Imagine you have just been born. You open your eyes to see your mother. A mother you have just met, but already love so immensely. You know she loves you too. You can feel it. You can feel how much she would give, what she would do, to protect you.
Now imagine a strange man appears, and takes you from her. Away from comfort, away from safety, away from your family. Now imagine he drowns you. Or perhaps he slits your throat. Or maybe, he leaves you on a garbage pile where you will die a slow and terrifying death.
But that life wasn't yours. Instead you stayed with your mother. For six weeks you bonded to her. When she disappeared, at least you had your siblings. They became your friends, your reason for joy. Then when you are just six months old, you're put in a large box. The box is cold, dark, it reeks. The scent of ammonia and feces is so potent, it makes your eyes water and your sensitive nose burn. There is no food here. There is no water here. You bump around, bashing into the others. It's scary. You want out. When the doors finally open, you are prodded down a ramp where you can smell the fresh blood. You hear screams, screams of fear and screams of pain. You don't want to move forward, but there is no choice. You must. You walk inside, and you never walk out. You die in there.
But that isn't your life. Instead you had a beautiful beginning. You were born to a strong and powerful mother. You lived in a spacious meadow with your mother and other mothers and their babies. You frolicked, you played, you loved. Then you became older. The meadow soon became a box. There was nothing to do. No where to go. No one to speak with. Just four dark walls, with one opening out. Food was the only joy. Running was the only release. Wow did you run. You ran, and ran, and ran. Then one day you didn't run fast enough. The box became a ring, where you were sold like an object, to the highest bidder. You were sold for your body, your flesh, your "meat". You were loaded onto a truck, where you stayed for 36 hours without food or water, until you arrived at your destination. It would be your final one. You entered a box for the last time, where the barrel of a gun pointed at your head. It shot you dead.
Imagine for just one moment, you were not born a human. Would you trade places with a horse, a pig, a cow, or a even a dog?
Would you trade places if it meant relinquishing ever decision, every want and every need you had to the hands of another?
Would you feel comfortable being treated as an object? Having your thoughts, feelings, and needs deemed unimportant or disposable?
Could you do it?
Every day, billions of animals are living these lives. Every day, billions of animals are living through situations far worse than that above.
Why? In order to achieve what the western world has deemed a "healthy and sustainable" diet.
And yet, the only time these words seem to be uttered when discussing the human diet, is when discussing someone who is plant based.
Perhaps it has been said to you, perhaps you have been to the one to say it. I know that was once my way of thought. Before I realized what was actually extreme...
Veganism is based on the principles of compassion, respect, and peace. It is about accepting that your life does not give you the power to end another's, and that you are responsible for your your own body and no one else's.
Today, 45% of the earths land is being used for livestock. This does not include wildlife or humans. This is the pigs, cows, horses, chickens, ducks and other animals that are being raised for the purpose of being eaten by humans.
Today is World Vegan Day. A day about sharing the world with all of its inhabitants. A day of equality, peace, and love. Love for ourselves, the animals, the environment, and our planet.
While our western world is geared towards a diet heavy in dairy and meat products, there is a movement that is growing. Slowly making its voice heard among the public, what once was a small community has progressively grown into a powerful and impactful community that is slowly changing our world. That movement is Veganism.
So please, the next time you pick up a fork, lift a spoon, or hold a knife with an animal product on the end of it, ask yourself. Would I be willing to trade my life for theirs? If only for a day?
If you answered yes - that's extreme.