“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” -Charles Darwin
It had been two years since turning pescetarian from carnivore and a few months now since choosing vegan. This is the typical journey for most; to give up seafood and eggs takes a little time after you’ve eaten it all your life. I knew this was coming because I firmly believe that #thefutureisvegan. Science claims that our brains have developed over the ages because of meat consumption. So be it, this is from a time when humans were hunter-gatherers and did not know how to cultivate their own food before the agricultural revolution circa 10,000 BC, also the time we started building permanent settlements.
We’ve made it, we’re a highly intelligent species above the rest and we continue to evolve at an alarmingly accelerated pace. It was around 200 years ago, after the industrial revolution that we saw our population go from 1 billion to almost 8 billion today, accompanied by a massive extinction of plants and animals. A beautiful book by Yuval Noah Harari ‘Sapiens’ that talks about human evolution since the beginning of time is a must read and I’m unable to finish it because of the sheer amount of mind-blowing information it contains. The highly evolved Yuval is vegan.
One year ago, when I tried to give up seafood I even went to buy a cheap fishing rod from the supermarket. “If I’m going to eat fish I should be able to catch my own”, but I never went around to even trying. You’ve seen it, the hook catches the fish, pulls it out of the water and it flaps for its life to be free. Not over yet, the head of the fish needs to be bashed in to declare it dead. This is the ugly truth. Are we lacking nutrition without animal products? 1 in 10 people in the world are vegetarian and seem to be doing just fine. Many other species, horses, cows and gorillas to name a few, thrive on plants. Why should we continue on this path? Taking lives to satisfy our tastebuds.
Being outside of India, giving up dairy products (milk, cheese and butter) did not prove difficult. In a world with much hype about lactose intolerance, many plant-based alternatives have been brought to the shelves. Diligence is still required to choose what to consume; with all the processing, additives and preservatives, these products can be more harmful to your health than ‘normal’ milk. Because for now it’s still normal to drink the milk produced by a mammal for its offspring. A cow, like a human, cannot lactate without first giving birth. Humans make milk for baby humans, cows make milk for calves. There are many documentaries that show how the whole ecosystem is abused to take milk from a cow, so in my head procuring dairy products is still animal abuse especially at the scale it’s done today.
I did struggle with the idea of right vs wrong for a while with dairy, because it seems harmless. Our culture has been practicing this and it’s okay because the cow is a sacred animal to Hindus, which I can relate to but I have my reservations. This lifestyle may have been okay centuries ago. This is not the case today, the industry has become unsustainable and the information is all out there, but we choose to be ignorant. Adding to this, the livestock industry is destroying the planet; a lot can be learned from the Netflix documentary Cowspiracy.
I keep saying ‘never say never’ and ‘change is the only constant’ so I don’t know if one day I roll backwards. It does make a difference where one lives and what the environment has to offer when it comes to choices. I gave up meat some years ago and stuck with it, so this upgrade looks like it will also stick around, as long as I’m happy with my decision without any suppression.