BEING VEGAN – So, Once You Know, What Are You Going To Do About It?
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein
Well, the world is a dangerous place because of those that do evil. But it also becomes even more dangerous when those outside have a peek behind the veil and they look upon the evil being done and then choose to do nothing. To look upon something so vivid and upsetting and yet somehow choose to keep one’s perception of the status quo and do nothing…well, that simply makes one complicit to the evil that is being done. Perhaps it is possible for some to feign ignorance for a while, but we live in a day and time where information has never been more readily available for our reading and viewing on almost any subject imaginable. The cruelty that is being perpetuated upon the animal kingdom has been chronicled in so many ways. I guess I have to ask is how can it now be ignored? What we are doing to animals on a daily basis is one of the great injustices being done by mankind upon this earth and we are paying a very heavy price for it. What are we going to do about this evil that is being done?
I was so heartened a couple of weeks ago to read the cover story on Rolling Stone published on December 10. It was entitled “In The Belly of the Beast,” by Paul Solotaroff. (www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists) It is not often that a major publication like this uses their prime space to tackle the issue of the animal right injustices that are being done. It went in depth looking at the barbaric practices that happen daily on factory farms everywhere. The evidence was well-documented and much of it first hand by undercover activists. Of course the big industries are pushing back and making it very difficult and in some cases, illegal, for activists to collect this information. It is the government’s job to enforce against cruelty to animals, but they are reluctant to do so for a variety of reasons. So it is up to activists and animal rights organizations to take up the task. In many cases the only voice that the animals have in these horrific conditions is that of the activists.
“Wherever you stand on eating animals,” says an activist (in the story), “I think that making their lives hell is too big a price for cheap food.” I agree, it is a horrible price to pay for the animals, for our physical and spiritual health and for the environment. There is nothing cheap about that. It is killing us, the animals and the planet that we live upon. I know personally that no matter how conscious I thought I was, how educated and informed I thought I was or how spiritual I felt that I was…I lived most of my life oblivious, uninformed and unaware of the evil that was all around me and I was consuming it without thought or conscience. I encouraged others to seek life and live life to its fullest and yet I was partaking of this death play a number of times each day. By my consumption of animal products in one form or another, I was fully complicit in this abhorrent practice of factory farming that this article so powerfully illustrates. When I found out a little over six years ago what was actually happening, it changed my life forever. I knew then that I could no longer participate in any way in any of this. I became fully conscious for the first time and it struck me to the core. It has become my mission to help bridges to others to become fully aware as well.
Even in the face of all of this…there are still so many who choose to look the other way. They can read the Rolling Stone article or watch a video and somehow find a way to justify the behavior and the system it is a part of. Few want to readily admit their participation in the process. You may not be in the factory farm. You may not be in the slaughterhouse. But if you buy the products to eat or to wear, you are part of the process. You are supporting it as a consumer. Without a demand, the supply does not exist. I know there were those, even with great evidence before them, who couldn’t believe the things that were purported during the Holocaust of WWII or chose to ignore them and go about their business. There was no mistaking the evil that was being done, but for those that looked away and did nothing…perhaps that was evil too. Fortunately there were many others that saw it as a call to arms and did something about it and brought it to an end. Yes, the times are different. But we have just moved from one Holocaust against humanity to another one against animals. It has been going on for centuries, but nothing like what has been happening over the past fifty years. The information is before us. We need to read it, we need to watch it. We too, must rise up and and bring this injustice to non-human species to an end. It may take years or even decades to see it fully come about, but we can stop the bloodshed that has been going on for much of our human history. To harden one’s heart in the face of this is one of the saddest states I can imagine. It is time for us to open our hearts like never before and take a bold and compassionate move towards changing life and protecting all life upon this planet. It is the greatest gift we can give our present as well as our future.
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 email@example.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.