Every since I know myself, I always had a pet, e.g. turtles, dogs, fishes, doves and almost a dozen cats. I took care of them dearly and considered them as my buddies (my always supportive and cheerful childhood buddies), so I would never consent someone hurting them or even killing them. That seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? What if now, instead of talking about my dog, I was talking about a cow? That changes the paradigm, doesn’t it? Now, you somehow accept it’s ok to eat her. Actually, chances are you’ve already eaten a few hundred cows in your lifetime, but not a single dog. But why is that? Why do you feel the need to eat one but not the other? It seems kind of strange, but I haven’t really thought deep into this question until recently.
My parents, my friends and society in general always made two unconscious categories: animals who are cute enough to be our pets, and animals who are meant to be eaten. But who made that decision? It doesn’t even make sense. I asked myself this question 4 or 5 months ago and I couldn’t come up with any reasonable answer. It was that moment that made me realize how stupid I was for eating corpses for the last 20 years. How many baby chickens, baby lambs, and baby cows had to be killed just to feed me? I am afraid to even find the answer. I couldn’t continue feeding that rampage killing, I had to stop eating animals. And so I did. And it was the most important decision I made in my life.
Whenever I was eating a hamburger, I would always detach that lovely CBO from the cute little chickens I saw on TV or in my grandma’s chicken pen. It was like they were different realities, like I wasn’t even eating a dead animal at all, it was like that hamburger just appeared from nothing. If I did that, it was probably because I wasn’t able to accept a little baby embryo had to have his own existence renounced, just so I could eat it, or because a cute cow had to be slaughtered just because of me. If you think about it, even the terms “slaughterhouse” and “butcher” have a disgusting and dark aura around it.
Any creature with a nervous system is capable of suffering and discerning pain. Keeping them in cages and killing them later must surely be a very traumatizing and agonizing experience for them. And if you think about it, it’s the only thing they’ll probably experience in their life. They’ll never be loved by their keepers, if they did they wouldn’t slaughter them. Animals are much more aware of their surroundings than we always thought. Recent studies suggest goats recognize object permanence — the understanding that things still exist even when they disappear from view (Nawroth et al). Elephants do get perturbed when they see their fellows in trouble, and they reach out to console them — just as we do when we see someone suffering (Plotnik et al). And, perhaps even more impressing, we found out rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion (Sato et al) and that they can see the pain in their companion’s faces (Nakashima et al).
Nowadays we live in a society where we have everything we need right around the corner. We can buy food our grandparents never even heard of, so the act of killing a prey to eat it doesn’t apply anymore. We are living in the best possible times to step away from ingesting animal-related products. A healthy and varied diet can be easily achieved without the slaughter of animals: we can get enough protein, enough iron and enough calcium just by eating vegetables. We won’t have many sources of Vitamin B12, but that can easily be resolved with a daily multivitamin.
Even disregarding everything I said about the morals of not eating animal products, I encourage you to try doing so, especially if you have cardiovascular problems. The risk factors responsible for the biggest loss of human lives are diet-related. We consume too much saturated fats, too much sodium, too much red meats and not nearly enough fruits, nuts and vegetables. Obesity and increased fat intake is making people more prone to developing nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a disease that can affect both young and adults that results from the excess fat in the liver. It basically turns the liver into a big pool of fat, preventing it from performing his regular functions. Unfortunately, doctors don’t have much to offer to their patients, besides telling them change their lifestyle. Being vegetarian/vegan seems like such a good idea, doesn’t it? After all, plants don’t have cholesterol or saturated fat, the main culprits here. And what a better combo than saving animals while you simultaneously save your own life?
In conclusion, animals are here in this planet so that we can all live in an ecosystem, not in an egosystem. They are not inferior to us and they should not be the target for suffering and murder. You can change this paradigm by eating less meat or not eating meat at all if you have the good will to do so.