Once I realized I could live a healthy, happy life without using animals for any reason such as for food, clothing, income or entertainment, a deep sense of remorse emerged.
Knowing now that I needed never kill a single one of them to obtain my own healthful food, or for any other purpose, I am sorry, so deeply sorry, to all the animals I ignorantly harmed with my choices.
I look back now with regret at what I see now as actual abuse to my own body, feeding myself with animal foods that my physiology is not equipped to process.
But what weighs most heavily is how my ignorance caused so much unnecessary suffering and abuse in animals who never deserved it.
I see how my choice to eat eggs caused the misery of genetically manipulated hens to be forced to unnaturally produce so many eggs per year, their bones collapsed from calcium deficiency. How painful that was for each of them. And their male children will haunt me to the end of my life, little baby boys, only a day or a few hours old, who were disposed of as garbage, ground up like industrial waste or suffocated to death for the "crime" of being born male and thus useless to an industry that values only female egg-layers.
I think about the exploited mother cows and goats who were repeatedly sexually violated to impregnate them because I wanted to eat artery-clogging dairy products. I am ashamed to know I participated in a system that drags newborn infants away from their mothers, that I paid others via my food purchases to steal those babies' milk, to create toxic products my body does not even need. How hideous of me to sit complacently after a meal of other animal parts, and then celebrate dessert by eating completely frivolous ice cream that was made by destroying mother/child bonds and creating enormous suffering in gentle, grieving animals. My gluttony was derived from the suffering of innocents. What an ignorant, selfish boor I was.
I am ashamed and grievously sorry about all the times I thought a beautiful animal's life was less worthy than my own, to the point of being okay with others killing him or her, chopping apart those individuals for me to eat. I am deeply sorrowful for all the abuse, the kicking, slamming, pushing, branding, castrating, de-horning, de-beaking, all the hateful force and maliciousness animals endure in farming. I would give anything to have not contributed to miserable journeys on overcrowded trucks or ships in freezing and roasting temperatures, denied food or water for days, which animals experienced as they were jammed into transports and hauled to slaughterhouses. And then actually putting that multi-tortured, toxic and unhealthy flesh into my own precious body. What a nasty, grisly waste for all of us.
I have gone to zoos and circuses and laughed at and been superficially amazed for a few minutes by animals who were forced to perform tricks for my shallow entertainment, never considering how their entire lives were spent enduring conditions in which they were abused, whipped and starved into submission to perform such unnatural actions. I am ashamed.
I have purchased "genuine leather" because it was the supposedly higher-end option. I stole the very skin of a tortured, unnecessarily killed animal in which to wrap myself, to cover my feet, or to use for a handbag or fancy furniture because my culture told me this would make me worldly and sophisticated. I could have chosen other materials, not made from animals. What an ugly marketing message that animals and their skins or furs are ours for the greedy taking, and what an entitled narcissist I was to accept it.
I am sorry. For all of it.
I will do my best to cause the least amount of harm possible in this world from this point onward. I will not be perfect, but I will be as mindful and considerate as possible. And the world will be better for it, especially if more of us wake up and change.
Waking up is exhilarating. We can eat and thrive without harming animals. We can entertain ourselves and find satisfying products for our daily lives, without harming animals. I let my sorrow and remorse fuel each new day with a strengthening conviction to be vegan the rest of my life. I let my joy and relief at finding this wonderful way of living pull me happily into a better future.
We can all wake up, let go of these shameful, sorrowful habits, and move to a beautiful way of living that honors animals, ourselves and our planet. We can be vegan. Learn how here.