Have you ever been driving on a highway and come alongside a cattle truck? Or perhaps you’ve had the experience of going fishing and feeling a pang of sympathy for both the worms wriggling on the hooks and the fish flapping their bodies, in a desperate struggle to return to life-giving water.
Were you saddened when you first found out how many animals in the wild face extinction? Do you remember going to the zoo and watching big cats and other wild animals pacing back and forth in their cages, resorting to insane behavior due to the unnatural limitations of their surroundings? When was the last time you were at a circus, or a rodeo? Did you realize then that the animals had been driven, through cruelty and confinement, to a state of abject terror?
Have you ever experienced the slaughter of an animal, on screen or in reality? Or maybe you’ve seen a documentary on the unbelievably horrific reality that is the life of laboratory animals, tortured by lab-coated sadists. Maybe you grew up on a farm and as a child befriended a cow, or a lamb, or a goat and then witnessed your friend being led to his or her death.
If you’ve ever come across someone abusing a dog, were you tempted to intervene on the dog’s behalf? Perhaps you have experienced the inside of a so-called ‘humane’ pound, and felt tears well up upon seeing the pitiful eyes of the condemned individuals who knew instinctively that they were on death row, awaiting execution by lethal injection.
If you’ve ever eaten lobsters after they were put in a pot of boiling water, can you recall the sound their claws made on the metal, in their frantic and vain attempt to escape? How ‘bout a pig roast? Have you ever been to one of those? If so, I’ll bet your stomach and your heart ached to see the animal recognizably whole.
From a different perspective: Have you looked into the eyes of an animal, and seen feelings like your own reflected in them? I imagine you’ve seen movies such as Bambi, Babe, or Charlotte’s Web, and felt a kinship, a siding, with the animals in the film. What have you done with the feelings of compassion elicited from these experiences? What have you done to end the abuse of both wild and domestic animals you loved when you were a child?
Have you forgotten or are you trying to ignore the irrefutable truth that cruelty should be abolished wherever it is found? Are you trying to smother that truth so as not to have to deal with the obvious ethical, morally justifiable course of action? And have you been finding out that the truth cannot be smothered? Truth lives in your conscience, and will remain there until you make the decision to live that truth.
If you’ve seen Earthlings or heard a powerful animal activist speak, or watched any one of countless documentaries that enlighten as well as horrify your conscience, there are only two ways to deal with such information: by ignoring the reality you just became aware of, or by resolving to do what you can to remove your own complicity, which means to stop eating, wearing, and using animals in your own daily life. In other words, to become vegan, and to live with a respect for all life: the animals, and your own.
If they could, every animal in the world would rise up, and with one pleading voice, say to you:
“What on earth are you waiting for?”