written by Andrew Knight, D.V.M. ~ United Kingdom
Once on a hike in America someone asked me what I did, and I replied “I’m a vet”. She asked, in all seriousness, “What war were you in?” For a sun, sea and surf-loving creature from Australia, this was something of a shock. Wars are about as rare for us as rain. This was apparently not so, however, for the Americans.
I am a vet; just the much more boring type. I’ve never fired sub-machine guns from the hip whilst charging enemy positions, nor rocket-propelled grenades at hostile tanks, from the smoking shells of burnt out buildings. I don’t fast-rappel from helicopters into hot zones. The closest I get is when I occasionally fall out of bed.
And yet my vetting is nevertheless far from dull. I’m in academia now, but until fairly recently I was a small animal vet in London. Whether it was short-snouted pure-bred dogs collapsing from heat stress, cats hit by cars, caesarean sections on rabbits, hedgehogs attacked by cats, or giving injections to corn snakes, no day was ever the same.
Less exciting but far more common were all the routine vaccinations, parasite treatments and neutering operations. Although less glamorous than the emergency cases, these routine preventative healthcare measures undoubtedly saved far more lives and alleviated more suffering than all the more dramatic medical and surgical treatments I ever provided.
Similarly, I’m a vegan because I can save more lives and prevent more suffering by simply not supporting the killing of animals for food and fibre, etc., than I ever could simply by being a vet. And when you look at it that way, veganism becomes pretty exciting indeed.
Special thanks to Butterflies Katz for including this in her compelling essay collection highlighting diversity amongst vegans:
I’M A VEGAN: One Movement, Many Voices.