensive, ‘high welfare’, ‘free range’, ‘organic’ ‘meat’, chicken eggs and non-plant milk that I could afford. By doing this, I used to console myself that I was doing the best I could to minimise the harm of the purchases that I had been raised to believe were essential for the wellbeing of my family and myself.

If you look again, these two sentences tell a lot about the person I was, but the points I’d like to draw to your attention are:

• I thought it was necessary to consume the flesh, eggs and milk of other species;
• I believed that the more money I spent on a ‘product’, the ‘better’ would have been the life of the creature from whom it had been taken;
• I was seeking to minimise harm – which is an admission that I knew I was causing harm;
• I actively looked for labels such as ‘high welfare’, ‘free range’ and ‘organic’ because I believed the marketing hype aimed at people like I was, shoppers who try as hard as they can to be ethical.

I suspect I wasn’t so very different from most people who read this. Few of us would ever dream of admitting that we don’t care in the slightest about who has to suffer for our unnecessary choices because if we’re really honest about it, that’s just not true.

However, when we are not vegan, we all work at compromise, always looking for a path that our conscience can live with; often seeking to buy absolution where we can by choosing the expensive option, even when our finances struggle to cope. When we are not vegan, many of us do what we think we have to do, even though it frequently makes us uncomfortable.

And then came the unforgettable day that I realised that we have absolutely no need to use or consume the bodies and lives of other species for any reason at all. I suddenly understood that my victims had thoughts and minds, hearts and hopes; that they had bonds and relationships with family and friends.  Most importantly I understood that I could in no way justify the inherent violence that my careless choices were inflicting on them, that they were like me in every way except species and like me, they did not want to die. I suddenly realised that the labels are meaningless from a victim’s perspective. They are a cynical ploy to appease the uncritical conscience of a consumer like I was; one who was sufficiently uncomfortable to need reassurance, yet one who was reluctant to delve into the facts of the subject for fear of what they suspected they may discover.

On that fateful day, I had two options. I could turn my back on the truth and in doing so face the realisation that I was not the fair and honest person I had lived my life thinking that I was.

Or I could become vegan.

I have never for a moment regretted my choice. Becoming vegan is simply becoming the person we always thought we were. Find out about veganism here:

http://www.howtogovegan.org/

http://vegankit.com/

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4 Responses to Buying absolution by the kilo

  1. “• I believed that the more money I spent on a ‘product’, the ‘better’ would have been the life of the creature from whom it had been taken;
    • I was seeking to minimise harm – which is an admission that I knew I was causing harm;”

    “I suddenly realised that the labels are meaningless from a victim’s perspective. They are a cynical ploy to appease the uncritical conscience of a consumer like I was; one who was sufficiently uncomfortable to need reassurance, yet one who was reluctant to delve into the facts of the subject for fear of what they suspected they may discover.”

    I pulled out these quotations because I think they are at the crux of the self- awareness and appropriate responsibility related to the morality of exploitation. We are all susceptible to the social pressure to follow trends and convenience, as well as to the notion of finding security , however superficial, within belonging to a community, all for the bottom line of the business of food (and clothing, and all other goods human assume are necessary for life.).

    Since we all do need to eat to live, we give ourselves a wide berth in regard to what is food. Since we need to clothe ourselves, we easily justify the skins, hair coats and feathers, etc., of animals as reasonable materials. But the justification goes far beyond actual need of the individual and is put in the hands of those who we believe know better (authority) as to what we need to live well and integrated with the world.

    Reminding people that it is each of us who makes the world as it is reminds us that individually we can stand up for what is moral in relationships to our non-human kin, which means not exploiting them as our property, and valuing their lives as much we value our own.

    In your last couple of essays it’s been a pleasure to see you growing as a writer and fine tuning your voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for taking the time to post this insightful comment. Thank you, too for your encouraging words about my writing in general. It’s true that I hope to hone my skills so that I may use them more effectively to promote the vegan world that shines at the end of this very dark tunnel currently occupied by most of humanity. As you will know from your own excellent writings, it’s hard to be objective about one’s own work which makes your observation all the more appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

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