In an article published in Rolling Stone, musician Moby explains why he is vegan. Moby sums up his epiphany: Sitting on the stairs I thought, “I love this cat. I would do anything to protect him and make him happy and keep him from harm. He has four legs and two eyes and an amazing brain and an incredibly rich emotional life. I would never in a trillion years think of hurting this cat. So why am I eating other animals who have four (or two) legs, two eyes, amazing brains, and rich emotional lives?”
Moby’s article describes almost perfectly my journey as a vegan. Like Moby, I was born into a household of animals. I still remember the orange tabby cat that lived with us when I was a baby and toddler. The animals in the household grew over the years to include a dog, a pet tortoise, a rescued bird, budgies, rescued rabbits, adopted cats, and so forth. My parents always lived in fear of what stray animal I would bring into the home next. I always assumed the responsibility of caring for them, and they all became part of the family. As a child and teenager, I ate meat, but deep down, I never felt comfortable doing so, as I always pictured the face of the animal I was consuming. When I moved out on my own, I decided that I could no longer eat animals because I loved them too much.
It’s difficult to explain the bond I feel with animals. I am reminded of the line from Jane Eyre, where Mr. Rochester tells Jane that It feels as though I had a string tied here under my left rib where my heart is, tightly knotted to you in a similar fashion. I feel this bond with every animal I encounter, however briefly. Because I live with cats, people refer to me as a cat person, but I’m not; simply, put, I’m an animal person. I love all animals, whether they are covered with fur, feathers, or scales. Like Moby, I first gave up eating meat, but continued to eat fish and seafood; I stopped eating the latter two, as I realized that they are living creatures too. The next step was to embrace veganism, as I could on longer participate in any practices that involved , or contributed to, the suffering of animals, no matter how humane these practices are purported to be. I have followed this lifestyle for twenty-eight years, and have never looked back.
Like Moby, I try not to proselytize or to force my views on others. In this blog, I certainly do make my feelings known about veganism and animal welfare, but it’s because I want to raise awareness, not because I want to preach. I know that my veganism can make some people uncomfortable, but I know that this discomfort is usually more about them rather than me. I have been blessed with family and friends who respect my choices and accept me for them. Not following the norms of behaviour tends to make you an outlier, but when I look at the eyes of animals, as cliché as this sounds, I know that it’s all worth it.