20 seconds

20 seconds. 

10 minutes.

Three times a day.

For every mouthful of food you take, depending on what it is, you can spend about 20 seconds breaking it down before swallowing it.  These are the only moments that you are able to truly experience the pleasure of your food given from the throat down, our bodies are just going about business as usual making sure food is digested without any sensation (ideally!). 

If this 20 seconds of rolling food around in your mouth on your tongue and biting it before making it small enough to get down your throat is the only experience you get from your food for 10-20 minutes, three times a day at least, can you justify that experience, however pleasurable, for taking the life of someone who did not want to die?  For that 20 seconds of what you most likely are barely even paying attention to, the products that go into that bite had a process that could have taken lives, if not was responsible for prolonged suffering prior to that moment of death. 

The milk in your ice cream and cheese came from a mother mourning the loss of her child, one who was either killed not long after birth for being a boy, or raised for veal in a small crate with no social interaction for 20 weeks. If her babies were female, they were raised to maturity before being forcibly impregnated to produce a calf that will then be taken away just as she was at birth, never to see her mother again so you can drink the breastmilk from another species as an adult human.  When the mother is around five years old, she is taken to slaughter as her milk production declines along with her profitability.  It is no longer financially worth it to keep this mother who has had multiple babies stolen from her at birth because YOU think you need her milk and cannot be bothered to keep dairy off your plate. Cows live to around 24 on average, but YOU thought you needed a damn piece of cheese and couldn’t just step over a meter to the vegan cheese section and make a better choice.

The egg you had for breakfast came from a hen locked in a shed (yes, even free range hens live in massive sheds…) for 18 months of her life, crowded with other hens in a stressful and filthy environment. She has had her beak tip burned off to prevent her pecking the shit out of her roommates while she experiences this intense stress, and she is provided with no medical attention if she gets sick because the cost of the vet care is going to be more than the price of her dead body.  She is unable to spread her wings, to dust bathe, to ever see sunlight.  Again, this is also free range. This is organic, too. When she gets to the age of lowered egg production since she has been genetically manipulated for extreme rates of producing eggs that cause many reproductive problems, she is culled along with thousands of other hens who have been exploited for their entire lives lived in misery.  If she were a male, however, she would have never made it past the first day of life.  Six billion male chicks are ground up or suffocated worldwide every year in order to bring you that scrambled egg breakfast.  This includes backyard hens.  How many backyard roosters do you know?  Females are exploited worldwide for their reproductive capabilities for milk and eggs, while males of those species are killed because they do not have any profitable production aside from their corpses.

That’s only eggs and dairy.  That’s ignoring the over two trillion sea animals pulled from the ocean to suffocate, the animals farmed for meat, leather and fur, and those ridden for entertainment, poked and prodded for research, bred and sold for companionship, and imprisoned for zoos.  We have chosen some species to protect and many more to deny freedom from suffering and death.  Some we love, and some we regard as nothing more than commodities with no feelings at all. 

The “pleasure” or utility we gain from their use can easily be replaced by literally anything else, and yet we continue out of habit, tradition, stubbornness, and ignorance. 

No amount of convenience, pleasure, or utility can justify the suffering we cause. 

The simple acts of change to become vegan are worth their lives.  Ending the industries that cause this suffering is as simple as ending demand for them.  No laws will make their lives more liveable if they continue to be commodities for humans, property to be used as we feel necessary. 

If you have not already seen any documentaries on veganism, try Cowspiracy, Dominion, Earthlings, What the Health, and Forks Over Knives to start.

Go vegan today.  The only thing you’ll regret is not doing it sooner.