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10 months ago

In LOVE with Humanity

A tribute to some of humanity’s greatest Heroes; 153 men & women who have chosen, via their brave words &/or noble deeds, to reflect the deeper Greatness residing within us all

Hero #140: Vegans First

Hero #140: Vegans First coined in November of 1944 by Donald Watson when he co-founded the Vegan Society in England, ―vegan‖ at first meant "non-dairy vegetarian", and later was amended by Watson to refer to ―the doctrine that mankind should live without exploiting animals‖ whatsoever. Millions of the Earth‘s human residents are already vegans these days (almost 7% of Americans, according to a 2013 Public Policy poll, and roughly 2-3% worldwide), and yet, as often happens to concepts & principles over time, the term ―vegan‖ has been unfortunately watered down to mean many different things to many different people. That having been noted, I feel it is important to clarify which ―vegans‖ I have nominated to ―Hero‖ status with this chapter, and the easiest way to do so is to start by explaining to whom I do not refer – what ―vegan‖ does not mean to me … *To me (and all other ―ethical vegans‖ like me), veganism is not a diet – even though it does indeed tend to help one look more beautiful and feel more fit. *To me, veganism is not an environmental movement – though it is indeed by far the most multi-faceted (and by far the most effective) way to protect the Earth‘s ecological stability and preserve its natural beauty – not to mention the most effective way to minimize the impact of the Mass Extinction Event that already on its way; a Mass Extinction Event brought on by man-made climate change, which in turn has been primarily brought on by the animal agriculture industry. *To me, veganism is not a call to preserve a fair & equitable distribution of resources to those in need – though every new vegan does indeed bring the world‘s poor that much closer to sustainability, the world's thirsty that much closer to clean water, and the world's hungry that much closer to food. *To me, veganism is not a health plan – though its lifestyle undeniably does indeed bring greater energy, less debilitating illness, greater clarity of thought, and a much longer, much happier, and much healthier life. *And finally, to me, veganism is not about striving for ―spiritual enlightenment‖ – though becoming a vegan does indeed harmonize one‘s values with one‘s choices; bringing with it a deep sense of peace that can only properly be called a ―soothed Soul‖. No, my Friends, while all these aforementioned ―vegans‖ are indeed surely fine & dandy folks, they are not the ―Heroes‖ mentioned in this post. For to me, vegans are simply any people who willingly abstain from using other sentient beings in any way – not as sources of food, not as sources of clothing, not as sources of entertainment, not as sources of research – not as commodities or indentured servants in any way whatsoever. And yet, after penning and re-reading that last sentence, I feel it didn‘t do proper justice to my Vegan Heroes … And so I prepared this short tribute to explain further the depth of their service and the grandeur of their sacrifice; to make it all the more clear to you just what vegans ARE, first & foremost via what vegans DO ... 158

As it turns out, the simple economic workings of supply & demand mean that each & every vegan saves the lives and prevents the suffering of anywhere from 100 to 400 aware & caring animals every single year. Noam Mohr, a mathematician & physicist at Queens College, puts the average number of annually vegan-saved animals at 198, while a mathematician named Harish puts that figure at 406 (his mathematical proofs of this subject are pretty complex, and he notes on his webpage that his 400+ estimate is a probable underestimation), but these figures don‘t really matter. Even one life saved would make going vegan more than worth it, and it is an indisputable Truth that doing so saves far more lives than merely that one. And yet even this noble doing is not the primary reason for me giving vegans their aforementioned ―Hero status‖ … Consider the following illuminations into what it truly means to me to be a Vegan: *Vegans are people who make their daily choices as though animals matter; as though animal cruelty is wrong, and not a right. *Vegans are folks who have remembered that they have the power to refuse to take another life for their own enjoyment – and they are the people who refuse to pay others to do that taking for them … They have replaced the ―might‖ of being able to dominate & terminate others with the ―Right‖ of refusing to do so. *Vegans know that intellectual sympathy and emotional empathy, while well-intended, are not enough when we come faceto-face with injustice ... Vegans know that action is necessary to effectively combat any evil. *Vegans are those who not only recognize the injustices being perpetrated against millions of animals around the world every day, but they are also the people who have chosen to actively DO SOMETHING about these crimes. They know that what we each allow in our own everyday private lives is what will persist & continue throughout society as a whole, and as such, they have chosen to refuse to allow cruelty & injustice & abuse to infiltrate their everyday choices. And thereby, they have lessened the prevalence of those travesties in our greater global society as well. 159