It’s My 20 Year Vegan Anniversary. My Thoughts:

This month I’m celebrating 20 years being vegan! I was in my first year of university in March 2004 when my then boyfriend and I made the change from vegetarian. I never went back. From that day to this it has continued to give my soul peace. I remember feeling a sense of profound lightness of spirit to know I was finally living in line with my deepest values. 

The principle of opposing ‘might is right’ extends to all life, both human and animal, on this planet. I will never use my superior strength, physical or mental, to cause harm to any sentient being. It is the worst violation to abuse your power over those weaker than yourself, or to have someone else do it on your behalf as in the case of animal slaughter. I’m not just surviving on no animal products, I’m thriving! If can live without causing untold and unnecessary suffering I will do it.

The word vegan was coined in 1944. Donald Watson was busy founding the Vegan Society in England with a small group of vegetarians who wanted to reject all animal products on ethical grounds. They needed a name for themselves and among the proposals were ‘vitan’ and ‘benevore’ before ‘vegan’ was finally settled upon, it being a contraction of ‘vegetarian’ using the word’s first three and last two letters. After this decision Watson declared: ‘The vegan believes that if we are to be true emancipators of animals we must renounce absolutely our traditional and conceited attitude that we have the right to use them to serve our needs.’ So from the very beginning ‘vegan’ meant animal liberation, and if anyone calls themselves vegan and is not committed to that aim they are not vegan, they are merely ‘plant based’.

These days, the term ‘vegan’ has been expropriated by the ‘Greta Thunberg’ brigade, in order that those who care nothing for animals OR the environment can bring in their nefarious agenda characterised by a host of freedom curtailing measures. I am furious that something so important to me is being exploited for depraved ends. We have already seen some in the freedom movement declaring meat-eating to be an act of resistance which grieves me greatly because I know the suffering that entails.

We cannot build a just society upon injustice and the exploitation of the defenceless. As Tolstoy said, ‘as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields’. We can’t be inconsistent in our principles. Morality should be universal, not selective. Least of all for the brief satisfaction of the palate for which an innocent being has given up their life. ‘Let them have their little day’. They were not put on this planet for us to use and abuse, they were here long before us let us not forget, yet we, the late arrivals, declared all existence put on earth for our exploitation. They are ends in themselves, not means to ours. 

I’ve been accused many times over the years, as most vegans have, of being ‘pious’, ‘morally superior’ and ‘forcing my views on others’. These are standard go-to’s for those more interested in their bellies than their humanity. I’m never going to stop trying to prevent harm to animals. I’m never going to stop being the voice they don’t have. And that should not be the slightest bit controversial. After all, most people understand the imperative of protecting animals from cruelty, it is enshrined in our laws. Unfortunately, those same laws exclude a host of animals from its sanctuary. And this becomes part of the insidious cultural conditioning from the moment we are born which divides animals into those who are worthy or unworthy of protection.

This mindset doesn’t have to be taught. It is unconsciously absorbed. So that when it’s challenged, usually after decades of embedding, it appears to those holding it as though an absurd and outrageous attack has been launched by a fanatic hell bent on destroying all that they hold dear. When in reality, all it is is an attempt to stop cruelty to animals.

I believe the epoch of anthropocentrism is coming to an end. The earth is undergoing a great awakening and an era of justice is on the horizon. Institutions are falling, evil and corruption are everywhere being exposed. People in all corners of the globe are waking up as if out of a mass stupour and challenging the tiny elite which has had its way for far too long. But this new world will not be a just place if justice is confined to one group of its inhabitants only. Because the principle of justice, in itself, contains the glittering diamond of truth that promises rightness to all who are defenceless. This new world will only succeed if it’s built upon this precept. 

We must see past the mendacious schemes of the elites which might cause us to cling to cruel practices as some form of rebellion. Let’s see the bigger picture and do away with these psychopaths who embody the very philosophy of ‘might is right’ that we are in danger of perpetuating. We are better than this. 

The ethos of veganism, when it was instituted by that small group back in 1944, was, ‘do least harm’. Of course, veganism without a name has been practiced since antiquity as evidenced by recorded writings and speeches from many whose commitment to animals might be unfamiliar to us due to it being suppressed by official historians:

‘We will one day look upon the murder of animals as we now look upon the murder of men’. Leonardo da Vinci

‘Does it not shame you to mingle murder and blood with (the earth’s) beneficent fruits, the plenty of which is inexhaustible? Lions and wolves you call ferocious, while you come behind them in no species of barbarity. And yet for them murder is the only means of sustenance, whereas to you it is superfluous luxury and crime’. Plutarch

‘The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today

Had he thy reason would he skip and play?

Pleas’d to the last he crops the flow’ry food

And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood…

All are but parts of one stupendous whole

Whose body nature is, and God the soul.’ Alexander Pope

‘As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.’ Pythagorus

‘A pity without limits which unites us with all living beings – in that we have the most solid, the surest guarantee of morality. ‘ Schopenhauer

‘No man, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does.’ Henry David Thoreau

The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous. It is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.’ Emile Zola

Being vegan isn’t about moral superiority, because that would mean I am using the suffering of animals to aggrandise myself in the eyes of the world, and I can’t think of anything more obscene. We are not ‘plant based’ poseurs jumping on a manufactured bandwagon, but simply people who love animals and want them to live free from pain and fear. I’m on this planet to do everything I can to stop the suffering of all its residents, human and non-human. So I can celebrate twenty years vegan and feel good about it only for a fleeting moment before the flood of images that haunt me come flooding back. I won’t know true rest until it stops. I feel the same as American writer Roger Caras: 

I have said it again and again and I will say it on the day I die if I have time. It is wrong to cause pain, 

it is wrong to cause fear, and to allow preventable pain and preventable fear to exist is no less an offence 

than causing them. That is my credo. I will argue it in heaven and hell. I will face any man or woman alive 

and argue it forever. I am more sure of that than I am of my private view of god and religion. I am more sure 

of that than I am of anything else in my experience as a man. I believe that credo is a valid view of my responsibility on earth.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.