So, I did it. I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and watching Earthlings. I reasoned that, whether I consume/use animal products or not, there are things that I need to be aware of and they need to really sink in to my brain. Sure, someone can tell you all about the these things, but you don’t get the emotional response from that, the way you do from actually viewing it. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it.
What finally forced my hand was something that happened a few weeks ago. I was home during the middle of the day, reading on the couch in the living room, when a bird crashed into the window, right next to my head. Seeing that poor little robin lying on the ground in shock really threw me for a loop. I’d heard how hard it hit the window and figured it wouldn’t last long, and so I thought I would leave it in peace. I was crazy upset about it, being certain that the robin would die and watching it suffer, but not feeling like I was able to put it out of its misery, nor was it my place. I’m sure there are laws about interfering with wild animals, and what could I possibly do?
After an hour went by, with me repeatedly checking up on it and my distress level sky-high, I got advice from a friend to wrap it in a towel in a box and bring it inside. So I did. I kept an eye on the little guy and as it gradually began to show signs of having more energy (it was probably cold!), I decided to take it back outside and see what happened. At the very least it might be more comfortable in the fresh air.
Once out on the patio, the robin perked up and started its journey back to the yard. As it hopped up onto the edge of the box, I was able to get a picture of it. I’m pretty sure one of its wings is damaged, as it was held at an odd angle. I watched the bird as it continued to hop across the yard and eventually was gone.
I don’t know if the story has a happy ending or not, but while I was watching over the robin, I did a lot of thinking. If I cannot bring myself to end the life of an animal that I believe to be suffering a mortal injury — even out of love and compassion for the animal — and I know that I could never bring myself to end the life of any other animal, why does it seem to be okay to buy the meat of an animal at the grocery store? I could not kill that cow, chicken, pig, or turkey, and if I was present in the slaughterhouse, I would be sobbing hysterically. To be honest, I think most people would. And there’s the problem, the disconnect. We don’t have to see that terrible sight in order to buy the product, so it’s easy for people to look away, to feign ignorance, to dismiss it. But I didn’t want to be disconnected anymore.
So I watched Earthlings — and sobbed hysterically.
Thinking about it right now, I’m crying again. But I have a renewed determination not to be part of this horror, this atrocity toward the other living beings who share this Earth. On January 3, 2010, I became vegan, but I was not strong in my conviction, and so I faltered many times. In that state of mind, it’s easy to lose your momentum when you’re surrounded by others who pull at you to be normal. I guess you could now call me a born-again vegan, as of April 4, 2013. People used to ask me why I was vegan, if it was for ethical or health reasons, and I would give the cop-out answer that it was for a variety of reasons, but yeah, mostly for my health. Now I have no qualms about declaring that I am an ethical vegan, and if I’m asked why, I will explain why.
Side note: Why is it that, when you say you’re doing something for yourself, to improve your life and your health, people accept that answer, but when you say that you have compassion for animals and don’t want to contribute to their suffering, suddenly you’re ‘one of those Animal Rights people’ and a freak?