You can see it on random products, here and there, at the supermarket. At the health food store. Online. Those two tiny words: cruelty free.
Those two words encompass a whole world view. An entire way of life. Veganism. And contrary to what some people think, it isn’t just people in California who are deciding to drop everything, go vegan, and lead a healthier life.
What does “living healthy” mean, anyway? After all, there are people who eat meat, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and live to the ripe old age of 95 before closing their eyes for the last time. On the other hand, there are people who eat right, exercise, lead a balanced life, and drop dead of a massive heart attack in the middle of a morning jog, at the age of 37.
Obviously, there are some health benefits to eating a well-rounded plant-based diet, but that isn’t the health that I am talking about right now. I am talking more about mental health. Psychological stability. I am talking about stopping this constant turning of a blind eye to our fellow Earthlings. There is no way that this is good for our psyche.
Right now, it is pretty much impossible to justify eating meat. People do it due to reasons of convenience, tradition, habit, and taste. Even if they are not willing to admit it, those are their reasons. And if anyone wants to bring religion into this equation, there is absolutely no way that God would condone this kind of behavior towards creation. Animals are no longer hunted in their natural habitat. They are grown. They are born and raised for the single purpose of being slaughtered, quite unnecessarily. Considering the fact that these days, we can get anything and everything we need from the ground – or, if necessary, from dietary supplements – there is no real reason to eat meat, and no way to morally justify this ongoing behavior.
There is no way that this kind of living is healthy. We are taught from a young age that animal products are good for us, and are also taught not to question where these products are coming from. So, when I say “healthy living”, I am not just talking about medical conditions and diseases. I am talking about what this kind of living does to our minds. The idea that animals are products is inhuman. We are human beings, supposedly the superior beings. The enlightened beings. The dominant species of planet Earth. Is this how enlightened individuals act?
Many people eat meat only because they can’t really tell what goes on inside a slaughterhouse. If they did, I would bet good money that many of them would not be able to eat meat again. At least not factory made meat. And why? Because this is not healthy. This is the very opposite of healthy. Whether people are aware of it or not, when they consume mass-produced animal products, they are perpetuating the cycle of violence, suffering, and death. They are affectionately patting the back which goes with the hand that is a holding a knife to the throat of every animal, every day, every second.
Cruelty free. These two words symbolize a radical, yet completely natural, philosophy. Live and let live. No, it isn’t the law of the jungle. Nor should it be. After all, do we still live in a jungle? Even if we did, I promise you we wouldn’t be getting our meat that way. We would be hunting and gathering, properly. But this? Mass producing animals, force feeding them, injecting them with hormones and chemicals, mentally and physically abusing them, torturing them, mutilating them, and then selling them as a packaged product in a nice clean store?! How is this justifiable? How is this healthy?
Cruelty free. These are not just words. It is a revolution. One that says: I will not go along with this anymore. I will not lend a hand to the unnecessary torture of animals. Not in my food or my drink, not in the clothes that I wear, not in the soap and shampoo that I use, nor in my conditioner or deodorant. Not in my makeup, my tooth paste, my shoes.
Some animal testing is unavoidable. I am not so naïve to assume that we can cease and desist with all animal testing. For science, actual disease-preventing science, some testing is needed. But in many cases, it is no longer necessary. Yet people go with it, because they are not aware. People will believe whatever they are told to believe, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their plans or agenda. I am sure that there are still some people who believe that animals actually enjoy being stuck in a tiny cage with a date of execution hanging over their heads. I am sure there are people who are certain that cows simply adore it, when their babies are taken away from them as soon as they are born and then slaughtered to be sold as veal, while she is being sucked dry of all the milk that was supposed to be theirs.
Is this how human beings are supposed to act? Like monsters? Like unusually cruel oppressors? Are all of us really so heartless?
Living a cruelty free vegan lifestyle says a lot about a person. It says that they are no longer following blindly. They are not turning away from the systematic suffering and killing of others, if they can help it.
Some people disagree. They say: no, first you take care of humans, then you can focus on animals all you want. They say that it is a very “holier than thou” attitude. And to them I say: really? Or are you just saying that in order to excuse yourself from owning up to the life of heartlessness and non-compassion that you are leading?
There are some things we cannot change or control. That much is obvious. On the other hand, there are things which we can and should control. To paraphrase the Serenity Prayer, what we all require is the grace to accept what we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to stop living a lie.
Live healthy. Live vegan. Live cruelty free.