Veganism is a way of saying “no” to animal exploitation and choosing not to participate in the suffering inflicted on millions of animals every day. It is to practice respecting all animals (human and non-human), refusing to participate in their exploitation. It is to declare that we are not superior to anyone, that we are just different, and our difference does not give us the right to use other living beings for our own gain.
When we go to the supermarket and buy an egg, what we are doing is paying for a hen to spend her life locked in a cage. She will never see sunlight. She will never be able to be all that she has the potential to be. After one short, miserable year, she will be sent to slaughter due to being deemed “no longer productive”. A healthy hen can live for up to ten years.
When we go to the supermarket and buy a pork burger, what we are doing is paying for a pig to be born on a farm and sent, at just a few days old, to another farm where he will live until he is 5 months old. He will spend his short life locked up with other pigs in crowded buildings. He will only see sunlight through the narrow bars in the side of the lorry which takes him to the slaughterhouse. At 5 months old, his life is brutally taken away from him. Like puppies, young pigs are playful, affectionate and full of life. On a farm, a 5-month-old pig has endured nothing but misery and fear and will be killed without ever having known the happiness of playing and being loved.
When we go to the supermarket and buy milk, what we are doing is pay for a cow to be forced to have children, only to have their baby taken away immediately after birth and killed. The milk that the mother cow has produced to feed her baby is then taken from her to be sold for human consumption. The cow will remain, for the next five years, in a constant cycle of pregnancy, birth, loss and lactation. Never able to keep her children safe but repeatedly impregnated in order to ensure that her body continues to produce milk. At just five years old, she will be taken to slaughter, having been physically exhausted from repeated pregnancies. A healthy cow can live for 25 years and naturally form strong bonds with their children.
So ingrained has the consumption of cows’ milk become in people’s minds, that often people are surprised that cows, like any other mammal, only produce milk to feed their young. When we buy milk, we are actively supporting the continuation of the violent cycle of forced pregnancies, births and exploitation.
When we go to the supermarket and buy any product of animal origin, what we are doing is financing the greatest injustice that this planet has ever seen, in which billions of animals that feel like us are locked up, abused, mistreated, murdered, skinned …
Veganism is not a lifestyle, but the way to practice respect for other animals. It is to stop participating in that injustice, saying “I will no longer participate in the suffering of other animals”.
If you are interested in finding out more about animals who have been rescued from this suffering, we invite you to meet the residents of Wings of Heart. They have all been victims and they are all not on the journey towards the understanding that life can be something other than suffering. It can be beautiful. Through their eyes, we can understand that veganism is not a lifestyle but, for them, it is life itself.