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It has been 8 months since I started working in an animal shelter. Though I originally came here for a job, after what I do here stopped being a job and has turned into something that I do on a voluntary basis, I have entered a phase that has changed me to my thoughts.
This phase, which has enhanced my love for animals, has taught me that we, as humans, are indebted to these creatures, to whom we leave no living space. I want to specifically focus on a changing worldview here.
I am going through a phase, in which I have started asking myself, “Should there be a link between being an animal lover and having a lifestyle that is called veganism, vegetarianism or the like and puts an emphasis on sensitivity towards animals and their products?”
I will try to express my thoughts on the question, “What stance should animal lovers take towards animals and consuming their products?”
This article is being written not to make a determination, but to make people think about this issue and open it up for discussion.
I don’t know why, but I am finding it more and more strange that a person who loves dogs eats lamb, someone who keeps a cat eats rabbits or a person who has a bird eats quails!
I am trying to understand how a person who loves and protects animals, works to provide a more peaceful life to them, has them treated when they get ill and sheds tears when they get hurt can easily consume an animal or its products without giving it a thought!
We all know how the ones who market animals and their products treat animals, driven by the ambition to gain more money.
The living spaces of chickens are the cages that do not even let them move and they live out their lives in those cages.
All cattle and sheep are fed with a system that makes them gain more weight by depriving them of their freedom to move.
Lambs cannot live to the age of one.
Calves cannot drink the milk produced by their mothers for them so that we can drink it.
The situation of all livestock is similar and as for their ways of being killed for their meat, they are so brutal that it cannot be accepted by any normal human being.
I can understand the ones who don’t love animals, but I cannot understand how a person who loves animals consumes animal products despite being aware of all these.
The digestive systems of humans, who were not carnivores in the beginning, might have let them consume meat after they started eating meat out of necessity in the ice age!
It cannot be an excuse for an animal lover to eat meat, but it is still not what I focus on here, I am referring more to its aspect of love and conscience.
It is all very natural that I am bothered when I see the ones who don’t change their eating habits though we know that a life without consuming meat and animal products is possible and, on top of that, while we live with the label of an animal lover!
I am not vegan.
Though I have completely stopped eating meat, I am still consuming milk, cheese and egg, which, I am sure, won’t last very long, considering the unease given by these thoughts.
Since I approach this issue from a conscientious point of view, I am becoming more and more clear that I have to adjust my eating habits in such a way that they will not cost animals their lives.
I don’t want to be a party to the suffering, torture and death of animals.
I shouldn’t be! And I won’t be!
And I want my animal loving friends to think at least by being honest with themselves, to argue with themselves and give an ear to the voice of their conscience.
Being an animal lover is not only about keeping and feeding a cat, a dog, a bird or any other animal, it shouldn’t be.
Being an animal lover means loving, protecting and supporting all animals in nature, improving their quality of life and helping them to lead an easier life.
Crying one’s eyes out when a dog dies or is killed and, in the meanwhile, making another animal live a life full of pain and suffering, causing its death, being a client of that market and taking an insatiable pleasure in eating them is such a great contradiction that I cannot possibly understand this contradiction!
I am inviting everyone who has assumed the identity of an animal lover to seriously think about this issue.
We either love, protect and keep alive all animals or we just rip off the animal lover epaulets that we put on our shoulders and consume animals and their products with ease.
There cannot be a middle way in this.
Or, I have to be convinced that I am wrong, convince me. (NT/AS/SD)