If you have a choice, do no harm
If you have a choice, do no harm.
That would be the shortest and simplest possible explanation of why I am vegan. I see no reason for anyone to suffer for me if there is a way to avoid it. Today, many people search for excuses for their various decisions, whether they be big, important ones or small and unnoticeable. Those that make up our everyday lives such as the act of buying, an action that in most cases we do not think about, draws back the whole system of values. The act of buying is a political act. The act of buying is a social act. An ethical act. As long as we decide not to think and worry about it, someone else is paying the price. Some with their lives, some with pain and some with a lifetime of suffering.
To be honest, up until a year or two ago I hadn't been thinking about it. I stopped eating meat somewhere between primary and secondary school. It wasn't a calculated decision which was backed up by important ethical principles, concern for better health or ecological principles. These are all additional arguments and positive effects I learned about much later. My reason was somehow biological. When you grow up surrounded by animals, it doesn't take much to realize that fried chicken drumsticks that are served to you for Sunday lunch are actually someone's legs. Or if for lunch someone tries to serve you a rabbit that was being fed in your garden up until then.
So, little by little, I stopped eating meat in various forms for I was repulsed by it. Last but not least, I was coaxed by my mother to eat chicken soup by stating it was edible if pieces of meat were removed from it. My long process of reducing my meat intake may have resulted in her confusion, but it had its benefits. For example, I was completely free from common parental fears and misconceptions how their children will "die" from lack of protein, iron or whatever (as if they usually worry on a regular basis about the necessary consumption of vitamins A, B, C, D, and other nutrients and vitamins of the alphabet). Actually, in time my whole family started eating less meat, however, only I became a vegetarian.
No one followed me in veganism either, but this time it was a change that was much more thought out from my side. Vegetarians choose not to eat meat, mostly on ethical grounds, but they do not necessarily exclude other foods of animal origin. Vegans, however, clearly and consciously through their actions decide not to exploit animals in any way, whether it is food, clothing, cosmetics or any other aspect. I spent a long time not thinking too much about my decision not to eat meat; it was just a small part of my life. I somehow thought I was already "helping" enough just by knowing veganism existed, as if any further steps would be too complicated.
However, step by step, it became obvious that it would be hypocritical of me to continue with the current lifestyle because it had become very clear to me how it causes suffering to other beings. If I eat only a "little bit" of animal products or wear leather shoes only “a little bit" etc., that little bit doesn't mean a thing to those animals because they are still experiencing unnecessary evil. That was it. My excuse means nothing to them.
Misconceptions about the difficulties of being vegan dissapeared quickly. As with everything, just a little adjustment and information was necessary. In fact, I see veganism more as a fun adventure. By not purchasing products of animal origin, I don't support the exploitation of animals and by doing so I have found many new products that, until recently, I hadn't noticed, nor had I known they existed.
If someone thinks that vegans eat only salads, I will have to disappoint them. Being vegan, unfortunately or fortunately, does not mean that you will have to give up the occasional consumption of junk food. Sometimes it's an accidental discovery and sometimes a treasure hunt, but each time that purchase is far more interesting than taking the first thing that your hand can reach on the shelf. On the other hand, no matter how much fun it is trying out vegan cheeses on pizzas or having competitions for the best ice cream, in the end, none of these pleasures can be measured by the fact that for each purchase and decision I make, at least one animal doesn't get hurt.
So think about it...would you hit a stranger for no reason? Would you kick a dog on the street even if no one was watching? If you could, would you strangle and kill an animal with your bare hands? Would you pay someone to abuse another living being for you?
Do not kill. Do no harm. Do not support it by purchasing meat or products of animal origin or by any other action. Your one decision costs many lives.