Today in my college public speaking class, I gave a speech on veganism, and how the consumption of meat, dairy, and other animal products is absolutely devastating for the health of our Earth, the animals, and even our own physical health.
I was given feedback that told me to look into “humane animal agriculture.” And while I appreciate the effort to not torture animals, it does not negate the fact that a living, sentient being will ultimately die for someone’s taste buds.
I understand that animal products are engrained in today’s culture. However, its prevalence does not mean that it is ethical or moral; nor does it mean that its existence is justified. Being deemed socially acceptable does not make it correct.
If you apply that logic, it means that all of history is without flaws. It implies that nothing in this world has ever required reform or revolution.
Not too long ago, it was considered universally acceptable to keep slaves, to oppress women, and homosexuals. And while I know these issues are still far from being resolved, I applaud the effort that has been applied to each of these issues. Despite having miles to go, there has been commendable progress.
Just because the issue may never be entirely resolved, nor will the change happen as quickly as we would like, it does not negate the fact that we should not still try.
For if we live life in the shade of stagnancy, we live a life of ignorance. And while hiding from the truth can be more comfortable, it inhibits the opportunity to improve.
Life, as we know it, is a progression. We are meant to strive, to learn, to grow, and to change. Nothing ever remains static.
People tell me not to take resistance to the movement of veganism so personally.
But I do take it personally.
While I cannot fall apart with every obstacle and or whenever someone tells me being vegan is silly, we must acknowledge that despite any of our own personal interests and desires, there will always be fact. The truth will always remain.
Let us be aware that our Earth, our home, is at stake. Sentient creatures are exploited and murdered. The earth needs more compassion, and more empathy. We need to try harder to exhibit behaviors that radiate kindness in all aspects of life, not just in regards to animals, but to people, to all forms of life.
Essentially, we need to have genuine care for things other than our own selves.
Maybe that makes me radical, maybe that makes me too sensitive. But I stand by my beliefs with an unshaken conviction.
And perhaps you think animals are only animals. But once you choose a life of kindness towards the smallest creatures, that kindness manifests into something indiscriminate. You will find that there is kindness in your heart for all beings.
With a mindset that emphasizes love, life will become a game where the cards are not always stacked against us. There will be harmony instead of competition. We will value differences and live with a gentle, underlying sense of content.
I am not saying veganism equates to perfection.
No, rather, I am saying it fosters acceptance. And in that acceptance, we can find faith, even in things unknown. In times of trial, there will be a strong inner peace to push us through. We will almost always fail, but that does not infinitely destroy the opportunity to succeed.
So, do not be complacent. Do not swallow passion or feel ashamed of doing what is humane and right. Have undeniable empathy for others, and do not apologize for intense sensitivity.
To be sensitive is to be aware. Heighten your awareness, and embrace vulnerability as a bridge to progress. And while your efforts might not be rewarded immediately, have patience. There will always be intense gratification in holding strong to your convictions.