Before I became vegan — before I stopped using animals for food, clothing, entertainment and other reasons — I used to think I lead a mostly nonviolent life. I used to do whatever I could for injured or “homeless” animals when I came across them. I attended rallies and protests for all kinds of human social justice issues. I was horrified when I would hear stories of animal abuse and cruelty, but meanwhile I would sit down 3 times a day to ingest violence. I would wear the skin of a sentient being on my feet. I would wear the woollen coat of a sentient being on my body and so forth. My animal use was like breathing.
One day I accidentally came across some information about the dairy industry. I was mortified. I could not believe that I had been participating in this unspeakable violence. I realised I had been living an unconscious life. I could not believe that this could be taking place and be viewed as morally acceptable.
Even though I was vegetarian for much of my life, I was still participating in great violence because I was still eating and wearing animal products and viewing animals as resources. For most of my life I mostly accepted without question the speciesist position that other animals are our property. I am sad that it took me so long to wake up from my speciesist haze. I call it a haze because I didn’t really question what we were doing. I mostly took it all for granted that this was the way it was supposed to be.
Speciesism is so powerful and pervasive. It’s frightening really that I was completely indoctrinated and could have gone on that way for the rest of my life.