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By Amy-Le Owens
October 2013

Amy-Le Owens animal freedom

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But, don't you miss meat?

A question I hear repeatedly as a vegan, and one that I can sympathize with as I, myself, used to think exactly the same thing, along with "why would anyone do that to themselves?"

But the truth is, you only miss one thing when you go vegan. It's not the meat. It's not the cheese. It's not the convenience or the habits.

It's the soothing thought of living in a fairytale world where everything is going to turn out fine and as long as the problem isn't within my vicinity, well then, it simply isn't my problem. The fact is, although I have reached a euphoric sense of peace within my self, cleansed my conscience and washed the blood from my hands, had my eyes opened to view the natural world with such respect and awe, been exposed to the most compassionate group of humans on this Earth, although I have gained such greatness, I have also gained something I would rather not possess.

An unyielding annoyance which inhabits my thoughts day after day, if not in the forefront of my mind then in the back, niggling away at my subconscious. It's a feeling of helplessness.

I know that everyday my choices DO help to lessen the amount of animals slaughtered, lessen the destruction of our rainforests, lessen the pollution poisoning our planet, lessen the amount of Earthlings being added to the endangered species list, lessen my chances of illness, but that doesn't make it a whole lot easier to watch the rest of the world throw away all my efforts with callous disregard.

I do believe that the majority of our world would adopt a vegan lifestyle within the blink of an eye, if only they could see what I, and so many other vegans have seen, if only they could feel what we have felt. Call me naive, but as I used to be a meat eater in denial, addicted to my conveniences, scoffing down animal parts in every meal I had because the taste was great, if I was that person, and I managed to reach this irrevocable stage of veganism, then I refuse to believe that the majority of the population can't either. Leaving the taste of meat behind is an issue that need not exist, there are cruelty free replication everywhere if only one would bother to look. There is no issue of calcium, iron, protein or strength deficiency, the gorillas, horses, rhinos, elephants, cows and Mike Tyson's of this Earth are proof enough of that.

The issue is simply this... If slaughter can be achieved humanely, then why if I come into your home, hang your dog by his legs, slit his throat and drain the blood, do you not reply "oh well seeing as you've killed him humanely, I'll let you off! Stick him in the oven, we'll have him for dinner." If humanity can be found in an act that is inhumane in its very nature, then why is it not okay to rape and murder as long as I stun them first? They won't feel a thing so that's okay, right? For me to do that to your loved ones? No, of course it's not. Because it's a deprivation of their wants, needs, and natural rights. It's a denial of their intelligence, emotions and capabilities. It's selfishness and greed, over understanding and compassion. and yet, that is how so many of us live our lives. Following such hypocrisy.

The number of animals across our planet that have been slaughtered since you have started reading this, is greater than the number of days you've been alive. Becoming vegan, you open yourself up to a world of pain that you would rather not see, and yet you continue to look as though to prove to yourself that it's real. You realise that, no matter how much it hurts you to look, the pain is nothing compared to the torture in which they spend their existence.

If you are the reason they suffer, then you must at least acknowledge the consequences of your actions. It's true that, once you become vegan you cry enough tears to end the water shortage crisis, and yet, the feeling of speaking on behalf of those who cannot is so rewarding that we continue to put ourselves through it. Because it's the right thing to do. It's bizarre to know that doing so little can actually achieve so, so much. If the food used to feed mass produced livestock was given to the starving population of this Earth instead, world hunger would be a thing of the past. One of the world's largest crisis' could easily vanish forever, and all from a simple refusal to fund the meat, dairy and egg industry. For now, we are a minority.

But is that not how all great movements begin? Did the abolition of slavery not stem from the objections of the minority? Does the most brilliant of ideas not originate from the mind of one, or few? On our own we are brave and important, but together, we are unstoppable. What happens in the world today, derives from the way we choose to live our daily lives. We must choose the right way if we care at all for the welfare of our planet, our future generations, our current generations, and our animal kingdom.

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