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When I tell people I’m vegan, it usually comes with a few expected responses. “Wow, how do you not eat cheese?” Or maybe, “I could never be vegan, I love bacon too much,” and the occasional, “Cows don’t even have feelings.” And of course, “You know you’re not going to change the world by being vegan, right?”
Those are all real quotes from real people. Some people’s responses are more ignorant than others. I like to think I’m not the kind of vegan who imposes it on other people. If someone asks me why I am vegan, I will tell them. I will never try to convince them to be vegan or change their diet in any way and I won’t stand outside clothing stores like PETA does and hold up dead animals and tell the people walking into the store that this is what they’re buying. So, why am I vegan?
Personally, I don’t agree with the way that animals in factory farms are born, raised, fed and killed. These animals spend their entire lives in extremely small captivity, literally living in their own poop and being cut off from sunlight. For cows to produce dairy and have more children, they are impregnated with insemination rods. Calves are then taken from the mother as soon as they are born, causing emotional distress to both cows — calves raised for meat never rejoin the mother. With chicken production, baby male chicks are killed and ground up because they don’t grow enough to be sold for meat or lay eggs. Veal is made from cows living in tiny crates with no sunlight exposure so that their muscles become weak in order for them to become anemic to tenderize the meat for human consumption. Chickens are pumped with steroidal hormones and antibiotics, becoming so large and disproportional that they can’t even hold themselves up and are physically unable to move.
When I look at a bowl of yogurt, for example, it doesn’t appeal to me because I genuinely understand how that yogurt got onto my plate. The problem with society these days is that we choose to detach ourselves from things. For example, we detach ourselves from garbage, most of us not even considering where our garbage actually goes once we throw it in the trash. Similarly, we detach ourselves from our food, not really considering where it came from or how it was produced.
The torture that these animals endure is something that I choose not to partake in. These animals watch other animals get murdered in front of them, living an extremely painful life and I don’t want that kind of negative energy that comes from these animal products in my body. I know I can’t change the world but I can change my own actions. I’m conscious of the reality of what goes on in factory farms — therefore, if I can still nourish myself and get all the vitamins and minerals I need without eating animal products, I will choose not to partake.
I know that all of society will not suddenly become vegetarians or vegans. Yet, I think we need to cut down on our animal consumption. We don’t realize how many animals we truly kill a day, not to mention all the dairy products we consume. Animal products have to start being consumed in moderation. Yes, humans have a long history of eating meat — but it used to be that humans would kill a lamb and it would last a week for an entire family to eat and consume every single part of the lamb. So much food is wasted these days and way too many animals are tortured.
It’s all supply and demand. Agricultural companies would not thrive if it wasn’t for people buying their products. We have the power to stop factory farming if we choose. Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” If the power of change is within our capacity, then why aren’t we taking control?
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Domna Dali at firstname.lastname@example.org.