Being Vegan – What Do We Really Love?
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
We have four companion animals in our home. Two dogs and two cats, all who have been adopted or rescued. They are not just pets, they are members of our family. I love each one individually, not just as a species. They have their own unique personalities and the give and take of our relationship is special with each. They are tremendous instruments of love that we have the honor to be able to share space with. I also understand that in other parts of the world, these animals might be food for someone else. I personally think that is abhorrent. I feel the same way, though, about all living creatures. I don’t have to live with a cow, a horse, a pig or a chicken to know they they would be every bit as engaging, aware, and loving to share life with as the cats and dogs that are part of our home right now. Perhaps it is easy for some to disengage with the fact that all animals have a right to be respected, loved and cared for…whether they live in your home or not.
I have heard many proclaim their love for animals, yet in reality they only love some animals and obviously not others because they choose to eat them. So the dividing line of that love is animals that we would live with and would never think of eating, and then those who we are fond of only in regards to the food that they can become for us. I mean how could we think of eating anything that we truly loved? One must choose to either forget or ignore the fact that these same animals that they choose to eat are just as aware, with feelings, as smart or even more so than the other animals that they might enjoy as companions. There really is no difference between any of these animals. To love some species of animals and to have disregard enough for others to either eat them or the animals they produce is speciesism. From an ethical point of view, it is no better than favoring one race of people and showing hatred and disregard for another. It has never been right to have this view towards people and fortunately the majority of people have evolved to accepting one another though, this too, is still a work in progress.
We must evolve in the same way in the regards that we see and treat all living creatures. No matter what some people believe, animals have not been put upon this planet for the pleasure of our eating. They have been put here for the pleasure of their company, and that is a huge difference. There is all of the ethics and science that anyone would want or need right now showing us that we do not need animals or animals products to be healthy and live. If anyone is a proponent of that these days it is probably for one of two reasons. One, they are being compensated to do so. There are scientific, medical, and nutritional shills out there who will find a way to support a point of view, no matter if it is valid or not. The other is that it is just because people want to do what they want to do. They want to eat what they want to eat and they want to love what they want to love. It’s about them…it’s not about the animals. It is too easy for some to turn off their conscience and just do what pleases them.
Who do we think we are in deciding which animals are worthy to live and those that should die for our pleasure?
It is not about our survival. It is purely for our pleasure…and to take billions of lives of animals each year to satisfy that pleasure is fundamentally wrong on the most basic of human levels. Great minds and hearts have been trying to tell us this throughout history. If your religion, creed, or philosophy does not value and respect the life of all creatures, then where is the fruit of your love? How can we let thousands of people die for lack of food each day because the resources that could have fed them are being diverted to livestock industries to feed our pleasure. It is not enough to continue to love some and eat others just because people have been doing it for a long time. We can be so much better than that. It is not enough to just give up something we enjoy for a season of time. If you really want to give a gift this season…give the gift of life to all living creatures. Switching to a plant-based diet will make an immediate impact upon the lives of animals, your health, and our environment. This year, and every year, my heart’s desire will be peace on earth for all animals and goodwill to all men and living creatures. What is love if not this?
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.