The only viewpoint here I can give is my own. I have never eaten a lot of meat. I thought it was disgusting because of what it was. At the start of 2015 I told everyone that I had become a vegetarian. A couple of people asked me why and that was that. A year later I told everyone that I had become a vegan. 9 months on and people are still asking me questions. They get more and more ridiculous over time.
So, what changed for me? Becoming a vegan was not an easy decision. I wanted to give it a go and not tell anyone. So the first time I did and I failed. I had hardly anything to eat. The second time I found so much I could eat and am still continuing to do so. I also had a lot more knowledge on the way animals were treated. I will never go back to eating animal products ever again.
As a vegetarian, I did not want to consume meat. To me, meat isn’t something you just eat. You’ve paid someone to raise, confine, kill and package a dead being. Equality is rooted deep in my core. To align my values with my actions, I had to stop eating it. The fat and gristle I was continuously repulsed with was just a reminder of where the product came from. At that time, I didn’t feel strongly about what others did. They all have different beliefs, or so I thought. Ultimately, I do believe (or hope) that most people do strive for equality and are against animal cruelty but eat meat for convenience, tradition and social reasons. Oh, and don’t forget those who make jokes about how good bacon tastes.
As a vegan, I do not want to consume any animals products and I am completely against any kind of animal cruelty and exploitation. I never did but it took people showing me how wrong it was, for me to realise what I was doing. I also realised that dairy cows live two decades less than they should as they are sent off for slaughter and their young are slaughtered a few days old or have the same fate as their mothers. Also that thousands of day old chicks get killed for being male. So as a vegetarian I was still paying for animals to die. As a vegetarian I didn’t know that in order for a cow to produce milk, it has to be pregnant. So they are inseminated. I truly believed they just kept producing milk and had to be milked. Yeah, dumb I know but many still do believe this. So when you hear farmers saying that the cows get milked willingly, it’s because that producing all that milk (by the way the cows were bred by humans to produce way more milk than their calf needs) and it’s uncomfortable and they want it out of them. Like when we need to urinate, we use a bathroom.
As a vegan, I think that animals are deserving of freedom and equality, just as humans are. However, we all know that the human race is far from equality and free from suffering but it’s something we are striving for. That’s why I am also striving for a world where no animals are made to suffer at the hands of a human. That’s why as a vegan, I don’t just want the animals that I could have potentially eaten to not be eaten. I don’t want anyone to eat them.
As humans, we have the power to protect all creatures. We can help them live comfortable, happy, free and the way they would want to live. They don’t want to be used, as much as we don’t want to be used. They don’t want to be killed, just as we don’t want to be killed. It’s not humane. We should treat others as we would want to be treated.
Yet people think it’s extreme to care so deeply and it’s normal to be selfish and go with the crowd. Some think it’s laughable and cute to have taken an interest in animal welfare. As a vegetarian I was left alone but as a vegan I am not. I try to look at it positively though. If people are talking about it and asking me questions, I can try to normalise it. I can try to show them that it’s the right thing to do. I can try to get them to make more compassionate decisions.
If you are interested in hearing more. I highly recommend the Youtube Channel Bite Size Vegan. Her videos are absolutely amazing at explaining veganism. I recommend the following video. It includes a story about a cow who hid her calf in the grass because the farmers kept taking her calves away and how farmers trick people into thinking that the meat and dairy industries to be anything but cruel.
Thank you for reading.