Veganism: The Next Step in Moral Evolution

Before becoming vegan myself, there was an idea already in my head of some airy-fairy, mid-twenty new-ager who spoke of horror stories of undercover footage of how factory farm animals were treated or, better yet, someone throwing buckets of blood on people who bought fur coats…all in hopes of converting the uneducated meat-eating masses.

At the beginning, I did NOT decide to stop eating meat/dairy because of the humane aspect. In fact, my main reason was for the health benefits (check out The China Study to begin learning more). Although, I was (at least I thought I was) aware of the humane characteristic of the lifestyle –I never planned on shunning a Coach purse made of leather or bother finding out if the cosmetics I was buying was tested on animals or not.

Sure, I felt that the ethics a ‘lifestyle-vegan’ stood for was great and all, but I never thought of ever actually choosing to become one.  

That’s the thing – no one ever thinks they are going to become vegan. You simply do not choose change like that. 

About 8 months into my journey in eliminating meat and dairy, I found I had enough courage to begin to bear witness with my eyes and my ears to what we make approximately 72 billion animals (each year) bear witness to with their bodies and souls.

I purchased Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home and it was incredibly honest and incredibly powerful. (If you are wondering, this is NOT one of those documentaries that goes undercover and tries to shock-change people, you can learn more about it here)

Visual images are very powerful to humans. It’s very challenging to grab a rubber erase or a bottle of white out and simply scrap the emotion and reactions felt when witnessing a particularly moving visual scene. I think we all can easily re-call the smoke billowing out from the twin towers from 9/11 or those graphic pictures we where shown in high school history books of bodies piled up during the Holocaust.

People use many reasons to avoid addressing particular humane issues when it comes to the food they eat. People simply have “enough on their plate” as it is and challenging the deepest aspects of a person’s upbringing and education is enormously daunting. Not to mention that we are all pretty much neatly removed from observing any horrors of the meat, dairy and egg industry – just look at all those happy cow commercials, right?

Meat-eating, dairy-loving people truly believe themselves to be kind and compassionate to animals; they love their dog and cats, they give money to the local animal shelter and they even brake for a family of Canadian geese crossing a semi-busy street.

What is the underlying catalyst among those animal-friendly people who become vegan and those who do not?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a mother now (there are a tremendous amount of changes I’ve made since being a parent and I’m not sure if this can be attributed to motherhood or not), but the images and knowledge I now have pertaining to the unethical treatment (particularly of dairy cows - and their calves) has damaged me and when I recall the information I feel as sick as I did when I first learn of it.

In a strange turn of events, the one thing I thought I would never be able cease (dairy) is one of the main factors that has solidified me becoming vegan.

Dairy. is. no. longer. appetizing. to. me.

(…not to mention there are great alternatives available).

True, dairy cows aren’t raised solely for the purpose for slaughter…instead, to put it in perspective, their devastating existence is drawn out a few years longer. One dairy cow will give birth to approximately 3-6 calves all whom are immediately taken from her. The female cow will be administered  hormones and a constant stream of antibiotics. The substantially unnatural demand of lactation will deplete calcium from her own bones – the bottom-line: that she will generate enough milk to fill as many half-pint containers for school children to drink each day as possible.

When she finally finds herself free from this “life”, her body will produce 2,000 quarter-pounders to a fast food franchise that will serve 7 billion low-cost happy-meals a year. 

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I was asked last week by a colleague at work, if I truly believe the future of our diet as a community will not consist of consuming meat and/or dairy products.

I took a minute to consider the question and answer him honestly. The answer that surfaced did not surprised me, however the rationale did.

The answer is no, simply because compassion and reverence for Life is the goal of our human evolution.

Embracing veganism is not a moderate resolution. Instead, it is a dramatic, courageous, positive change the world is destined to experience. 

It takes courage to witness the suffering and cruelty that is being done on our watch. A part of you breaks. From that space, reverence and authenticity emerges.

The feedback I got when I asked my friends how they viewed people who choose not to eat meat/dairy was indifferent.

‘It’s everyone’s choice to eat what they want.’

‘As long as ‘they’ aren’t pushing their beliefs on me, then it’s fine.’

However, one simply does not choose to become vegan so it is impossible to try and ‘convert’ someone.

Becoming vegan is definitely isolating at times and (as with anything challenging within ourselves) it’s easy and more comfortable to focus on judging others – but that’s not what I choose to do.  I hope the people around me don’t think I am judging them or hoping to ‘convert’ them – because I truly understand veganism not to be a choice.

You see, I recognize that the only way to eliminate pain and suffering (by both animal and human) is very simple. Create Love and compassion in this world. This is our contribution and gift back to God (or whatever you choose to call it – the Source, the Divine, Buddha, etc). This Gift is not just a vegan’s gift but every and every one of us - to every creature (human and non-human) and with this we have the power to evolve our human race.


 The quotes provided throughout this post were taken from the book: Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust

5 comments:

  1. There is no real way to know what God, or nature, or whatever the case may be intended for humans to eat. We can make pretty good assumptions on what most other animals in the world were intended to eat, because they do not have the intellect of humans, so they don't really make a choice as to what their diet consists of. Instinct takes care of that for them. I get the idea that you find it wrong to kill another animal for food purposes. I'm ok with that being your belief, just as you are ok with me eating what I want. But how do you rectify it being wrong for us to kill other animals for food, when other animals do the same instinctively? Is it that our intellect should also bring with it the compassion that pushes you to be vegan? I feel that I am very compassionate of animals. With that my family does everything we can to get all of our animals products from local farms (our own included) where we know how the animals are treated. I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifice of life that those animals give to sustain my family's health. So I'm just curious how we are to know that it is wrong to eat meat, when other animals do the same, and when our ancestors (paleo) before us did.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Mike – I hope you know how much I value your insight! And I would love to send you my copy on Peaceable Kingdom to watch (just shoot me an email if you want to see it).

      Before I start – I have make absolutely sure that you know I think the way you and your family eat is amazing – whether that incorporates meat/dairy or not. I would love to have chickens of my own (although I would not eat them lol) and I know its not easy to take part in co-ops and be mindful of where meat comes from and if its raised humanely – at least not as easy as buying meat from your local walmart (gross).

      I’ll try and address some points you make.

      You mention we can make a pretty good assumption based on what other animals eat in their natural environment, and I agree with you on this.

      Man is classified as a primate since our body structure and system bears much in common with other primates (we are 98% anatomically identical to a chimpanzee). It can definitely be assumed that our natural diet could quite easily be very similar to, or identical to other primates – which consists of fruits, plants and insects. Yes, chimps do occasionally eat small animals but this consists of only 4 percent of their diet and most meat eaters are male.

      The most recent view of the historical diet of humans is that early man was exclusively a fruit eater. Dr. Alan Walker, an anthropologist of John Hopkins University, found this evidence by using electron microscopes to study fossilized teeth and fossilized human remains. (The New York Times carried a feature article on the Walker research on May 15, 1979. – here is the link http://files.meetup.com/161258/Fruit%20and%20Nuts%20was%20Diet%20of%20Ancestors.doc)

      If you compare eating an apple to eating a piece of meat/dairy, biologically – it’s VERY different. When you eat an apple, you are ingesting over 191 known friendly phyto-chemical compounds and over 1300 chemical reactions in your gut to properly break down and dispatch the molecular components of the apple.

      When someone eats a piece of meat/dairy the gut does not contain the strong acid required to digest it. In fact, an allergic reaction takes place. Excess mucous coats the toxins in the attempts to pass them as quickly as possible- but because meat/dairy have no dietary fiber, they pass extremely slowly, putrefying along the way.

      Without getting into too much detail, the first two weeks of eliminating dairy and meat, I was pooping 3 times a day (and they weren’t solid lol – sorry if this is too much lol) – I just thought that is how vegan poops were. But after a few weeks my body went back to normal –after reading more about it, what I was experiencing was my body going through detox and getting rid of all the accumulation. Yuck lol.

      Does me choosing not to eat meat make me anymore compassionate then anyone else – absolutely not, and I’m going to have to try and re-word some of the things I might have said in this post if this is what it sounds like.

      I don’t want to come across as ‘holier-than thou’…

      I do believe if people were more aware of what happens behind the scenes, then change would happen more quickly – however, I believe it is inevitable that people will become more like you and your family..or maybe even me lol. That’s doesn’t mean we are better then anyone else – it just means we are different. : )

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I know of no other being on this beautiful planet that behaves towards it’s food source the way humans do – be that animal OR PLANTS lol. (i.e. treating it chemically, genetic modification, brutality, etc.)

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  2. That's not too much detail. lol Not in the name of science. :)

    Anyway, I can't cite any specific information, since I haven't been collecting it for a rebuttal. But I have read plenty of things that say the opposite of what your information says as far as digestibility of food. I've definitely read of cellulose not being able to break down in the human gut, on its own. Here is some more anecdotal, disgustingness for thought. lol It is plant based foods that tend to more often come back out the way they came in, visually. This would lead me to believe that those plant based foods aren't breaking down to actually release nutrients. This has lead people who oppose your view to say the same thing about accumulation, and needing to detox. I personally believe both could be right to some extent. I moreso believe though that any time you make some drastic change to what is going into your gut, that it is going to have to take a little bit of time to change the way it processes it.

    I'm no expert on the subject, but as you know, I am willing to listen to anything. Most of what I have read that has made the most sense to me has been coming from paleo diet experts. For the time being, I'll be continuing on that path. But I definitely take all the information in that I am able to. Overall though, touche'. lol

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    1. Excellent point as usual. I have to admit I have not read that much about paleo, however, I know it has a pretty large following. Sounds like I need to do some reading :)

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  3. Becoming a mother was definitely responsible for my switch from vegetarian to vegan. It was only once I was producing milk myself that I began to look into and fully comprehend the horrors of the dairy industry. Additional research into other aspects of veganism quickly followed. I now find myself on the animal rights/abolitionist side of things.

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