Monday, June 11, 2012

The Struggles of Being a Vegan

For me, being a vegan, not eating animals and their byproducts is not the hardest part. It's the easiest, I would say. Trying to live in, and explain and defend your beliefs to the rest of the world which shares such a different view of it is. The more I find out about factory farming, slaughterhouses, and the environmental impact of meat upon our planet, the more it honestly makes me want to cry.

For the most part I've been incredibly blessed to have openminded, respectful friends and family who are conscious and courteous of my decision to abstain from meat. More often than not I find people who love eating meat, and feel it necessary to articulate to me that they're never going to stop, for whatever various reasons they have. I try to make a point to not judge, that's not my position, and there are enough vegans who I feel shame others. Making someone feel guilt about something has never been the road to educating them on it, so it's something I make an effort to avoid.

Lately though, whenever I hear someone talking about eating meat, etc. it makes me so sad. So sad, and so incredibly angry. I don't believe that most people have the intent to aid and abet incredibly brutal and cruel practices upon animals, most people are just ignorant. But whenever I hear it I want to shake them, force them to watch videos such as this one. It feels like the equivalent to me of hearing someone say they want to brutally murder someone close to me. Which sounds extreme, but I can't help but think of it in extreme terms. And it makes me discouraged. It makes me heartbroken that I can't do anything. Forcing someone into something never works, but keeping your beliefs to yourself entirely in attempts not to perpetuate the stereotype of a 'crazy' vegan/vegetarian doesn't seem like the solution either.

Maybe it's because I don't believe there should be a difference between a dog and a cow. I don't see how it's fine to brutally murder one, and keep the other as a pet. I don't think this is such a radical statement, but it seems to be one. It feels like a failure of compassion as a human race to extend respect and care to creatures that make up such a huge part of our world. I have to clue how to resolve this, or when everyone will finally come around to seeing that this is wrong. Or how I'm supposed to deal with something I have such strong emotions towards, without making others feel uncomfortable.

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