The light of veganism is spreading. As a near 50 year vegan, I am amazed that a concept virtually unknown even a decade ago, could become the new evolutionary paradigm known throughout the world. In 2019, it will be a safe bet that most people will know, or even be related to, someone who is vegan. It has become an issue seen as worthy of rational discussion.
Veganism, a movement which was once economically destitute, is now experiencing more prosperous times. Remember when TV shows would ridicule tofu and all things vegan? Not so anymore. Vegan restaurants are a burgeoning business. In many countries, major companies, seeing the trend away from slaughterhouses to gardens, are investing in vegan brands on a major scale. Would anyone have guessed that fast-food restaurants, obviously due to demand, would be offering vegan alternatives on their menus?
It’s hard to imagine now, but I can attest to the fact that there was a time when the common belief was that eliminating animal products from one’s diet would not only guarantee a depletion of strength and health, but might even lead to one’s early demise. That myth continues to be debunked by long-term and recent vegans including body builders, athletes and endurance competitors. Even the medical establishment is beginning to accept that a vegan diet is healthier for the human body, and will, in fact, greatly reduce one’s chances of triggering cancer, heart attacks, diabetes and many other diseases.
It’s now common knowledge that global warming, deforestation, pollution, resource scarcity, and many of the other ecological problems we face are either caused by, or exacerbated by, the animal industry. With the advent of the internet, the reality of the horrors experienced by animals has been presented in film and documentaries to a previously unknowing public. Who could have predicted the closing of Barnum and Bailey, the world’s largest circus, because of the outcry against the circus’ abominable treatment of animals?
People’s perspectives and values are changing, and this new perspective is the most, if not the only, hope I see for the future of humanity. Imagine tigers and lions becoming herbivorous. Now, imagine how different that would make these animals and their behavior. For one thing, you could pet a plant-eating lion or tiger. Strange though it may sound, humans who go from the killing of their food to the growing of their food experience similar changes. For one thing, they become much more petable. As writer and holocaust survivor, Isaac Beshevis Singer wrote, “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”
Veganism is not simply a different way of eating. It is a different way of seeing and feeling that embodies the principle of ahimsa, or reverence for life. It gives us the prerequisites for peace: compassion and empathy. Simply put, veganism is feeling for another’s feelings.
To be vegan is to see life not as it is, but as it should be.
To be vegan is to see ourselves not as we are, but as we should be.