When you go vegan, you’ll often find yourself wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. I was no different and I spent a long time asking myself why I went vegan when I did. This is the conclusion I’ve come to.
I went vegan about a year and a half after becoming heavily involved in dog rescue. Weird connection, right? I mean, I hadn’t been eating dogs so why did going vegan coincide with my new passion for pooches?
Man’s dominion over animals
This is what I’ve put it down to. I had always had animals in my life, but I grew up in the developed world, where animals in need were never seen. There were no strays roaming the streets, no dogs hit by cars lying on the sides of roads. My exposure to animals in need went from 0-100mph over the course of a few days. I moved to a place where animals in need were everywhere you looked. And it was overwhelming. It still is. As a result, I started to develop a real distaste at man’s dominion over the animal kingdom. The dogs and cats that I saw on the streets struggling to survive were there because of us. We put them in the dire situations they found themselves in. All they could do was try to live with the challenges we gave them. This realisation, I think, is what tipped me over the edge and made me see all animals in this world in the same way. I began to despair, and I still do, at the fact that all animals on this planet are completely at our mercy. And we are not a merciful people.
This distaste quickly spread to my eating habits and I looked at any living creature that died or suffered for my own life with the utmost sympathy and I could no longer be a part of that domination. Animals, like us, just want to live their lives and they’re unable to unless we give the go ahead. Why? Because we’re “top of the food chain”, of course (If there are typos here on in, it’s because I’m rolling my eyes so hard).
Vegans often talk about a ‘connection’ that made them go vegan. I guess the dog rescue thing was mine and I needed it to be as stark as physically taking an animal in need off the streets and providing a way for it to have a better life. But that in itself made me ashamed. It’s not as though I didn’t know before that in order to have that rump steak an animal needed to give its life. The phrasing of it however, that is what changed. That seemingly insignificant word ‘give’. It was a comforting word to me as a meat eater and still is for people I know who eat meat. The idea that some benevolent animal gave its life for you is something I find meat eaters cling to in order to exonerate themselves. No animal gives its life for humans. Their lives are forcibly taken every single time and that is not something anyone should be ok with. Not when there are other options to choose from.