This is a question I, and I am sure all vegans, get a lot. Often I don’t know what to say. Not because I don’t know why, but because I don’t know how to explain my conviction and feelings about it in a good way. It’s like trying to explain the theory of relativity in one sentence……but as I believe Einstein said, ” If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough“……so I will give it a try.
My main reason for choosing a vegan lifestyle is that I can’t stand the thought of intentionally causing suffering to animals. With can’t stand, I mean it makes me sick to my stomach and you could just as well ask me to jump off a bridge or beat up my kids.
Eating and using animals is obviously something I have done during the major part of my life, having been able to “forget” what that burger or that glass of milk really is. It is hard to understand now how I could ever be so placid about it.
All people today know the horror stories and the inherent cruelty of the meet, dairy and egg industry, “why are you vegan?” Should really be the question, “why are not everyone vegan?”. I guess it’s the same reason why we can ignore all other types of suffering in the world, perhaps we turn it off because it’s too much, to bear? Or, we just grown up and been raised in a society where it is OK to use others, not care about others and where indifference is perfectly acceptable?
I find it interesting trying to remember the feeling when the famous flip switched, when I could´t hide from it anymore. For me it was when watching Cowspiracy during Christmas last year. I was sitting on the sofa, deciding there and then I would not eat animal products ever again. I don’t think it was solely the film. As vegetarian I had been feeling bad about my dairy and egg consumption for a long time, but that film it was the trigger for me to start seeing feelingly, if that make sense?
Today I can’t look at meat or cheese without thinking of the animal that suffered or died for it, can drive me crazy sometimes. It’s hard to see others happily eating animal products. Need to bite my tongue not to say anything and remind myself that they are where I was, not seeing, not feeling.
Building on this foundation of not causing suffering, other aspects has become more and more important too. This being that our current food system is devastating for the planet, and also that the so called western diet is a complete catastrophe for human health. I feel more convinced that ever that this is the right lifestyle for me, my family and ideally all around me.
On a positive note, public opinion is shifting in the right direction. The connection between what we eat and environmental destruction (greenhouse gas emissions, ocean dead zones, deforestation, contamination of fresh water etc) has become more and more visible. This, in addition to the health problems caused by consuming animal products becoming harder and harder to ignore, is shifting what people think about veganism in a big way.
Those that before never would have considered having a meal without meat are now changing their habits to actively taking steps towards a plant-based lifestyle. I don’t think 2019 is the year everyone goes vegan, but I do think that i in 3-5 years the question people will be asked is “why are you NOT Vegan?”