Uday Bhobe, Mumbai, India
It was New Year’s Day, 2013, a month after my 53rd birthday. On a whim, I made a resolution to go vegan, or so I thought; I now know it was merely a resolution to try a plant-based diet. (I make New Year’s resolutions every year. They usually last a couple of weeks.) An omnivore since birth, I had encountered several excellent articles and speeches by eminent doctors and dieticians. The health benefits of a plant-based diet were obvious to me.
My new diet was working very well. I live in Mumbai, but I was in the US on a longish business trip (5 months). I started reading more about veganism. The ethical side of veganism made compelling sense to me. The logic was clear and irrefutable. Non-human animals are on this planet WITH us and not FOR us. We do not have the moral right to use them for any purpose—never mind murder them, rape them, or steal their milk, eggs and babies. We have no right to treat them as our property.
It was probably around January 20, less than three weeks after my New Year’s resolution, that I had a flash of insight—a moment of awakening. It was like one of those optical illusions, where you look at a picture of a very elderly woman, and suddenly see the young girl too. In that instant, I understood what veganism really was. In that instant I knew I would always be vegan.
I remember feeling depressed for a while. How could I have missed this simple truth? How could I have chosen to consume animal products for 53 years? Oh well… better late than never, I consoled myself. Soon I extended my veganism to clothing and household goods. I also began to tell my friends and family about veganism.
I educated myself about the differences between animal welfare (typified by single issue campaigns) and animal rights (characterized by the abolitionist approach and an uncompromising stance towards veganism as a moral baseline). I read articles and watched documentaries. It became clear to me that veganism was the only antidote to speciesism. I now believe that veganism is the minimum standard of decency, and do my bit to spread veganism.
This is one New Year’s resolution that I will never break in my life.
Vegan for life—for the animals.
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.