To Practice Nonviolence, Begin with Who’s on Your Plate

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3 min read

In 1969, roughly 2 million protesters took to the streets across the U.S. for the Peace Moratorium march—one of the largest anti-war demonstrations in U.S. history. Peace and justice are ingrained in our values, but do we all truly take them to heart in our personal lives?

Buy vegan, and no one gets hurt.

Practicing nonviolence starts with our everyday actions, the things we do and say—and buy. If we want to persuade people to be kind and empathize with the plight of others, the most logical place to start is by doing that ourselves! We all eat. But what—or whom—are we eating? Is there violence and bloodshed inherent in each bite?

Living vegan means confronting and rejecting horrendous violence. Each person who goes vegan spares more than 100 animals a year from near-constant abuse—such as being confined to cramped enclosures filled with their own waste and trucked through all weather extremes with no access to food or water, only to have their throats cut in a noisy, terrifying slaughterhouse.

These days, we can’t escape constant, alarming messages about terrorist threats and what we must do to combat them. But if we are against extremism and violence, we must recognize that terrorism happens beyond airports and shopping malls: It’s in evidence in every meat and dairy aisle.

We respect the rights of nations to live in peace, free from oppression and imperialism. The same should go for animal nations.

There are lots of problems in the world that deserve our attention, and killing billions of animals for food is one of them.

When sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned a letter responding to those who asked why he and his supporters should concern themselves with other folks’ struggles. He answered, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The animal rights movement is certainly a struggle for justice—to defend the right of animals to live free from abuse and exploitation.

Violence and cruelty beget more violence and cruelty, and callousness toward animals fosters callousness toward humans—and vice versa. Justice-seeking people from all walks of life should consider that peace, nonviolence, and advocacy for the disenfranchised begin at home, on our plates.

We can take a stand against violence and exploitation every day simply by choosing to eat, wear, and buy only cruelty-free, vegan products.

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