VeganMofo day 18:
Honor a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism.
I recently realized that there was one animal who truly inspired me and is behind my journey of becoming both vegetarian and vegan–the lovely chicken.
I became vegetarian in 2000 after thinking it was sad that chickens were killed to make chicken nuggets and in 2009 I became vegan after reading this passage from The Face On Your Plate:
“Konrad Lorenz, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on animals, understood the plight of farmed chickens. He wrote that ‘the worst torture to which a battery hen is exposed is the inability to retire somewhere for the laying act. For the person who knows something about animals it is truly heart-rending to watch how a chicken tried again and again to crawl beneath her fellow cage mates to search there in vain for cover.’ “
I could not stop crying after reading this. I could imagine all these chickens desperately trying to find a safe place to lay their eggs but that place just did not exist for them. How could we do this to other living beings? I did not want to be a part of that or of any of the many ways we harm animals by farming them.
Chickens, along with all the other animals we co-exist with, inspire me everyday to continue living a compassionate plant-based lifestyle. I am not going to lie, there had been times where I felt being vegan was a struggle (at social gatherings and parties, when you go somewhere and there is nothing you can order, when people question you and your protein intake, etc.) but I always would think back to those chickens. How can I contribute to their suffering as well as the suffering of all the other animals providing food for humans? It would make me stop whining immediately and renewed my beliefs in being vegan.
My hope is that one day humans can come to respect every animal, no matter how big or small, and realize that they are put on this Earth for their own reasons, not to be exploited and used as our food.
The photo above is of Tiny Comb, a hen rescued by Animal Place from an egg farm where 50,000 caged hens were let without food and water for 2 weeks. Tiny Comb is not in a safe place and loves napping beneath the perches in the barn. I was able to raise funds to help feed Tiny Comb and the other hens at Animal Place through Easter cards from my paper goods line, Atiliay, last March.