Hey, so I thought I’d discuss a bit about why I’m a vegan.
Though I have been off and on for awhile, this is my longest and most deeply rooted commitment I have had to veganism.
I admit that sometimes it is hard to stay a vegan when most of your friends and people you seek support from are not. It was especially hard being in romantic relationships with vegan unfriendly people. It’s hard trying to maintain friends, or make new ones, and when they invite you somewhere to eat, having to decline or not eat with them because the place they chose has no vegan dishes on the menu.
When I made myself committed to staying vegan this time around, the first thing I had to conquer was this very problem. I decided to meet with a nutritionist, because I was choosing this not just for moral reasons, but because I feel this is the healthiest route as well, and needed to learn ways of being healthiest with it, to make sure I was doing it well. I found out that a nutritionist I was recommended was vegetarian, and was eager to see her. She was very helpful.
The first rule I learned about being a vegan with a broad social life, is to not bring up the topic that I’m a vegan unless absolutely necessary or if I am asked about it.
It was kind of hard to do, but made sense. It is especially helpful in work situations. Now, most of my friends know I am a vegan, and I try to only have friends that are supportive of my lifestyle. So I feel like I can talk about my food more, but I never get into the moral and health benefits/reasons behind my life choice of veganism, because it often makes people feel like I think I’m a better person than they are because I’m a vegan, unless they’re willing and open to discussing these reasons with me.
I don’t think I’m a better person for this choice, instead, I think that, knowing what I know, and having the beliefs I have, this is the best choice for me and the best thing I can do in terms of helping people, animals, the environment, and my health. I know the statistics, horror and torture animals go through to be food, the unhealthy factors of eating meat, milk products, etc, the impact meat based diets have on the environment and the issue of worldwide hunger and poverty, and a wealth of other things I know surrounding the issue of meat and animal byproduct consumption, and if I DID NOT become a vegan, I would feel like a bad person, immoral, etc. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t carry it on to how I feel about you as a person. Of course I’d be thrilled if you were a vegan, but I understand people have different beliefs, ideas, and have the right to those and their own choices.
The fact of the matter is, that most people, for a variety of different reasons, may choose to ignore, not research, all the issues surrounding their meat eating habit. I keep wanting to type that it’s their choice to eat meat, but in reality, they were most likely not given a choice, nor educated to any alternatives, at all, or not until it was too late for it to be a big struggle for them to give up their food addiction to meat, and animal byproducts.
I keep thinking of the argument that some people have, that we are meant to eat meat, because we are animals, and animals hunt other animals, especially when that animal is higher up on the food chain. Well, yes, but, seeing as we are the highest link on the food chain, and the most intelligent animals as far as we know, we are smart enough to develop and research that we can be completely independent of the need to consume animals and remain perfectly healthy. Yet, for whatever reason, and for reasons I’m not going to really address, we do not.
I believe we are indeed the most intelligent animal, and thus, we have an obligation, as that most intelligent animal, to find ways to stop suffering on this earth amongst our fellow animals.
To say that many animals do not have the power to care, know, suffer, feel pain, etc, is ridiculous, because, once again, we are animals, and we have the power to do all those things. Never have we determined that other animals cannot either. Sure, it’s a bit different, and they have other strengths and weaknesses depending upon the species it is we’re talking about, but this is almost a perfectly intuitive point.
As caring, thinking, feeling animals, we are lucky enough to be in this species, a species where we don’t have to worry about being eaten by bigger, more powerful other species. And as animals with the ability, we need to do the best we can do to care for others. We can use our thinking, to educate other humans and research and create delicious foods that decrease our total reliance on animal food and byproducts. As Albert Einstein roughly said, nothing will benefit the human race more than a vegetarian diet.
So, that’s the start of my moral discussion with veganism, I’m sure I’ll go back to it more, but I just wanted to get this out there. I’m sorry it was a bit rambly/ranty, but I figure getting these ideas delineated a bit and written down would be a good start and kind of release some frustrations I’ve been having lately.