"Why Vegan?" is the second most asked question after "hanefrah beeki emta?"
A lot of criticism, irony and mockery surround this topic in Egypt. People find it silly to feel compassion for animals, since we are living in a country where human souls are barely respected; which makes perfect sense to be mocked to not only respect humans but also animals.
I understand the ignorance, I will put up with the sarcasm and I will tolerate the aggressive attitude because deep down I feel sorry for the people who jump the gun and judge us, and for the fact that they fear us shaking their principles and the way they were raised.
However, I demand to be heard and to explain why I decided to go vegan, why I have shaken the norms of my society and why I have decided to question what I am raised to follow blindly. I will put down few of the major perceptions that changed, which eventually led to me becoming a vegan:
1 - Animals feel, they have SOULS!
Animals are neither a piece of meat nor an instrument of entertainment. They are SOULS who feel love, hate, fear, pain and compassion just like us! They feel and they hate fearing for their lives constantly!
2 - Animals live in communities like us
They have families, connections and communities just like us. They do not want to be separated, they do not want to be murdered and the definitely feel pain when a mother is forced away from her kid or a kid is slaughtered in front of his mother. They feel compassion! They have blood connections. Not having as a mind as ours doesn’t make them any less of souls!
3 - Animals do not want to die
Who with a soul looks forward to his death?
Who with a family is eager to depart them?
Animals have been referred to as “it” in our communication in order to strip them from all needs of compassion and equality – NO, ANIMALS ARE SOULS! THEY DESERVE COMPASSION.
4 - Animals have NOT been created to get tortured in slaughter houses
They are not meant to be born, raised and fed in order to fatten for a delicious meal. They are not meant to be raised in dark, filthy and inappropriate circumstances for all their lives. NO! They deserve freedom, happiness and free will to become what God has created them to be; and they were not created solely for the purpose of becoming a meal for us!
5 - Animals are not means! They are living creatures
The minute you digest the idea that animals are creatures with feelings and emotions, you change everything. You see it all differently! You start the compassion and cut the superior arrogant attitude we were raised to have as “the super upper race”.
6 - Animals are companions
We share this planet with animals. We live side by side in order to flourish this planet. What humans are developing and doing now is bringing this ecosystem down to their will with no consideration to any creature we share this planet with – be it animals or plants. To go green is no joke, to go green or vegan is a serious decision to better the human impact on Earth.
7 - Humans can live and prosper without meat
We were raised to believe the human race needs to feed on the inferior species of animals in order to survive – BAM, NO! We can obtain protein from plants like broccoli, mushrooms, quinoa, and all sorts of beans.
8- Humans are NOT the superior species to control all others but to help one another
Again, we need to change our understanding of our position within the ecosystem. We are not at the top of the food chain! That is a phony lousy lie. We are within the ecosystem food chain, but we are most definitely not at the top! There is no top and bottom, there is only an instinct for survival and hence an instinct to satisfy the basic biological needs. And eating meat is not a survival need anymore; it has become a luxurious whim!
9- Having brains, humans are demanded to keep the balance and not screw it!
And even if you believe that humans are a superior species, please explain how come the superiors are the one who suck the most at their own environment. How come we are proven to be the worst, most abusive species on the planet – killing animals and destroying plants?!
10- Screw the industrialization of the animals’ business – be it entertainment, sales, cosmetics, fashion or food.
A vegan lifestyle doesn’t only concern the food industry, we are aware of the animal abuse and we exhaust all our efforts in boycotting all industries that lead or have an explicit implication in animal torture and abuse. Be it the circus where animals are beaten for human entertainment, be it the animal farms that breed and sell animals for money, be it the cosmetics’ brands that test and experiment on the poor helpless animals that do not necessarily have the same genetic reaction as ours, be it the fashion industry that skins animals alive and kill them for their skin, fur and teeth in worthless so-called “haute couture” brands of clothes and accessories, or be it the food industry that breeds, fattens and slaughters them for luxurious delicacies; we boycott it all and we raise awareness against it all! (await another article where I go in-depth in each industry and showcase how animals are mistreated and what alternatives are available).
Unfortunately, one cannot un-see what is been prevailed. Once vegan, always a vegan – it is a personal commitment and self-promise to cause no harm nor inflict any pain on any other soul. It is a peace forum you sign with your own soul.