Let’s talk about how veganism ties into our daily lives and connects human history to the past, the present and the future.
First, let’s define veganism. Veganism is the act of not holding human persons higher than animal persons in terms of value. Veganism is valuing all lives equally and respecting all living beings as we would respect humans.
How then, is veganism relevant to our past and future, and in our current, daily lives? It all comes down to the (un)informed decisions we make. How we choose to live demonstrates how we give back to this planet. We can choose to plant a tree every day for the rest of our lives, or we can choose to cut down trees for the rest of our lives. While these examples may seem irrelevant, they serve as an effective metaphor in describing the nurturing nature of veganism – or the destructive nature of animal consumption.
Now here’s where things get touchy. Our violent past. The errors of our ways – and how their impacts continue to degrade, exploit and torture through a legacy that is as outdated as it is cruel.
Intense human suffering has marred human history: slavery, exploitation rape, and genocide – the list of atrocities humans have committed toward each other is seemingly endless. Yet while atrocities such as these are rightfully considered barbaric and heinous in modern human consciousness, they are still committed. Only now, animals are the victims.
We do not use these terms (slavery, genocide, etc.) lightly – nor to offend, or to degrade or devalue the suffering of humans. We use these terms to linguistically raise animals to equal stance with humans –where they belong.
We must begin by looking at slavery. Slavery started in early colonial days (1600’s), and it continued for several centuries (and persists even now in certain parts of the world). Slavery was and is one of the most horrific acts humans can commit. So why do we continue? When and why did we decide slavery is fine as long the victims are non-human animals? Animals are the modern day slaves – tortured, murdered and used in every way possible.
Similarly, let’s talk about an apparent atrocity of WWII and the Holocaust. It remains a hotly contested topic, but sources confirm that the making of soap from “human substances” did occur during the Holocaust. In the present day, “animal substances” are found everywhere – from in soap and food to the clothes we wear on our back. And yet the “sane” among us deny any wrongdoing.
“It’s different because they’re animals.”
“I didn’t kill the animal, I’m only eating it.”
“It would’ve been killed anyway.”
“I am not directly responsible.”
These are the kinds of arguments carnists often use. Excuses like these, of course, are idiocy, irrationality and ignorance all at once. Those who do not opt out of animal abuse are opting into animal cruelty. Eating, wearing or using animal products fuels the animal holocaust – and draws on the barbaric and unjust legacy of human history’s violent past by ignoring the rights and feelings of all who are sentient.
We as a society possess certain knowledge from the past, and certain knowledge about what could possibly happen in the future, and yet we let this heinous cruelty and environmental destruction continue. We know animal agriculture is causing intense environmental degradation as well as animal suffering on an unimaginable scale.
We know veganism regards the rights of all living creatures and has a minimal-impact affect on the environment. We know veganism is by far the only way of life that can guarantee us a peaceful future with a planet that is still habitable.
Now we must fight for all humans to act on this knowledge.
– MINA GHABRAI