If we care about animal welfare, going vegan is not a choice but a necessity! Throughout history, we humans have been exploiting animals for our own selfish reasons, sometimes for food and sometimes just for entertainment. But now the time has come to end animal abuse. Animals endure miserable lives every single day, solely because of our selfishness. The only way to alleviate their suffering is by going vegan.
Certain incidents that occurred during my childhood compelled me to reflect on the way that we treat animals. In India, Diwali is the festival of lights, with many decorations and colossal street shows in most of the streets and lanes. I remember when I was about 5 years old, standing on one of the balconies of my home and watching the fair with great curiosity. Then came the moment that everyone had been waiting for: the procession of an enormous elephant that marks the beginning of the festival. I saw a beautifully adorned elephant walking down the street. But as he was moving, I could see his pale and shriveled skin clearly. His head was drooped, and it was probably irksome for him to move in the long and noisy parade with firecrackers bursting next to his ears and young kids playing with his tail. I asked my father, “Dad, why is the elephant so shriveled, and why does he look so sad?” My father replied, “He is shriveled because of his age. He might be over a hundred years. Old elephants sometimes get agitated by such processions, or maybe he’s too tired to walk.” I said, “He’s older than grandpa and even more shriveled, so he shouldn’t be working. Please stop him!” But at this point, my father was at a loss for words. At that time, I was too naïve to understand the hypocrisy of the world, yet in my little brain, one thing was clear: I did not want elephants to be tortured for our amusement.
Another similar incident occurred when I was watching television at home and came across a channel that was broadcasting Spanish-style bullfighting or the “running of the bulls.” I saw a man being chased by a bull, and moments later, the bull’s torso was pierced by spears. As a child, I could not understand much about the significance of this “sport” or its rules, but I understood that bullfighting is a vicious, barbaric “game” that involves torturing innocent creatures—something I would never approve of.
A third incident was quite horrific and became a turning point in my life. Since childhood, instead of being taught that chickens are living beings, I was conditioned to believe that they are just food to be consumed. My eyes were opened when at the age of 6, I accidentally entered a butcher shop.
I still remember very clearly when my dad drove us to the local butcher shop. When we arrived, my father told me to stay in the car while he went in to purchase some meat. Since I was a curious kid, I left the car and entered the butcher shop. I was astounded and froze when the man in front of me held a chicken by the neck and killed it right away. This scarred my soul to the extent that from that time forward, I couldn’t bear the sight of chicken prepared as food. After this incident, I gave up eating meat for the rest of my life.
Today, it is easier than ever to make the compassionate decision to go vegan, as more and more people discover the countless benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Going vegan is the most effective thing that we can do for animals, the environment, and our health. What are you waiting for? Make the compassionate choice today!
Written by PETA Asia Intern Avni Singh Chauhan