It all started 46 years ago when I was 12 years of age. My brother told me 'meat' was a dead animal. I took my first step into rebelling against society and rejected the practice of eating animals. No one else around agreed, encouraged or supported me. But I was a rebel WITH a cause.
When my parents made my older brother break his prom date with 'Mary Ellen Stoklas' who was not Jewish, as a statement, I brought home my new friend to meet them; the only black kid I could find in the all white, predominantly Jewish school. I was a rebel with a cause. I wanted to teach them that they could never make me prejudice like they were. I made a stand. I still work diligently to ensure that I don't judge people based on irrelevant criterion like the ethnicity or region of the globe that they happened to be born into, but rather on who they made of themselves. Based on relevant criteria like “character”, I find humanity to be a scary species of animal, endowed with a serious self-involvement that starts early on in childhood and grows into them being the biggest pest our planet has, while having the chutzpah to call other animals “pest animals”.
My mind can't even conceive that humans can be so cruel....viscous. How can anyone drag a newborn lamb from his/her mother, brutally killing the baby; often in full sight of a distraught mother sheep? What kind of a species takes pleasure in terrorizing animals; as in rodeos, pig wrestling, running of the bulls, bull fighting, spinning dog festivals, dog fighting, and sadly the list goes on and on....on to holding animals in captivity to entertain humans; like circuses, zoos, seaquariums, animal acts, and horse-racing tracks. And the list continues to animals in laboratories, to animals used for food, clothing, and other products and practices. I'm a rebel with a cause. That cause is “Peace on Earth”. Veganism is our best hope of literally bringing about “Peace on Earth”. Vegans have risen above “lip service” to embody their longing for Peace on Earth. Every step of the way, with every choice or purchase, a vegan votes against cruelty, violence and slavery.
|Spinning dog festival|
When I was 21 (in 1978 and pre-internet), I read about dairy production in a vegan magazine. The article described the torture cows and calves routinely endure for humans to steal the breast-secretions from another species (that is not meant, by nature, for humans, but for their own calves.) I rebelled against societal norms and immediately proclaimed myself a vegan. If society thinks this is acceptable and normal behavior, I wanted to be anything but normal. So I rebelled against society and did what I thought was right. I was so alone in my rebellion of a society where it is legal to use animals as if they were things rather than the beings they are, a society where people don't consider our shared environment – but instead – pollute, consume, and waste, and where greed drives them to kill animals, people, trees, forests and rain-forests, and who continue to overpopulate a violence-plagued planet with threatened sustainability, and where the word “integrity” is a hardly-ever-heard word, and where reason is not ruler.
Because I experienced a man beating me up, I can reach to my own sense of empathy and never want to physically harm any human or animal. Because I was born Jewish and learned of the unjust massacre of my ancestors, I can empathize with the oppression of others. If I were born 75 years ago in Europe, I would have been falsely imprisoned and murdered, for no justifiable reason. That really hits home for me. Because of this, I am able to empathize with all others who are in need of my empathy, including other species of animals. And perhaps especially other animals, because so many wage war on them - and they are innocent victims. They cry, scream, bellow, plead with their eyes, run away, try to turn around in the chutes leading them to slaughter – but people are deaf to their cries and blind to their obvious desire to live their own life. It's our ethical duty to right this atrocious wrong. I'm a rebel with a cause; that cause is to help end anyone's oppression.
You can not live a life of Truth and side-step “the vegan thing”. Vegans – all vegans – are rebels with an important cause. In a nonviolent way, they are rebelling against the accepted but uncivilized violence that permeates Earth. Any sentient (conscious, perceptually-aware, feeling) being has the birthright not to be violently assaulted, sexually-violated, owned and objectified, by any member of the human race. Why? Because humans CAN be vegan. It's good for us. It's good for animals. It will be good for our planet too if we embrace vegan living as normal. It IS normal. It is normal to NOT want to kill and torture feeling beings. What is now accepted as normal is truthfully not normal.
Being vegan is something we can actually do to stop all the violation of basic rights; to literally stop the slavery society has been built upon, and the violence people literally nourish themselves from. Becoming vegan is joining a rapidly growing worldwide movement that is trying to bring about a new and improved way of living. Get with the times. Like a hippie protesting war, a suffragette protesting sexism, or an abolitionist protesting slavery, be a vegan demanding animal rights, and on the right side of history. Be a rebel with a cause.