I have had quite a few people ask me lately why I am vegan, or why I have “gone so far” as to be vegan, or why I can’t just be a vegetarian. I read a book that perfectly sums up the response I’d love to give, but am not eloquent enough with which to respond.
*Some sensitive language below:
“A great many vegetarians are concerned chiefly with their health and are prepared for animals to be killed to produce leather, cheese, margarine, etc., so as long as they do not actually eat the carcass. In our opinion, it matters not one jot to the innocent creature whether it is to be slaughtered for human food, medicine, clothing, sport, or such luxuries as ivory ornaments, horn, bone or tortoiseshell knick-knacks, crocodile handbags, or exotic perfume. Sudden death in the prime of life, or the lingering agony of pain and starvation in a steel trap, must be as terrifying for the field-mouse, stoat or rabbit as for the hunted tiger, whale or stag. What at first may appear to be a quick death for one creature often means a slow starvation for her young ones as well. Sometimes it is the baby, or rather its skin, which is coveted by man. What the parent seal feels as she grieves over the bloody remains of her clubbed and quickly skinned pup, is probably no different from the anguish of the domestic cow on losing her newly-born calf. Anyone living near a farm or slaughterhouse has learned the pitiful cries of both mother and calf….of all the “food animals” the cow suffers far more than beef cattle. For the whole of her life, this soft-eyed, docile animal is regarded simply as a milk machine. She is kept going with drugs and “steamed up” with hormones, injected with antibiotics, and still has to suffer the horrors of the slaughterhouse when she has at last become unprofitable.”
Ahimsa is Sanskrit for non-killing, non-injuring, non-harming; defined in modern life as Dynamic Harmlessness. There are so many cruelties that happen everyday that so many are ignorant to, not necessarily due to their indifference, but rather to the lack of education on where our products come from and how they are made.
Why am I vegan and not vegetarian? I do not want to contribute to suffering. I do not want to condone indifference. I want to promote love. I want to help educate. I want to be healthy. I could go on… But ultimately, it breaks my heart to walk through the grocery store seeing how much animal cruelty lies in each aisle, and further, how normal is it for us to not even realize it. When there are so many other delicious alternatives to animal products, there is no need for me contribute to the cruelty. I understand some see me as odd, extreme, a burden at dinner parties or what have you, but this is me, trying to do what I think is right.