Friday, January 14, 2011

Veganism: An Evolution of the Heart (or, What I'm Learning About My Food)

This is going to sound like a hippie's rant, but I swear I do not own a tie-die shirt. I am not a member of PETA either. I am simply a concerned human being...

The more research I do, the more I realize that veganism not only makes sense from a health perspective, but it has the potential to be, if well-planned and intelligently put into practice, a solid ethical system and a more peaceful way of life.

Initially, my reasons for going vegan were totally selfish in nature. They were based on the fact that veganism can promote optimal health in a way that eating meat and animal-derived food products cannot. That is not necessarily the best reason to become a vegan, although it is certainly a step in the right direction.

A good reason to become vegan is that you want to be a caring, peaceful person - someone who refuses to participate in a system that enslaves (yes, enslaves), abuses, exploits, and slaughters millions of helpless animals every year for food and clothing. Talk about a holocaust... there is a holocaust occurring right now, this very minute, in every slaughterhouse.

Why do people think that slavery is a concept that applies only to humans? Why do people think that humans have the right to exploit and kill animals simply because they are of a different species? Ever heard the term speciesism? Speciesism is discrimination in favor of one species over another. It is a belief of humans that all other species of animals are inferior and may therefore be used for human benefit without regard to the suffering inflicted.

It is no secret what goes on in slaughterhouses. But, people don't like to think about that kind of stuff. They don't want to spoil their dinners. But, it is a reality. There is no denying the abuse and torture that goes on in these places. Watch the following videos and ask yourself if this is humane:

I do not believe these are isolated incidents. Not for one second do I believe that. I believe that all the animals in slaughterhouses and dairy farms are frightened and abused. They are in pain. And I refuse to be part of a system that practices that kind of behavior.

There are many reasons to go vegan. I can go on and on about how veganism is indeed the healthier lifestyle and can promote optimal health, reducing the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic illnesses, etc. I can debate about the evolutionary history of humans and whether or not we evolved to eat meat at all. But, in the end, it all comes down to personal choice. The best argument for going vegan is because you want to be a good person.

This is not the Stone Age. We are not cave men, and therefore, we need to stop acting like cave men. We have the science, technology, and resources to not have to rely on slaughtering animals for food and clothing. We even have the ability to make food that is vegan but that is practically indistinguishable in taste and texture from meat products! So why wouldn't we choose to do go vegan? Ignorance? How long can you feign ignorance? Laziness? What is the excuse?

It seems to me it is the only ethical thing to do.

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