Why should you go vegan? The list is endless. For your health, for the animals, for the earth… take your pick.
While the health benefits are nice, I ultimately chose to be vegan because I awoke to the absolutely horrific suffering that billions of animals endure every year at the hands of humans.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mohandas Gandhi
I’ve always been an animal lover, always had at least one cat and could never turn away from the pathetic eyes of a stray animal. Only recently did I realize it was ridiculous not to extend the same feelings of compassion and love for ALL animals, not just the ones we deem “pets.” How could I vow to do anything for my cats, and at the same time disregard the lives of chickens, pigs, and cows on a daily basis? Talk about cognitive dissonance.
“Recognize meat for what it really is: the antibiotic and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.”
- Ingrid Newkirk
Once I made the mental connection that the chicken sandwich I was eating used to be a living, breathing, feeling creature, I could no longer continue to support that. Who am I to demand that an animal lose its life so that I can have a cheap dinner?
For me the catalyst was a brochure handed to me by a Mercy For Animals volunteer at a Gallery Hop one weekend. I read the whole thing, looked at all the photos, and promptly threw up. I had NO idea that animals were being treated like that. Zero. None. I just never thought about it before. I gave up meat right then and there. At the time, however, I was making minimum wage and quickly fell under the impression that being a vegetarian was expensive. (It can be, if you lack basic cooking skills and are dependent on pre-packaged meals as I was back then.) I pushed the horrible pictures to the recesses of my mind and fell back into my low-quality meat-eating ways after a short time. But the thought was always there, a moral weight on my shoulders. I knew I had to acknowledge this reality eventually, and then one day it clicked.
Shortly before Thanksgiving I was out at a restaurant with a friend and I ordered a chicken sandwich. As I was eating it, the connection finalized itself, and I couldn’t finish it. My brain finally gave in to my conscience and said “this is not food, this is the flesh of a dead animal.” That was the last bite of animal I ever took. And so began my journey.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
- Albert Einstein
Unfortunately, just like my political journey, the rabbit hole of vegan awareness goes just as deep. You think you know how bad factory farms are (and the all-around usage of animals in every day life), but you have no idea how hellish it really is. I thought I just had to give up meat, I didn’t realize cheese, milk, ice cream, and eggs were all steeped in torture as well, organic or not. It took me a few years to get over my selfish desire for these things, but now I’ve come to know a life free from animal products of every kind. I go to bed at night knowing I’ve lived another day without hurting or taking the life of another living being, and that feeling is more powerful than any ice cream craving.
Now I can’t go a single day without replaying the horrible video clips and photos I’ve seen. I feel the pain of these animals in the very core of my heart, and will do whatever I can to ease and ultimately eliminate their suffering.
“Let him not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all, nor sanction the acts of those who do so. Let him refrain from even hurting any creature, both those that are strong and those that tremble in the world.”
I highly encourage you to become better acquainted with the realities of our food (and clothing, entertainment, and scientific testing) systems and watch these videos.
Humans are so far removed from these realities, and that’s precisely the problem. Once most people see what’s really going on, I hope they will choose to stop supporting and perpetuating the hell these animals endure.
Farm to Fridge – The Truth Behind Meat Production
Forks Over Knives
Meet Your Meat
15 Reasons to Go Vegan
The last entry in this list isn’t a video, but it’s an extremely powerful graphic I have to share. Understandably, the enormous number of animals killed every year (10 BILLION killed in this country alone) is impossible to really wrap your head around. This helps get a slightly better grasp of the magnitude.