Craig Cline, Salem, Oregon, USA
I will always be vegan because “it’s the Golden Rule thing to do.” This moral and ethical precept teaches us that we should behave toward others as we would have others behave toward us. Non-vegans conveniently take the word “others” to mean other humans. Vegans consider others to include ALL members of the animal kingdom, both humans and non-humans alike.
Generally, humans know that the non-human beings we call animals have characteristics, and rights, that are fundamentally similar to those of the human beings we call people. It therefore makes logical sense that the spirit of the Golden Rule should also apply to non-human beings.
Non-vegans conveniently permit there to be a disconnect—a barrier—between human rights and animal rights. However, elemental logic suggests that there is no real conflict between these sets of rights. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are mutually inclusive. Humans should be “for” both.
I often use the term “animal wrongs” instead of animal rights. This makes it easier for people to see that they simply do not have the right to perpetrate “wrongs”—either directly or indirectly—against the other sentient beings known as animals. It is morally “right” for humans not only to stand up against wrongs, but also to take personal action to end them. Americans took such action during the civil rights movement in the 1960s; to move toward eradicating the abomination of racism.
Today, we should create a national/international social justice movement that focuses on eradicating the abomination of speciesism. It is speciesism that is THE underlying cause of all the exploitive injustice that the human species wreaks upon the non-human species. We’re at a point in our human evolution where we must recognize that fact, and DO SOMETHING about it.
Most vegans understand that the practice of speciesism permits abject cruelty against, and causes the undeserved death of, other sentient beings by human beings. Vegans know that speciesism is wrong. Vegans make a morally and ethically based “crossover”. They become “humaneitarians”—humans who live as humanely as they can—in the true spirit of the expanded application of the Golden Rule.
Because I so wholeheartedly believe that the vegan lifestyle represents the “Golden Rule way to live,” I will always be a vegan.
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.