Keith Berger, South Florida, USA
I will always live vegan because, ever since the moment my eyes were opened to the horrors and atrocities of the culture of animal exploitation pervasive throughout our current global community, I refuse to participate in, support or encourage the system of animal slavery, torture, rape, mutilation, deprivation and wholly unnecessary and unjustifiable death I see all around me.
Humans do not kill and eat other animals for necessity, though that is the myth to which many cling. Rather, humans slaughter billions of land and sea animals each year for habit, tradition, convenience and taste, none of which would hold up in court as worthy defenses were we to use these as justifications for having killed even one human animal.
The moment I realized the holocaust in which I had been a participant, a light turned on inside me that cannot be turned off. I immediately understood that since I would not knowingly support the terrorism, bullying, rape, and murder of members of my own species, I also couldn’t justify condoning such behavior across species. As one person elegantly put it, when my heart spoke louder than my stomach, I changed forever.
Because it was the normal, accepted way of raising a child in the United States (today I know “normal” is just a setting on a washing machine), I was forced to consume products of animal exploitation and indoctrinated into an animal-product addicted culture before I was able to make my own choices. Once I knew the truth and learned I had other options, I made the choice to live a vegan lifestyle.
A plant-based diet is far healthier for humans and the planet than one involving the raising and killing of non-human animals for food. As any of the millions of vegans—and non-vegans—around the world know, consuming products of animal exploitation is unnecessary, gluttonous and cruel, as well as wasteful and environmentally damaging. It comes as no surprise that a way of life linked to such internal maladies as cancer, heart disease, impotence and diabetes would also have adverse effects on our external environment.
I will always live vegan because I am no longer selfish enough to require another sentient being to suffer and die for my convenience. I live for the day we no longer have to create humane societies, but instead simply choose to live as one.
Special thanks to Butterflies Katz for including this as one of 100+ entries in her short essay contest and the resulting published collection: Why I Will Always be Vegan.