It means existence. Simply put, it's a state of being that every animal endures during their conciousness here on earth. To me, life is the most precious gift that we have as beings. Futhermore, by it's very nature life is singular to a being and finite beyond that beings total control.
Why then, are we to decide the lives of so many other living beings? Who are we to decide that any animal (cow, pig, wolf, chinchilla, whale, salmon or chicken) should live a life of destitution? Literally mired in their own feces up to their knees. Pumped full of hormones to become impregnated repeatedly. Given anti-biotics to the point of stupor and damnation. We are the only species that willfully and knowingly torture other animals. Surely, we're more civilized than this!
I believe we are disrespecting the most precious gift available - that is life - by systematically torturing, abusing & killing animals of all sorts. We abuse animals in the name fashion, gluttony & entertainment. I'd like you to sit and think about that.
There is, at this very moment (yes, while you're reading this), an animal somewhere sitting in a dark, feces infested cage somewhere, being fed corn laced with anti-biotics so you can enjoy a bacon cheeseburger.
Did you know you can make really delicious & nutritious food without harming animals? Here are a few of my favorite recipes: http://forkthecookbook.com/bunsen
There is a cow marching out of India in the rain, heat & cold being whipped or prodded so you may wear a leather belt, Nike sneakers or Louboutin high heels.
As I've discovered, forgotten & rediscovered these facts - I've had to deeply meditate on the following questions: Is it worth it? Do you feel proud that your accomplishments are contributing to the anguish and suffering of living things? Am I so barbaric that the sanctity of life here on earth does not concern me in the least bit? Do I want my children to perpetuate such a negative impact after I pass?
Those elephants, tigers & bears at circus are not trained with treats, they're not roaming some massive acreage after or before each show. They are being abused with electrical prods & living in cages barely big enough to fit them.
The unfortunate truth.
I'd be idiotic to deny the truth. The practices I've discussed stem from thousands of years of evolution, there is no fighting that. We've been killing high calorie animals for years & making the most of them by creating supplemental goods from the excess that comes with a kill.
I'll be the first to admit that beef, cheese, steak, tuna, salmon & chicken are the most delicious foods I've ever tasted. The suede hightop Nikes that I own are some of my favorite.
But does it have to continue though?
It's not easy to make a difference in the world, especially in a world like today's where everyone has the ability to express their opinions. Especially in a world polarized by things like race, religion & sexual orientation.
It's not easy to drop something from your diet that provides you with an essential nutrient - although you can find it elsewhere.
It's not easy to buck the trends & accept social besmirchment of not having those Louboutin heels - because you definitely need them to have a better social standing, right?
But the reality is, it can start with an article posted by your friend, asking you to be more aware of the harm you are causing every day to living things by making the purchasing decisions that you do.
For some reason, unbeknownst to me, it's really cheap to kill animals. The difference between life and death for some animals is literally $0.29 cents (At McDonalds).
In all honesty though, this is just one conversation of many we should be having about social responsibility when it comes to how we consume things. There are other issues that need attention, but this the discussion we are having, right here, right now. It is a problem with known, available solutions.
"Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don't. No one does. You shouldn't be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren't real and they were created by other people, not you. There is no explicit path I'm following, and I'm not walking in anyone else's footsteps. I'm making it up as I go." - Charlie Hoehn
I'll leave you with a request, I am asking you to start with something really simple: Do not buy clothing that comes from animals, that means no leather shoes, wallets, belts or hats. No fur/wool coats or sweaters. No snakeskin purses or shoes. It's that simple. Here are a few links to get you started:
- American Apparel (except for the leather, obviously) - http://www.americanapparel.net/
- Macbeth - http://store.macbeth.com/products/category/macbeth-vegan
- Toms - http://www.toms.com/mens/vegan?view=all
- Alternative Outfitters - http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/
- Moo Shoes - http://www.mooshoes.com/