There 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: