I always have a few ideas floating around in my head at any given time, ideas about tolerance, love, power, cruelty, disconnectedness and how these all relate to and often fuel our treatment (mistreatment) of other species for our wants, not needs. Of course this way of thinking and seeing the world is new to me because for most of my life, I have been an uninformed, willing consumer of other beings. And even after my daughter started speaking to me about veganism and even after I became what I thought was vegan, I would tell people that I was doing it because of the barbaric treatment of our fellow mortals in factory farm settings. Little did I know that this was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.
I am thankful to my daughter for pointing out to me that veganism is about not exploiting in any way, wherever possible, other sentient beings on this earth. So factory farming is not the culprit, but rather the fact that we even have and support industries that use other beings for profit. Using pigs for hotdogs, foxes for fur, orcas for entertainment, mice for experimentation, sheep for wool, silkworms for silk, bees for honey……is not cool or acceptable on any level.
Once I understood, accepted, and knew this to be an absolute truth for me, I would sit and ponder what my answer should be when people ask me why I am vegan. I tried several out, first on myself and then with trepidation, on others. Why the trepidation?…certainly not because of my conversation companion’s possible response. No, it was, and still is, so important to me that my delivery be good given the seriousness of the situation, given what is at stake. I did not want to hesitate, to stumble, to sound uncertain or rehearsed. And let’s be honest, even though I believe strongly in the strength of my position as a vegan, going against the grain, shaking up the status quo and questioning mainstream beliefs, habits and traditions can be scary. I liken it to standing up to Goliath, which, by the way, I have done more than once in my life. It was scary every time, but that did not stop me from facing off with a seemingly gigantic and immoveable force. Looking back, I see that I did not always do it well, did not always have the right words which were often delivered in a quaking or combative voice with turncoat tears spilling out of my eyes and streaming down my face, very often further enraging my opponent.
In the end, I did not end up stopping the giant, only death did that. But, I like to think that I stood in his way, that I hampered his cause, that I protected his victims in some small way. If I were to sit and evaluate how these experiences made me who I am today, I would need to have intimate knowledge of who I was when I started out in this life, on this earth. Sadly I no longer have anyone of whom to ask this question. I will say that I do feel more comfortable putting my thoughts down on paper than I do expressing them in a one on one conversation. I feel that I stumble over my words, don’t use the correct words and don’t get the gist of my meaning across in a clear, concise way.
That is why I love the opportunity this website has given me to formulate and unscramble my thoughts, to strengthen my intestinal fortitude, to expand my knowledge of both veganism and the plight of species on this earth who are caught in the deadly grip of our greed, to connect with other advocates, to put my heart down on paper and hopefully to inspire others to choose kindness and compassion over cruelty and disconnectedness.
So, when people ask me why I am vegan, I say to them,
I no longer want to be complicit in the exploitation of other beings for our wants not needs.
I am sure that I will tweak this over time or maybe even change it entirely, but any new response will certainly reflect the view that while the cruel treatment of other beings in all of our various death for profit industries is unconscionable and needs to be addressed, that we are using them and exploiting them at all is what must, at all costs, be stopped. When one goes away so does the other.
So, it just came to me as I was tapping away at the keyboard that I would like to ask how you answer the all too familiar question,
Why are you vegan?
Or, if you are not vegan, just give me your thoughts on the subject of this post.
I invite everyone to answer on my website in the comment section of this post. On July 23rd 2015, I will draw at random two names, one from the list of people who have already subscribed to my website and one from the list of anyone else from who submits an answer. The winners will each win a copy of Dr Will Tuttle’s amazing book, “The World Peace Diet’ or a DVD of the must see documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine,
depending on your preference. I am so looking forward to reading your considered and heartfelt answers.
Annie’s Vegan View
“Heavens and hells are of our own sowing. We live in a culture that mindlessly exploits animals and encourages the domination of those who are vulnerable by the strong, the male, the wealthy, and the privileged. Dr Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet page 277
“With the exception of our companion animals and the wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily only as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them. This moral dilemma is largely hidden from our view.” The Ghosts in Our Machine website.
May all beings be happy and free.