At some point late last year, I had a conversation on animal rights activism with another vegan friend. I’m vegan for the animals, first and foremost, so my activism work is focused on the plight of animals and the abuse that they endure rather than the health benefits of a plant-based diet. I´m also an environmentalist so there is a cross-over between environmental activism and animal rights.
She stated the truth that human beings only tend to change if they receive some sort of benefit in the process. For example, by adopting a plant-based diet for health reasons, especially to lose weight, humans received a benefit. So why not promote a plant-based diet instead of the plight of animals, she suggested, as a way to encourage others to go vegan?
I completely agreed with her but my answer was no for this reason.
Vegans believe in a lifestyle that protects all animals from exploitation, whether for food or other purposes.
Which leads me to the divisive subject of veganism and why the world must convert now.
Veganism is one of the biggest social justice movements of our time. The issue of how our eating habits affect the planet and the continuing abuse of animals has been at the forefront of global discussion. Rock on Joaquin. Rock on. It hasn’t been pretty. It’s been downright ugly on both sides, including those who sit on the fence. Vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and meat-eaters alike.
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You see, veganism isn’t a diet or a fad. It’s a lifestyle choice to protect animals and the environment from the ongoing assault from humanity. It’´s not just about the food we eat but everything we consume. Veganism is about protecting the environment; the Amazon being the ultimate example where deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate in order to raise cattle to be consumed by human beings.
A person can choose a plant-based diet for health reasons, yet still not give a damn about animal welfare or the planet and that´s what we need. People to give a damn so that we can put an end to the destruction of the planet.
We should not ask what veganism can do for us but what we can do for our planet. The answer? The answer is to go vegan.
Then came the coronavirus. A virus that may not exist in a vegan world.
We humans may have caused this pandemic. While we continue to exploit animals and interfere with the laws of nature, we will continue to face the risk of future pandemics.
Investigations carried into the source of the pandemic indicate that the outbreak occurred at a “wet” live food market in China, selling both live and dead animals. There are early indications that the virus originated in the bat population, and may have spread to the food chain by infecting another animal. The virus mutated into a strain that could be passed from animals to humans. Whether the mutation occurred before or after the infection is unclear.
The exploitation of animals and their natural habitat has caused a crisis of epic proportions that will transform our society forever. On every single level. Millions have been infected with the virus. Hundreds of thousands are dead. People were unable to work to provide for themselves. Some may lose their homes. Hoarders cleared out the shelves at our supermarket with no thought of each other. The financial implications of this crisis are unknown but they will be harsh. Mother Earth is on her knees and has taken us with her.
This crisis won’t be over in days, weeks or months. It will take years. We are going to have to change and transform to weather this storm.
What is clear is that while we continue to exploit animals and interfere with the laws of nature, we will continue to face further pandemics, unless we change our ways.
A couple of days ago, I came across an article on a book How To Survive A Pandemic by Dr Greger who prophesied that unless changes are made, deadlier viruses could come from overcrowded poultry farms. These farms exist for one reason only. To raise animals for human consumption including their eggs. These viruses have the potential to be far worse than the coronavirus resulting in an extreme number of deaths. The type of pandemic with the potential to wipe out half of the world´s population.
I thought to myself, what will it take? What will it take for human beings to stop the exploitation of animals? If we won’t collectively change to stop animal abuse or the destruction of the planet or because of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands with the threat of much worse to come, then what will stop us?
It is blatantly obvious that the world needs to go vegan and quick.
So, my question to those of you who consume animal products is this. Even though you know that your actions harm animals and the planet, do you really want to put us all at risk of further pandemics for the sake of a slab of meat on your plate or animal milk in your coffee? Is it worth the risk? I sincerely hope not for each and every one of us. Wake up, my friends. Unless we completely stop consuming animal products, those that still consume animal products are putting the rest of us at risk.
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(c) Samantha Wilson 2020. All Rights Reserved.