‘If my life depended on it’ – my careless words

goats-1993649_960_720Today in a conversation, I found myself commenting that I would be unable to do something (it was drawing actually) ‘if my life depended on it’.

Some time later, it occurred to me just what a careless, throw-away term that was for me to have used. It was meaningless. I suddenly realised that I had no concept of doing something, or indeed not doing something, as ‘if my life depended on it’.  In my life as a member of the dominant species on the planet, and a relatively privileged member at that, there are very few actions that I would consider taking or not taking that would automatically result in my life being forfeit. I have no experience of living under the weight of a death sentence imposed on me by another sentient individual.

I found myself reflecting on how this phrase about life depending on actions, applies to the victims of the brutal and violent species to which I belong.

I found myself thinking of the countless billions who have been caused to exist by human contrivance and manipulation of their reproductive processes, who have been, who are being and who will be hurt and harmed by the routine violence that all our use of their lives entails. For every single unique and special individual of these countless billions, their moment of conception is the beginning of their death sentence.

I found myself considering as I do every single day, those billions of gentle and innocent individuals whose pitiful existence of relentless use will end as their dying screams and whimpers gurgle with their bright lifeblood through their gashed throats this year, and next year, and the year after that until the world wakes up.

I found myself sickened by my words, by the careless way so many of us talk of life and death, saying phrases like ‘as if my life depended on it’ and laughing, secure in the knowledge that for us there is no danger, using these hugely significant words so casually, so thoughtlessly and so carelessly until they have no meaning.

And finally I had to remind myself that this is why I advocate veganism. This is why I call for the end of the culture of violence in which we are all complicit when we are not vegan. I do not promote a reduction of harm, or harm in a different environment, or harm on fewer days of the week because all of these things are still harm and they all twist the truth to serve our own convenience. They all make it about us, so we may bask in the self-congratulatory glow of feigned concern while continuing to ignore or justify to ourselves the harm that we demand as consumers.

Because for our victims, our advocacy is the one thing that really does have lives depending on it.  We cannot save all those who are in the harm system, but by being clear, consistent and unequivocal in our call for our species wake up to the consequences of their needless actions, we can urge others to reject their participation in the violence and horror that constitute all use of our helpless and vulnerable victims. We can stop contributing to the nightmare by becoming vegan and urging others to join us. By being vegan, we can reduce the demand for harm in the days and years to come.

Lives ARE depending on that. Let’s make the words mean something real. Be vegan.

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5 Responses to ‘If my life depended on it’ – my careless words

  1. John Thomas says:

    “a relatively privileged member at that, ”

    What does that mean, exactly? Do you know how much animals suffer in muslim countries, for example? What vegan advocacy are muslims doing? None, as you well know, yet you continue to parrot the bullshit of the media that ‘white people are bad’.


    • You raise three separate issues here. Yes, I am aware of how much animals suffer everywhere, regardless of race, religion or location. I do know the advocacy that is being carried out by vegans across the globe regardless of race, religion and location although I suspect you don’t, And I am unable to understand how my remark could be construed to imply that ‘white people are bad’. Anyone who has food, shelter and an environment that is not a war zone, all of which apply to me regardless of my race, religion or ethnicity, is, in my view relatively privileged. I trust that clarifies the phrase.


  2. proudwomon says:

    thank you for this post…. our indoctrination is so encompassing and our language is so pervasive that we do ‘fall back’ on the terminology that we have grown up with… it’s scary that we all fall back on our ‘human privilege’ and what we have grown up with…language is a powerful tool, and we all need to learn the language that encompasses us all… thank you for your brilliant insights and wonderful posts, and making us aware!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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