Clinton Vernieu, Brisbane, Australia
Now that I am awake, I cannot go back to sleep. Awakened from a culturally induced slumber, I have made a pledge to myself—but, more important, I have taken an oath for other animals. I am now their caregiver, witness and companion—I will never be able to justify their exploitation. This connection is now embedded deep within my being and there is no going back.
I will stick with being a vegan because it is the tougher road to travel. It would be much easier to stay asleep, and blissfully unaware of what happens behind the walls of the slaughterhouses and testing facilities. Becoming a vegan connected the dots for me, and I can no longer claim ignorance or indifference. Making the connection removes the veil and exposes the reality that society has gone to great lengths to conceal. As a vegan, I view the world through a lens of compassion and empathy. I can now see through the walls and will never again allow myself to be blindfolded or misled by the masses.
For me, veganism is not a fad diet, social club or some kind of life-crisis, attention-seeking hipster ideal. It is a moral philosophy and lifestyle with a foundation of certain principles and tenets, not all that dissimilar to other “isms” that denote a specific practice, system or philosophy. It is not temporary or just a phase; it will be a lifelong journey of progress and learning. Vegan for life—and for their lives.
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.