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The Vegan Evolution: A New Era for Humanity

The Vegan Evolution: A New Era for Humanity

“It often happens that the universal belief of one age, a belief from which no one was free, or could be free, without an extraordinary effort of genius or courage, becomes to a subsequent age, so palpable an absurdity that the only difficulty is to imagine how such an idea could ever have been deemed credible.”
—John Stuart Mill

The vegan ideal embodies the highest of ethical aspirations – non-violence, justice and compassion toward the innocent. Yet this deep and powerful value system continues to be marginalized by society. The example set by those who embrace these principles is too often vehemently opposed, trivialized or simply ignored. But the effects of this paradigm shift in perception are far-reaching, and the rewards beyond measure.

And yet, it somehow appears that the light of veganism is so bright that people are afraid to open their eyes to it, even individuals whose eyes are open to the truth behind other social causes. What is it that makes us cling so stubbornly to a practice that is clearly unnecessary, devastatingly cruel, and, if left unchecked, will almost certainly end up destroying us?

More and more people are recognizing the prejudice and injustice inherent in enslaving and slaughtering animals, in order to feed our appetite for flesh, eggs and milk. It is no secret that animal concentration camps create breeding grounds for all sorts of infectious diseases. It’s also becoming known that animal products are detrimental to human health, and that animal agriculture, including ‘free-range’ and ‘organic’, is implicated in some of the worst crimes against the planet. Even the truth about the animal industry’s role in world hunger and food shortages is starting to come into the open.

With all the advancements of human ‘civilization’, our addiction to killing keeps us in the dark ages. It inhibits us from cultivating our capacity for kindness, empathy, and justice; the very qualities we need to develop if we are to move forward into a safe and prosperous future, in which we do not fear one another.

In a world that makes little of preying upon the innocent, showing callous disregard for the pain and suffering of animals is not just accepted, but is frequently promoted in different forms by our society. Why would this be, when so many of us feel such a strong bond and love for animals?

Animals remind us of our own connection with (and separation from) the natural world, a world we once shared with them. Out of our intense desire to leave behind a way of life where daily survival had to be fought for, we managed to climb out of the world of nature, leaving behind the terror of the predatory paradigm. But rather than using our position of advantage to help our fellow animals, we have used it to further oppress them, and to push them into lives of even more fear, more pain, and more suffering, this time at the hands of those who claim to have evolved beyond their animal instincts to become creatures of moral conscience. It is for this reason that we feel guilty when we look at animals, because something inside us knows that we have betrayed them, and we continue to betray them, on a massive scale.

Animals value their lives, and strive to be free from pain. Since the same qualities exist in us, empathizing with them comes naturally. When we suppress that empathy, it makes it impossible for us to look more deeply into the true nature of animals, and the rest of the natural world that they rely on for survival.

Indifference toward the suffering of other creatures is an accepted societal norm that calls out for us to remember what basic human values are: justice, empathy, compassion and respect; for the natural world, for the other animals, and for our fellow humans. By re-evaluating and renewing our commitment to these fundamental values, and by calling attention to the need for an ethical evolution, we can create new standards of behavior, motivated by our desire to be better people. Only in this way will we become deserving of the position of stewardship that our physical evolution has granted us, but which we have rejected in favor of self-serving domination.

All over the world, animals are imprisoned, enslaved, tortured and violently killed, and all over the world, people who are otherwise kind, gentle and caring, continue to ignore this unspeakable suffering. And yet we wonder why the human race is plagued by violence on a world-wide scale. We go about our business, acting as though this state of violence does not indicate something terribly disturbing about our psychological state, individually and as a whole. Our lack of concern for innocent beings has caused us to de-sensitize ourselves to suffering, which in turn enables us to inflict pain on each other.

In the words of Russian novelist Count Leo Tolstoy:
“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”

The vegan ideal is at the core of the shift from predation to protection and from prejudice to justice; an essential step into a way of living that is more suited to the nature of people who care about the suffering of others, and who can empathize with another’s situation. The vegan solution contains within it the power to solve even the most overwhelming problems we are facing, on every level from personal to planetary.

If we are to have a future, the people who live in that future will not be addicted to products that are a result of exploitation, suffering and environmental devastation. They will not source their food from animal farms or slaughterhouses, but from fertile gardens, vibrant orchards and veganic farms. People will be kind, compassionate, gentle and just.

This quantum leap in perception may seem unlikely from the position we are in today, but it is within this very change that our hope for the future lies.

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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6:38PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

I thank you for the articles on veganism as a lifestyle not just a dietary change. I have decided to go that route for ethical reasons after watching a brutal series of videos that made me ill. I consider myself a very compassionate & avid animal lover but had not given that much attention to factory farming until most recently. So I have decided that I must do this if I am to say I am concerned about animal welfare. Not just for pets but for all Our Mothers creatures. I have written down you references to follow up on, for further information.

6:53AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

Having been vegetarian for about 15 years and vegan for a little over 1 year, when I walk by the meat section of the supermarket, I can't believe that I ever sorted through those packages of meat! I almost gag walking by. I'm very happy with soy milk, almond is just too thick for me. There are so many vegan products available now it makes it easy. You don't have to shop at out of the way specialty stores anymore. It probably won't happen in my lifetime, but imagine the world without animal products!

1:07AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

John D, well done for taking that first step. Many of us vegans had particular non-vegan foods which we were loth to give up. Mine were cheese and cream! However, today, if I were even tempted to buy a piece of cheese or a cream cake, all I have to do is see that poor, tortured cow suffering from constant pregnancy and with her udders hanging on the ground and crying for her babies who are snatched from her a day after birth. Then it's easy to walk past the dairy shelves in the supermarket or the ice-cream van on the sea-front. As regards a milk substitute, I put soymilk in my cup of tea but don't like to drink it. However, I absolutely LOVE rice milk and drink gallons of it (figuratively speaking). I tend to buy the fresh, organic one which you will find on the milk shelf rather than the long-life one. It's delicious. I also drink Oatly. Other people like coconut milk and almond milk too. I assure you that when you have given up on milk for, say, a month or two, you will find that the taste of it - together with the thought of the cow - will make you feel sick! I used to like drinking milk but can't bear even a mere drip of it in tea. If someone were to give me a cup of tea with cow's milk in it, I would know immediately. Yuck!!! Good luck, John. Oh yes, also think of your heart and what milk does to it.

7:03PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

L'ingresso per il resto della piumino Moncler 3% al 7% dei dati delle vendite ogni anno per la progettazione e lo sviluppo a partire dall'inizio del 1996. La proporzione è alto quanto l'input allo sviluppo di industrie high-tech. Ha una forte attività di sviluppo di resistenza DuoNian Piumini Moncler. Moncler rende un vantaggio unico. Aperto Moncler Giacche esportare in tutto il mondo. Le donne amano indossare l'abito in questo momento speciale, feste, matrimoni, ecc Quasi tutti i negozi si trovano tutti nel mondo di piumino Moncler. Ora, questi abiti possono anche acquistare on-line attraverso. Moncler Giubbotti vendita Il prezzo di questo tipo di materiale è differente in base al loro design e tessuti.

4:36AM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

I became a vegetarian a year ago. I didn't do it for my health, but for the health of the planet. Still, the health benefits to me just naturally followed. I'd like to become a vegan, and the only thing standing in my way is my love of an ice cold glass of milk. Soy milk doesn't do the trick. Anybody have any suggestions to help me kick the milk habit?

9:22AM PDT on Sep 15, 2010

Let our conscience be our guide.

8:53PM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

Thanks so much for the background philosophy behind being vegan. I always knew it was a way of being rather than just eating.

9:25AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

As always, Angel, you have incredibly elegantly verbalized issues that stir passions and heart ache. Thank you for this vision: "People will be kind, compassionate, gentle and just." I demand it. Love and peace, D.

2:28PM PST on Feb 27, 2010

Hey Angel! Just wanted to let you know that I've been vegan for 4 months now and am still going strong! Thanks for the encouragement!

1:52PM PST on Nov 15, 2009

Thank you for this great article. I have translated it in Czech and would like to publish it in the Czech Republic in one of its major magazines/newspapers.
Please, contact me at jcejka2cat@aol.com.
Thanks!

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