I try at all times to be a vegan, one who does not use or eat animal products of any kind which includes meat, eggs, dairy, fish, leather, animal fats, or any other use of an animal or its pieces for anything. I say try, because I will admit, that sometimes it is difficult depending on where I happen to be to find a completely vegan meal. For that reason, I am forced to be a vegetarian. Is being a vegetarian necessarily bad? Sure it is. While you may argue that eggs, cheese, or milk do not cost the life of an animal in order to produce these products, it’s the living conditions, and what happens to these animals when man has determined that they have outlived their “usefulness” that’s the problem. Raising a layer chicken in a cage the size of a normal sheet of paper, or sending a spent milk cow to a factory to be ground up and spit out as some “necessary” product all in the name of wringing every last cent possible out of the animal, is just as wrong. And raising animals for the sole purpose of killing them to provide food that isn’t even necessary for a healthy life is just as wrong. (I am talking about meat here in case any of you haven’t clued in yet.)
You don’t need animal protein to be healthy. You can get the protein elsewhere in plenty of non-animal products. Like soy. And seeds and nuts. And vegetables. You have heard of those, right? And besides not needing to consume animal protein, what you need even less is the cholesterol that is found in animal flesh. You don’t need cholesterol. Trust me.
I think that somewhere in the “christian” bible, it says that “god” gave man dominion over the animals. For those of you who believe that fairy tale story in the first place, I am sure you have probably read and likely believe this. Does that mean that man therefore has, as a “god-given” right to raise and slaughter animals any way he sees fit? Some think so. I don’t. Even if there was a god, and his “word” was true, and he meant for man to do with as he please to the animals that walk this earth, I surely don’t think he/she/it would condone factory farming. Or hunting. Or any of the other stupid, fucked up things we do to animals all in the name of fulfilling our god-given “right.” Give me a break, people.
Besides my belief in animal rights (much more on this in later postings), I am also a vegan for health reasons. I can personally attest to the benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetics. The last thing I need is to live off the flesh of fellow beings. And I mean animal beings, not human beings. It has been proven to me in many, many ways that a plant-based lifestyle is much healthier for a person, regardless of their health status, than any kind of diet that includes animal flesh, fat, and cholesterol. Many people much smarter than I will ever be, have written eloquently about the importance of veganism including Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell, John Robbins, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and Eric Marcus. If you are feeling lucky, do a Google search for “veganism.” Then be prepared to spend the next week just trying to read through all of the available resources.
Does all of this mean that I think animals have the same basic rights as humans? Maybe. We, meaning us and the animals together, all have a right to live a happy life. We all deserve the freedom of breathing clean air and having access to food and water. We all have needs and desires and the want of a healthy, happy family. No, animals can’t communicate with us the same way we do with others. No, animals probably don’t have the same emotional needs as humans do. BUT, animals DO have emotions. They DO communicate in a language we don’t fully understand. They DO deserve to live free and happy lives, as is their destiny. They DO have a right to peacefully co-exist with humans.
Truly, if it came right down to it, and I had to make a choice between feeding my child (of which I have none) and feeding my cat (of which I have three), the child would win. But does that mean, even for a second, that I think the cat doesn’t deserve to eat? Or is any less of a being? No. But I treat my pets as my friends, as children, and as my companions here on earth. And I treat them just as I would a human child. Why? Well let me turn that around and ask you. Who says they deserve any less respect and care? Who are you to decide who deserves what when it comes to food, water, compassion, and basic care? (Much more on this later.)
What’s the bottom line? Just because we are superior to animals in many ways, we DO NOT have the right to treat them as anything less than a living, breathing, deserving being. We don’t have the god-given right to mistreat them. We don’t have the right to raise them up, kill them, and then eat them and use what’s left over to clothe our bodies and fill our wallets. As a matter of fact, our only “right” is to treat animals as equal inhabitants of this planet. Deal with it.
Have I written anything here that will shatter the earth, or that is so brand new that it hasn’t ever been said or written before? No. I am just a typical (sometimes angry) American. I know and could spell out all of the scientific information available about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, about why it’s wrong to kill animals. But do I really need to do that? You know in your heart of hearts, (assuming you have one), that I am right. I am just a typical, well-educated human being and I don’t really need to know all of the scientific minutiae of veganism and animal emotions and rights. All I really need to know is what’s right. According to me not according to what some ancient fable says. And being a vegan is right for me. And it is right for you too. If you are too screwed up to see the benefits, or if you need hard. cold, scientific facts before you can believe it, that’s your prerogative.
And by the way, if you think I am passionate about all of this, you ain’t seen nothing yet. “Just you wait ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait.”