Vor zwei Tagen war ich wieder einmal in eine dieser heillosen Diskussionen auf einer bekannten a-sozialen Plattform verstrickt. Irgendwann hatte ich genug von all den Rechtfertigungs-, Ablenkungs- und Beleidungsmanövern. Auf einmal war es sehr wichtig für mich, nicht nur für andere, sondern auch für mich klarzustellen, worum es mir geht und warum es so wichtig ist für mich und für die Tiere. Da ich mich in einer englischen Diskussionsgruppe befand, habe ich es entsprechend auf Englisch formuliert, werde dies aber bald übersetzen:
When I read through all these comments defending our needless harming and killing of animals I can’t help but see my former self. Myself denying their moral relevance, myself trying to rationalize and to justify what I knew to be wrong deep in my heart, but couldn’t admit. That was the one, the only difficult, part about becoming vegan: Admitting to myself that I was doing them wrong, that I was wrong.
The company of dogs has opened my eyes to the fact, that they have rich emotional lives, and I am sure that most people who care for dogs, or cats, or any other animal, can relate. Their joy and love of life seems to be limitless, their affection for their family, friends, and even us, flows freely and when they are afraid their fear and their suffering is bottomless, because they cannot understand, cannot rationalize, cannot defend themselves. All they can do, is beg not to be hurt, beg not to be killed. They do talk to us, through eye contact and body language, their screams and their whimpering, but we choose to look the other way.
The moment you dare to look into their eyes with an open mind and an open heart, you cannot help but realize that there is someone there. A person looking at you, not an inanimate object. And that person asks but one question: “Will you hurt me, or can I trust you?”
That was the hardest part of becoming vegan. Admitting to myself that I had been betraying them, that I was not the good person that I liked to think of myself, that I was the one paying others to hurt them, to exploit them, and to kill them, and all that for no good reason at all, because we don’t need any of the things we derive from them. We can live healthy, happy lives without harming them.
That moment of clarity, when I took down the blinders and really looked at them, finally seeing their personhood, finally understanding that their emotions are not different from mine, that their interests are as important to them, as mine are to me, was excruciatingly painful and extremely wonderful at the same time. The grief about my complicity in their suffering was, and is, profound. And the relief about being able to end this complicity was, and still is, immense.
That moment of clarity, when I became vegan, was one of the most beautiful, albeit most horrifying, moments of my life, and I cherish it deeply. I am thankful for it and will never ever put on the blinders again. I am grateful for all the vegans before me, who dared to speak up for the animals, and helped me to overcome the conditioning and the cruel, violent, ideology of human “superiority” and “entitlement”.
Stop having victims. Be fair. Be vegan. I promise: You won’t regret it.