In defence of the voiceless
We stand for the fair and just treatment of all living beings because they deserve it and because injustice is injustice regardless of who it is perpetrated against. We recognise that we are one whole interconnected entity and we see cruelty directed towards any being as cruelty inflicted towards the whole. We respect and honour all living beings, we will treat all beings with gentleness and loving kindness. We will protect and commit ourselves to safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and defenceless amongst us.
We will not participate in the cruel and unjust treatment of animals, we will not purchase or consume animal products, nor will we add to the economic structures that support animal cruelty. The economy was not, nor has it ever been, a good enough reason to destroy the planet or to cause harm and suffering to the helpless and innocent. Industries may wind down, and shit forever, but new industries will be created and no chains of supply and demand will be created. The livelihood of no human can justify the torture and slaughter of billions of animals each year.
In the defence of the voiceless and the innocent beings of this planet, we will prepare and educate ourselves. We will deepen our understandings and our capacity to calmly discuss ethics, morality and economics. We will break through our own limiting beliefs and shyness and hold space in the streets and maintain composed presence in gatherings. We will intelligently and passionately express why a plant-based diet is important to us, and why it is so crucial for the future of human society and the planet. We will read the material, we will listen to the talks, we will protest, we will rally, we will interject and intervene when necessary, and we will passionately, but calmly, articulate ourselves. Humans are not naturally inclined to knowingly commit cruelty to another being, and our calmness, kindness and intelligence will win over the hearts that are ready to hear.
The reasons and justifications for a plant-based lifestyle are innumerable, the obstacles and excuses are fast dissolving. The literature is plentiful, the health benefits are clear and evident, the moral case is strong, the environmental reasons clearly understandable and the economic rationale is just one more pillar in the entire case for a plant-based diet and an end to animal cruelty. The counter-arguments are pitifully weak, shortsighted and no more than feeble attempts to justify cruelty and defer the responsibility for change. Our calmness and composure will allow counterfeit arguments to fall and unravel. We will not let smokescreen arguments disturb our calm. Let us be examples of good health, physical well-being, courageous hearts; living examples of the benefits of a plant-based diet.
The meat and dairy industries are causing our ill health and untimely deaths, this is obvious and acknowledged by the world health organisation. There is an overwhelming amount of research by those who have committed their careers to human health that clearly points out the negative effects of consuming animal products; the human body was not designed to eat animals. The idea that the consumption of meat and dairy is actually beneficial to the human body is a lie and it is only economically motivated. Those who wish to perpetuate this lie are the ones set to benefit from it economically.
Regardless of how our detractors feel about the health concerns of consuming animal products, the moral case needs very little explanation. It is not permissible or acceptable to treat any animal unkindly or cruelly, whether it is a dog, a cat, a pig, a chicken or a cow, makes no difference whatsoever. And if we do not agree with the unjust treatment of animals then we cannot pay another to do it for us, we cannot condone such actions by financing it and then believe that we care for animals. Animals are intelligent and kind, and gentle and they have complex emotions, relations, and relationships. They are the most vulnerable amongst us, and we cannot allow them to be tortured, imprisoned, kept captive their entire lives, injected, separated, slaughtered and sliced up to serve on our tables. That is not evolved, and no cultural tradition is important enough to be maintained if it involves the torture or slaughter of animals.
As for the environmental reasons, these are short and succinct. The land that is being cleared to create grain and grazing land for livestock is immense and unsustainable. The amount of water used to produce the meat that we eat is obscene and unfair when we consider how many millions are dying from lack of access to clean water. The fact that the majority of the methane creating holes in the ozone comes from cows alone, is another fact that most people are unaware of. More than all of the industry in the world, the cows that humans breed and slaughter are causing ozone damage. Whatever excuse or counter-argument that may be used against you, calmly remind them that the environmental strain of farming animals for slaughter by far outweighs any effect growing grains and vegetables might have.
The environmental strains that the animal product industries are imposing on the earth are causing globally felt repercussions and these alone are enough reason to move towards a plant-based diet. The water consumed, the deforestation for grazing land, the grain used to feed these animals, is immense and devastating. A minute fraction of that amount would feed all members of the human race, and the planet would have made a significant step towards sustainability with this simple, kind and compassionate dietary shift.
The idea that how long we have been doing something justifies us in continuing to do it, is the very antithesis of social change and evolution. Just because we began eating animals we hunted thousands of years ago, does not mean that we need to do it anymore, nor does it mean that it is morally justifiable. Some still practice female genital mutilation and have done so for thousands of years, it is part of their culture, it is completely normal in their society, do we still not have a moral obligation to intervene, educate and inform that it is not necessary, that this is barbaric and unkind? We once traded slaves, we once considered women and invalid to vote, we once colonised, raped and pillaged; how long we've been doing something is no reason to continue doing it.
Resistance to the idea that you don't actually need meat or dairy for protein, calcium and iron, is just resistance to knowledge, growth and understanding. And those who think taste or habit is a good enough reason.. your taste buds are not more valuable than the life of a sentient being that feels grief when separated from its child. Learn to enjoy carob chocolate, or learn to go without. No pleasure, desire or habit is worth the suffering of another being.
But further to all of the logical, emotional, environmental and economic reasons, there is the case for the evolution of the spiritual being. A human being that will do everything in its power to end injustice, suffering and the discomfort of all beings, even without all of the other rationale. Beyond just a vegan movement statement, this is a statement for human evolution.