The following is my own essay from the book Why I will ALWAYS be vegan; 125 essays from around the world.
Butterflies Katz, New Zealand/USA
I've been vegan for 39 years, therefore it is safe to say I will always be vegan. I committed to vegan living before any health benefits of the vegan diet were known. I stopped eating animals at age 12 when I learned “meat” was a dead animal, and became fully vegan immediately upon first reading about the ethic, when I was 21. This demonstrates that I never believed humans have a right to breed, enslave, exploit, and kill animals. I will always find it unethical, and I won't ever want to be complicit in the objectification of feeling beings.
I feel repulsion for all animal-exploiting industries and their disturbing products derived from animal abuse. For example, milk is meant for babies of another species who are killed (just after birth) so people can steal their sustenance. Leather, fur and other fabrics worn by humans come from animals who need their own skin. Somehow it is accepted as normal to eat rotting corpses, or to be entertained by animals stolen from the world they should live in, wrongfully imprisoned, and forced into demeaning (and often harmful) acts, tricks, or labor. I will never want to pay for products that are tested in the eyes of rabbits or to steal the food bees make for themselves. I am not drawn to that way of thinking. I have zero desire to be violent to anyone; human or other animal.
If one is not vegan, they are directly paying for animals to be violently assaulted on their behalf. Long-term vegans are proof we can live vegan; thereby making veganism a social justice issue. I will always want to do my part in advancing humanity to a species that does not intentionally and needlessly violate the inherent rights of conscious, perceptually-aware, feeling beings. Animals that are exploited for human purposes also fear death, desire to nurture their newborn, have families, have eyes and faces, are communicative, and have pain receptors, a brain, and a nervous system which gives them the capacity to suffer.
Through the decades, I've come to see the many far reaching natural outcomes that will result from humans embracing vegan living. Planetary healing and a less oppressive society will replace the environmental degradation caused by farming animals, and the violence that presently plagues our planet. I will always want to be a pioneer of humanity's next step. I strive to live my life guided by the Golden Rule, the principle of nonviolence, and “doing the right thing”, therefore I have no choice but to be vegan.