I Believe in Veganism

Sarah - Clinton Township, Michigan
Entered on October 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I Believe in Veganism

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

– Thomas Edison

In the third grade, one of our projects was to hatch and raise a chick. We were each given an egg, and soon enough you could see the awkward yet somehow beautiful little birds emerge from each shell. Mine was named Fuzzy, and each time I held and felt the beat of his diminutive heart in my palm, I fell more in love with him. After some much too short weeks, it was time to give the chicks back to the farm that had supplied us with them. I knew the day was coming, but still the day they should’ve gone back, I threw a fit. A big fit. I was absolutely convinced that Fuzzy was going to be transformed from my baby chick into a chicken nugget for someone’s Happy Meal. The thought ripped my heart from the seams. Even then I had a strong understanding of the meaning of the value of life, even in the most insignificant form.

The fact is people exploit animals everyday. We slaughter billions each year, use their dead skins for contemptible fashion, while the rest are battered for our entertainment. Yet still to this day, every one of us is subjected to the same essence, the essence of life. This essence keeps limbs in motion, delivers the strength to live for a new tomorrow. In this, we are all alike. Humans seem to play the role of God frequently. We can easily create life just as easily as we can destroy it. We are the illustration of

pinpointed organization, monitoring the importance each being possesses. The question is, how do you measure a life?

Every living being on this planet can sense and express emotion. People often over look animals’ suffering because an animal simply can’t stand up for itself. They can’t talk or have the ability of rights to defend itself from their inevitable death. Nevertheless, an infant can’t do any of these things either, but to ever harm or kill a child is seen as grotesque and intolerable by all means in our society. When a calf’s throat is slit with a blade so dull that it takes five minutes for it to die, does it not feel the force of the knife? When man’s best friend is blinded for the need of a new hairspray, does it feel the anguish to a life of not being able to see? However inferior they are, it doesn’t change how the world is endured.

Being vegan is more than just giving up meat and dairy. It’s recognizing how each life is valuable and the impact a person can make by going against society to say the way we treat animals is neither humane or moral. Informative resources on the meat industry have grown, and as they reach more people, the popularity of vegetarianism has also grown. To see firsthand a cow being slaughtered or a chicken scalded alive is not something many people can stomach, and something millions of vegetarians/vegans go against every day. America is a country of confined luxury. We are ignorant in which we hardly know what the current events are in the world, much less where the fur coat we bought or burger on our plates came from. As a vegan, I not only know where my meals come from, but I acknowledge the lives that were sacrificed for the billions of pounds of meat we consume each year as a country. I don’t believe I love animals anymore than

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someone who consumes meat, but I would say I am more responsible and educated than someone who still believes their dinners come from happy little farms in the countryside. In slaughterhouses, animals are treated like parts on an assembly line, unfinished and therefore unimportant. Pain is apart of life, and no one is exempt from it.

There are many arguments and concerns siding with the vegan lifestyle. Why would God put animals on earth if we weren’t to kill and eat them? How does a vegan get enough protein, let alone nutrition? Isn’t being vegan unhealthy? First off, whether or not you believe in God, animals have much more importance to the world than most people realize. Each ecosystem is dependent on animals to keep equilibrium and to flourish. Almost every available food source to man depends upon food chains, and if we were merely to kill all these animals, these food chains would also diminish. Animals should be treated with respect and compassion, because they do matter and it’s unnatural in so many ways the way we breed and destroy these creatures. As far as nutrition and protein, protein is readily available an array of items including soy, tofu, nuts, grains, and some vegetables. With a varied diet, protein and nutrition deficiencies are extremely rare, and the health benefits of a vegan diet are nearly endless. A vegan’s life is elongated by seven years and many people feel as though a “weight they did not know was there” was lifted and replaced with an abundance of energy. Science has proved miracles with a cruelty-free diet; it all depends on how open-minded one is.

To think of the amount of suffering that animals endure each day is not easily comprehended. Many will turn their backs on it because it is too upsetting to think about their contribution to slaughter every time they eat a piece of meat, or buy a leather

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handbag. They will try to forget, because to acknowledge the soul that gave its life for their food is disconcerting and vile. Every year, eight billion animals are slaughtered alone for their flesh, and this is just in the United States alone. And no matter how many times you turn your back on it, it’s still happening, and every time you decide to put your taste buds before your morals, you contribute to this murder. There is a lot a person can do to help cut down on this cruelty, even if they don’t want to go as radical as a no meat diet. Just skipping eating meat one day a week will equal fifty-two days of meat-free diets, thus actually saving two lives for every seven days they repent. There are bills currently being passed around the country that would help slaughterhouse conditions and provide less suffering for the animals. And buying organic meat and dairy also means the animal wasn’t painfully injected with hormones or mutilated to speed up production. Animals deserve respect, and they are an infinite amount of ways we can supply it.

Animals cannot speak. They cannot defend themselves when hanged on a hook right before slaughter. They cannot read or write or make ethical decisions. But they love. And they cry in anguish when they are struck or a loved one is slain right before their eyes. They are the beings of this earth that we must learn to share not their sovereigns, but as equals. We are on the brinks of impossible immoral justice, but every step in the other direction leads to the possibility of a hopeful tomorrow. I believe in compassion, I believe in the essence of life. I believe in Veganism.

“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”

-Leonardo da Vinci