I was taught that taking their milk does not harm cows. I was taught that taking their eggs does not harm hens. I was taught that animals ‘didn’t mind’ being killed for ‘meat’. I was too young to debate with those who told me these things and I became an adult with this ‘knowledge’ firmly in place. I’m guessing it’s the same for most of us.
As adults, despite our more mature knowledge of the mechanics of reproduction, many of us – and I include my former self in this – are easily placated by labels on products derived from the bodies and lives of other sentient individuals; only we don’t think of them as sentient individuals in any internal dialogue we have. We rarely acknowledge them as having any presence at all, except as a means for us to obtain ingredients, ‘ingredients’ that we were taught were necessary for our health. ‘Everybody else does the same’, we say. ‘It must be okay’, we tell ourselves. ‘There are laws’, we reassure ourselves.
So why is it then that as adults, we may take delight in catching others out in a lie or an error or even some harmless foolishness, but when it comes to what we were taught about animals and our merciless use of them, we resist checking out what the animal use industries and their skilful propaganda mouthpieces tell us? Why is it that we turn a blind eye to what logic and our adult common sense tell us and continue to support the blood-drenched nightmare that is the inevitable consequence of any trade that deals in lives, in broken families, in death and body parts for profit?
Even worse, even when presented with the unassailable truth, why is it that so many repeat what they were taught as infants as a gleeful ‘gotcha’, deriding the suggestion that using the lives and bodies of sentient individuals causes them catastrophic harm? Is it because we already suspect the truth? Is it because once we know the facts, we can’t un-know them and that may force us to take some form of action?
At some point each of us must decide if truth is important to us. If it is, and when we open our eyes to it, we realise that only by being vegan can we refuse to participate in the gravest injustice of our time; the unscrupulous, self-indulgent and unnecessary victimisation of billions of helpless and vulnerable individuals every single year.