It's true - you won't find any inspirational photos of me curled up next to a gentle cow on this webiste.
I haven't visited a real farm before. I've never touched a chicken (apart from dead ones before I ate them) and I don't really plan on changing this in the near future.
Of course, if someone said to me: 'hey, I'm going to this animal sanctuary tomorrow for rescued factory animals! Wanna come?!' I'd be ecstatic and would go along happily....but....will I actively plan to go myself? Well....probably not. I'll donate some money because I love what they do, but do I want to go and cuddle up to a goat? Honestly - not really.
I do love dogs, though. I'm a disgusting city girl and love having a gorgeous golden retriever to lie next to and share all my secrets with. As soon as I live in a suitable dwelling - I plan on rescuing as many dogs as I can bear from the nearest shelter or pound and giving them a loving home and full bellies!
But this is the question: do I consider myself an animal lover? All vegans have to be animal lovers, right? Because OBVIOUSLY we value animal lives over humans, right? We worry about animals all day long instead of trying to solve world hunger so I obviously love cows, pigs, chickens and goats, right?
I am really happy to fly in the face of this vegan stereotype. The truth is: I live in a city and wear nice-ish clothes (second hand if I can, but only if they're cute!). I do love going outdoors - but for walks or the odd-tree climb. I also love going out for dinner with friends and living my semi-professional life.
Basically - I'm proud to say that I don't think you would know I was a vegan unless I told you.
I don't wear "Go Veg" t-shirts, I don't live on a farm and I don't have dreadlocks. I love people who do all of these things, but it's simply not who I am. Being vegan is one part of me, just like being gay is only one part of someone who is gay. It's not their entire identity. They also have a job, family, friends, style and values that are not related to their gayness. Being vegan is not my entire identity - I just happen to not want to eat dead animals or their secretions. It doesn't mean I want it to take over my life. I do, however, want to try and spread the word of how much suffering people are accidentally contributing to. Thus: the blog!
It may shock some people that I've never even been up close to a chicken before. It may even make them think that because I have so little connection to these animals, it takes something away from being vegan. Why do I think so much of these animals when I know so little about them?
Well - I don't! I don't think "so much" of these animals. I don't think their intelligence is supreme or equal to humans. I don't delude myself that animals are acutely aware of every little thing all the time. I do not delude myself that animals are going to start inventing things or writing poetry.
So, does that matter?
All that matters to me is one thing:
Can they suffer? Do they feel pain?
You know the answer to that one.
Are they aware of their pain and suffering? Watching a baby cow getting taken away from its mother shows how aware they are. Are they aware of joy and happiness? Absolutely they are. Isn't that why organic, grass-fed nonsense is all the rage? Even meat-eaters acknowledge animals can be happy.
I don't need to go and cuddle a cow to know that it deserves life. I don't need to go and watch a pig play a video game to know that it's intelligent. I have a dog sitting right next to me, gazing at me with his massive brown eyes wanting nothing more than me to throw a ball. He's a little bit stupid. You know what, so was the guy I went on a date with last week. I'm not going to eat either of them.
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