Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love is a Five-Letter Word

Yet another Valentine’s Day is upon us and while we are forced to think about our relationship status every 14th of February, I find myself thinking about what it really means to love another.

Birds do it. Bees do it. Even vegans do itfall in love. Thankfully, vegans are growing in numbers every day, making it easier to find other vegans to love. While it is still difficult meeting that special someonedespite the Internet and its various dating sitesit seems to be even harder finding a good man who is also vegan or, at the very least, open to becoming one.

While some may think veganism is simply a dietary choice, it is actually a manner of living incorporating a value system that promotes a healthy body, a sustainable planet and compassion for all animalsboth human and nonhuman alike. It is also a social justice movement that involves everyone and stands to benefit everyone. Vegans not only abstain from eating animals or animal byproducts, but they also avoid doing anything that harms animals or exploits them, like wearing the skins, furs, and feathers of animals; buying products that have been tested on animals, and attending events that manipulate and abuse animals like circuses, zoos, aquariums and rodeos.

Sadly, much of our culturehijacked by big agribusiness and the media monopolydupes people into believing that they have to eat animals and their secretions, like cow's milk and eggs, to be healthy, even patriotic. Men are especially pressured into believing that they have to eat meat in order to be considered “real” men (see any Chevrolet truck commercial).

No human needs to eat animals, their mammary milk or their ova. In fact, Rory Freeman, who brought veganism to the mainstream with her best-selling book Skinny Bitch, wrote another book titled Skinny Bastard, in which she and co-author Kim Barnouin prove that caring for animals and eating well is not mutually exclusive, nor is it a girlie thing.

There are many good men and women out there who love and care for animals, but whose love dissolves at the dining table. All too often we forget about those who suffer to end up on our plates, on our designer clothing and in our medicine cabinets.

For those men who think eating animals validates their masculinity; keep in mind that most women seek out men who are compassionate, thoughtful and considerate; men who are independent-minded, who don't think only of themselves and don't feel compelled to compete with the Jones’. The true essence of a man is in his capacity to love and have compassion for others . . . which brings me back to Valentine's Day.

I’d like to think that Saint Valentine would not object to changing the name of his feast day to Vegan Day. What better way to spread love than by choosing this day forward to help ourselves and others by adopting a vegan lifestyle?

Anyone who elects to eliminate cruelty from his life and diet, who opens his heart to the sentience of all creatures, is the embodiment of love. And just like love, veganism is about honoring all beings and working toward something greater than ourselves. If we expand our lives to this love, not just on Valentine's Day but all year long, we will receive love in return each and every day.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Very well written.