Every day we read tributes on social media from those who have shared their lives with members of other species and they move me to tears. Without exception these writings and images invite us to share something special and personal from a wounded heart. It’s a window into private memories of times shared by two individuals, poignant memories of love, admiration and respect that is felt and reciprocated.
Time after time I read of the departed friend’s unique personality, their quirky behaviour, their friendships, their brimming sense of joy and fun. I read of all that they did that made them different from every other individual in the world. Even the name that they each bear is a carefully chosen tribute to an incomparable individual.
In the case of individuals rescued from our species’ hellish industries of exploitation and torment, there is always an awareness of the dark place from which the deceased escaped. Those fortunate few who escape alive, who find sanctuary in a place where they are valued for themselves, these few so often carry with them a legacy that they can never truly escape. With bodies selectively bred for the specific purpose of merciless use for financial gain, their days of joy are often few and marked by deteriorating health. They are not designed to be old.
And yet for whatever time they could manage, they have known life after rescue, and have found joy and love and friendship. They have felt sunshine and wind and rain, have walked on grass beneath open skies. Gentle hands have reached out to them and they have known an end to fear and torment.
And in the end, when their pain can’t be held at bay any longer, they die in the company of those who love them. They are mourned, and they are remembered. It’s all any of us could ever wish for ourselves.
However let us consider for a moment the billions of individuals used so that substances and services we don’t need can be forcibly taken from their unconsenting selves; their breast milk, their eggs, their flesh and body parts, their honey, their body coverings. Let us consider every individual used for vivisection, for ‘entertainment’, for forced labour and the myriad other ways that our arrogant and brutal species asserts that the interests of our victims are not important enough to even acknowledge.
Every single one of our innocent victims is exactly like the departed individual whose passing we mourn. They are exactly the same in that, if we had known them, we’d have loved each one. And for every single one, the heart of a friend would have seen the sparkle that made each one unique; could have written a tribute that would move us to tears.
Picture then the lonely, the unloved, the wounded and helpless, the terrified and the grief stricken; needless victims of the terminally destructive human indulgence that is nonveganism. They are on the slaughter trucks, they are standing in line at the slaughter house, they are being restrained and impregnated to keep their breast milk flowing, they are giving birth to doomed infants, they are gazing through bars from the cages and pens, they are screaming and no one is listening but us. Imagine how many tears we would need for the millions who die alone and friendless every day?
Today, let’s think of them and resolve to work harder for a vegan world.