[responsivevoice_button voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Read out this Theel for me”]
Maya, a year-old calf, looked out of the moving vehicle. She could feel the cool breeze on her face. It felt different from the farm. The vehicle came to a sudden stop. A human came to open the cage she was kept in. She jumped out of the vehicle and saw other cows. She ran towards them expectantly but as she got closer she realized how unenthusiastic the cows were. Maya witnessed a calf being dragged away from a cow nearby, as the mother’s bellowed cries echoed, Maya remembered the day she was separated from her mother. Maya wanted to go back to her farm, back to the safety of her mother. But the man behind her took out a stick and beat her to steer her forward. With a heavy heart and tearful eyes, Maya entered a confinement area knowing her life would be the same cycle of slaughter, violence and pain.
The term “Vegan” is sparsely being used throughout the globe and we all have different perceptions. Few judge the term without a second thought, few look it up and think it might be too radical, few think it’s the right thing to do. Let me tell you this- if you read the tale above and your heart ached for Maya, you’re already vegan at heart. Simply put, it is caring towards animals and knowing that their feelings are just as valid as any other living being. But there is much more depth to that brief definition. Veganism means restraining from causing other species pain just for the sake of our pleasure. It entails refraining from any products that come from animals.
The adverts show happy cows grazing on a farm, or a family sitting together for a BBQ of grilled meat. “But the animals are all happy, right? Aren’t they humanely killed?” How can an animal be humanely killed when the meaning of humane translates to “compassion”, “benevolent”? There is no humane way to “kill” a living being that doesn’t want to die, however hard we try to justify it. No human can stomach the realities of what happens to those animals in the process of turning into food. Of course, beef and meat industries would shut down if they show how workers slit the throats of the animals or shoot them in the head, skin them, cut and roast them to get it to our plates. Every dairy industry would close if people saw the agony of a mother’s cry after her calf gets separated from her while they milk her dry.
Unfortunately, there are more ways we are destroying our world that is interlinked to veganism. One of the primary causes of global warming is due to livestock production. Deforestation, water usage, species extinction and climate change – all these are more real than ever. We are on the brink of destruction. We need to take action; unless we want to see our habitat destroyed beyond recognition, at least for the sake of future generations, if not for us. If we reduce our consumption, the production would slowly dwindle. Being Vegan is just as important as recycling, reducing power consumption, etc., in fact, it is necessary. The UN declared processed meat a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. We are risking ourselves to diabetes, strokes, obesity, heart attacks, etc by consuming these products. There are alternatives to meat and dairy and we know we can live without dead animals on our plates. Why roast/bake/grill some part of a dead animal, consume it and complain about diseases? Peaks of irony.
“But I’m a vegetarian. This wouldn’t apply to me.”
The dairy industry is a part and parcel of pain, suffering and heartbreak of animals. The cows in the dairy industry are forcefully impregnated and artificially inseminated for the production of milk. Their calves are taken away from them and female cows are raised again in the same cycle of brutality – forceful impregnation, the pain of seeing their newborns being taken away and finally slaughter. The male calves are either sold to the beef industry, slaughtered or kept for breeding. Sometimes, the cows who have outlived their use and are unable to produce milk are sent to the beef industry as well. What I’ve described is just one industry. You can probably imagine what happens in the meat and fishing industries- slitting animals’ throats and skinning them for meat, beef or other products. This is why being a vegetarian is not enough.
Do your research
Making ourselves aware of what’s happening is the first step towards any form of activism. And it’s the same with Veganism. Let’s never blindly trust any source without proof. The entire World Wide Web is within our reach to research articles, read journals/papers, watch documentaries like Cowspiracy, Earthlings, What the health etc. But even after all that, trying to be a vegan does not come easy. There are questions like – “Why this sudden change?”, “What about the nutrients you’re supposed to get?”, “Plants also feel pain! Maybe you should do some research before you preach your vegan ways.”, “Stop forcing your views on me.” Here is a sneak-peek to answer a few of those questions-
- “The sudden change is because of the realization that I’m the reason other species are dying- for my sensory pleasure. A meal for me means life for them. How can I say I’m an animal lover while I pet one, and eat another?”
- “Plant-based diets are healthy because I can get the proteins, nutrients and other supplements that my body needs from beans, pulses, soya, linseed, etc. There are a variety of alternatives that would make my food, even more, healthier and tastier without ever having to consume animal products.”
- “Plants don’t have a central nervous system or pain receptors, so they are incapable of feeling pain.”
- “No person can “force” their views on you. I can only make you aware of the consequences, I cannot make you stop.”
Let’s take a stand!
As important as being a Vegan, it’s equally important to advocate for it. There are several ways for us to be a voice for the pain and suffering of the voiceless – animal rights protests, rallies, street interviews with people, “change my mind” sessions, talking to friends and family, anonymous for the voiceless, participating in animal save movement of your region and many more. But before all this, the first thing every vegan advocate must remember is- be kind. Be empathetic. Be understanding. Change is near, do not be impatient. Confusion and fear are our basic instincts when faced with something new. Help people understand violence and pain these animals are facing because of us. Give them the facts and reasoning behind those facts, they’ll come around. Remember that we were once non-vegans too. Every non-vegan is a potential vegan and we are one step closer to a cruel-free world.
Change is necessary, now more than ever. We have to constantly question ourselves and reflect on the choices we make. The question now is – “We are choosing to hurt animals. Why are we eating animals, when we know it causes them pain? Why are we eating animals, when there are other better alternatives? Why are we eating animals, when we can stop?”. It is up to us to decide whether we are going to make wiser choices and be better informed for the sake of our future or continue to live in an illusion throughout our lives.
Do we want to be remembered by the future generations as a darkened era of cruelty that inflicted pain and has caused mass species extinction of flora and fauna or do we want to be remembered as an era who advocated for a better, non-violent, peaceful world where all species lived in harmony?
Image Credit: BrandNewVegan