Everyone wants to see the world become more just and peaceful. Everyone is worried about violence in the streets and in the world and wishes he or she could do something to stop it. I like to talk about how adopting a vegan diet allows us to take a stand in behalf of compassion and against violence and suffering every single time we order from a menu, go shopping, or open up the refrigerator. There is so much violence and suffering in the world, and we’re basically powerless to do a lot about it. What do I do about starvation and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa? I give some money, I write letters, I try to get the government to intervene and to put more money into foreign aid, but all of those actions are fairly far removed from actually having a measurable effect.
When I sit down to eat, however, I make a concrete decision about who I am in the world. Do I want to add to the level of violence and misery and bloodshed in the world, or do I want to make a kind and compassionate choice? Simply put, the meat industry is violence we can stop. Plus, by going vegan, we stop supporting industries that devastate the environment and create (according to Human Rights Watch) the most dangerous conditions for workers in the nation. Personally, I find it empowering that every time I sit down to eat, I can make a choice that helps animals, the environment, worker rights, my health, and the battle against world hunger. I can’t think of any other choices I make on a daily basis with such far-reaching effects.