Why I’m vegan comes down to the conflictions between my morals and actions which would be inescapable living any other way. The modern lifestyle is a lifestyle riddled with contradictions: for most of us our morals and actions conflict, and these conflictions I’m referring to are ineliminable without turning to a vegan lifestyle. We say we love animals, yet we condone them to a life full of suffering and early death. We say we’re a compassionate species, yet we exploit innocent beings for the sake of our own temporary pleasure and convenience. We say we’re smart, yet we’re so consumed by our own palate pleasure to realise our diet norms are killing us and our planet.
I always deemed myself an animal lover, but there was always this lingering guilt prior to being vegan eating away at me. The truth is my actions didn’t align with my morals and this inconsistency meant I wasn’t truly myself. Like so many others I tried to justify my actions with the usual excuses of ‘necessity’ and the oh-so-common vindication of tradition, but that’s all they were, excuses. Deep down something felt problematic about this so-called ‘necessity’; admittedly I did, like so many others, use these excuses to try and fend off any vegan arguments and justify my unethical choices. In reality, I was only trying to convince myself so that change would be unnecessary – the facts were not on my side however and the culpability became something I could no longer ignore.
This discord between my morals and actions is the reason I became vegan: the ethical underpinnings of veganism are the foundation to my entire belief system. If you are opposed to exploitation of/violence towards beings without necessity, then you too are vegan at heart. The reality is whether it be through our food, cosmetic or any other choices involving animals, we are supporting atrocities (a lot of the time unknowingly). We are condoning the enslavement, suffering, exploitation, rape and murder of animals. These innocent beings that have done nothing besides find themselves as a gateway to satisfying our often needless but endless desires. We may not be carrying out these inflictions ourselves, but our money is paying people to do so – without such demand it wouldn’t occur so really, what is the difference?
Originally I intended to go ‘vegan’ as much as possible, but remain vegetarian in situations where veganism wouldn’t be ‘convenient’ i.e. when I was eating out. But once I made all the connections that was impossible – it was all or nothing. This meant not only being compassionate with my food choices, but I needed to extend this compassion to all areas of my life: cosmetics, clothing, attractions, etc… Afterall, veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet: cutting out one form of harm does not erase the others. What value can we really give our convenience when it is weighted against the lives of other beings? Beings that want to live, that have as much right to be here as we do, and as much right to be free from oppression. Yes we may have more intelligence, but what good is that intelligence if we use it to abuse?
The beautiful thing about veganism is we can enjoy all the same things as before, but without harming animals, ourselves and massively reducing our impact on the environment: there are always alternatives. We gain a much clearer conscience. Doing good feels good in and of itself, but even better when your body is physically rewarded too. This lifestyle allows you to eat a diet optimal for your health – provided it’s done properly of course and we avoid the temptations to live off vegan junk food (difficult admittedly…) If causing all this pain and suffering through our consumption is unnecessary, then what real justification do we have?
I think the reason I’m so impassioned when it comes to this lifestyle is because its whole basis is protecting the most voiceless beings on this planet; I feel a duty to protect these creatures who can’t stand up for themselves in any way I can. It breaks me to know how much pain we’re capable of causing – that even I’ve contributed to in the past. I will strive to reduce as much of this suffering as I can, hence the reason I became vegan.