Butterflies Katz, who runs the blog Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come, recently hosted a short essay writing contest called “Why I Will Always Be Vegan.” My essay was one of the 50 winners! Here it is:
Why I Will Always Be Vegan
We live on a beautiful, abundant planet, gifted with bodies that are able to survive and thrive without the death of other sentient beings. Veganism is my way of honouring the gift of life and returning this gift by honouring all other life. Once I was able to fully embrace that animals are beings and not things, that they have their own interests and purposes, I could not un-know this truth. Like learning that Santa Claus is not real, it’s like I always knew, and there’s no going back.
Being vegan has allowed my mind to grow and flourish, no longer encumbered by blocked connections, blocked intuition, blocked compassion, and the series of rationalizations and excuses needed to maintain these blocks. I’ve developed an increasing openness and appreciation for life, a gratitude that I was not able to fully embrace when I was still within the mindset of taking and reluctantly harming. I rejoice in grasping the beauty and uniqueness of other beings and becoming more completely who I already am.
To others, veganism can appear as restriction. But for me and other committed vegans, living according to our values is no restriction, it’s a joy. Like those who don’t feel restrained by not hurting, killing, or paying someone to hurt or kill a dog or a hamster, I can’t feel restrained by veganism. Veganism is about abundance and inclusion. It’s about living according to who we really are as human beings.
Understanding that this is what the world needs – to overcome separation and violence, from and toward each other, animals and the earth – draws me deeper into veganism. It is a wonderful thing to live my values so fully with no compromises. It is a wonderful thing that the longer I’ve been vegan the more I see that there are no compelling arguments against living according to the principles of nonviolence, causing fewer animals and people to suffer, and minimizing our resource use and environmental destruction.
I will always be vegan because veganism represents our attempt to take care of each other, the planet, and ourselves. I will always be vegan because it’s the first fundamental step toward creating a more truthful, compassionate and just world. I will always be vegan because it’s the least that any of us can do to respect our fellow earthlings and this beautiful paradise.