About 7 years ago, a girlfriend of mine surprised me with a 1 year old cat she had adopted from the Humane Society as a gift for my birthday. While in general I think giving pet as gifts is a terrible idea, in this case it actually worked out. I was thrilled to have my new kitty. I had always been a cat person and had loved having cats on our farm growing up, but this cat, who I named Kisa, was my first pet as an adult. She is now 8 years old and has been a near perfect little companion. (I say “near” because I have never met a cat who talks as much or as loudly as she does – it’s kind of insane. But hey, I guess she has a lot to say!)
Anyway, a few years later, I got my little doggy, Otis. He was about 15 months old, and looked so pathetic on the Humane Society’s website that I had to go look at him – “just to look”. I wasn’t going to adopt him, obviously, but I had to go LOOK at him. Because that’s always a good idea, right? Well, upon arrival I knew I was a goner. He looked at me with these sad, sad eyes, head slightly bowed, and back rounded, and I just knew I couldn’t leave him there. So I took him home, and he won his way into my heart by pooping in the house, chewing on my shoes, and waking me up several times a night. He has since learned his manners (for the most part).
So what does this have to do with veganism? Well, it’s funny, but I think it took living with these 2 furballs for a while for me to realize that they were really no different from other animals–namely, “food” animals. Someone said to me one day, “For how much you love animals, I’m surprised you eat them.” That really kind of hit home. How could I know with all my heart that Otis & Kisa had these big personalities, desires to do things like get treats, go for walks, spend time outside, and so forth, but deny that pigs and cows and chickens have those same desires? It didn’t make sense anymore.
In some countries, humans eat dogs and cats. Americans find that to be repulsive, and yet what makes cats and dogs so different from other animals? Something to think about….