Veganism is a lifestyle based on respect for animals. Animals are individual sentient beings like us. Being sentient means they can feel and experience emotions and sensations such as pain, pleasure, fear, joy, boredom or stress, and what happens to them matters to them. Living a vegan lifestyle means valuing other animals’ lives and as a result, rejecting their use for food, clothing, entertainment and experimentation. This means that millions of sensitive, aware individuals will be spared from suffering or dying in places such as farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, zoos, aquariums, circuses, fur farms and hunts.
A vegan diet: tasty, varied and proven to be healthy
A vegan diet is varied, tasty and proven to be healthy, and is based on the countless types of plant foods available. Any animal product, be it eggs, milk, fish or meat, involves treating an animal as a machine or unit of production and thinking that their lives are less important than ours. Animals in these industries are subject to being bought, sold, caged, separated from families, mutilated, branded, forcibly inseminated, abused by workers, denied natural behaviour, and finally slaughtered.
Choosing between life and death for hundreds of animals is as simple as picking a different option in the supermarket or on a restaurant menu, and with increasing numbers of people turning to veganism today there are more vegan products and choices than ever before. Going vegan requires no special powers or strange ingredients and you can still enjoy many of your favourite foods – and discover plenty more!
Leave skins to the animals: fur, leather and wool
Many of us have seen shocking images of foxes or minks suffering in cages on fur farms or being gassed, electrocuted or skinned alive. As a result many people now reject fur.
But the reality is just as hard for cows, rabbits or sheep, when they are killed for their skin, fur or hair. Far from being by-products as many people think, buying leather and wool also finances the suffering and death of animals. Animals have their hair and skin to protect themselves, not for us to use as scarves, jumpers, coats or shoes.
For more information on the use of animals for clothing Click here.
Many people nowadays object to animals being used in circuses or bullfights, and many others are opposed to hunting, as animal suffering in these events is clear and often shocking. While using animals in these areas is unacceptable – no matter how traditional, cultural or amusing – other places such as zoos, aquariums or racetracks, also use and hold animals captive against their will. In all cases, animals are considered property, denied their freedom, and used for our entertainment simply because they belong to species other than our own. The suffering may be less obvious as it is often psychological, but it is still there.
Don’t go to places where animals are used for entertainment, and inform others about why these places should not exist. We should all be able to choose our own lives and live in freedom, human or not. For more information on the use of animals for entertainment Click here.
The idea of kidnapping a human and subjecting him or her to experiments against their will to find cures for diseases in order to save others is considered unacceptable by society. But if human animals are not subjected to experiments, nor should other animals be. Like us, other animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, fear, stress and boredom, regardless of their level of intelligence or the species they belong to.
All animals – human or not – value their lives and possess the desire to live and this should be respected equally. If you care about animals, help to end animal experimentation by informing people of the reasons why it should stop.
Write to companies that experiment on animals explaining your refusal to buy their products, and reject experiments and vivisection at your college or university. Science and medicine needs to proceed without requiring sentient beings as victims, and today there are many alternatives being developed to animal testing. As a society we need to be funding, promoting and supporting this array of alternatives as a matter of urgency.
There has never been a better or easier time to go vegan than today. By making simple changes and transitioning to a vegan lifestyle you can personally save many animals from experiencing pain, misery and death. But animals also need you to act on their behalf. Not taking part in their exploitation is as important as getting active to help end their slavery.
Animals will continue to suffer at the hands of humans if together we do not encourage society to question speciesism and our relationship to other animals on this planet.