The fork can be an instrument of world peace or a weapon of mass destruction. If we ourselves want to be happy and free, then how can we attain that goal if we cause others unhappiness or deprive them of their freedom…or their lives?
Animals that we raise for food are slaves, deprived of all of their rights and respect as persons and ultimately killed, merely to satisfy our appetites for meat, dairy, eggs, leather, silk, wool, etc. The fundamental ethical precepts of yoga (the yamas) teach that if we want to be free and happy, we should not harm others, we should not lie to others, we should not steal from others, we should not misuse others sexually and we should not be so greedy as to leave others impoverished. The meat and dairy industries are based on all of these behaviors.
We agree with Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA who says, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or abuse or exploit for any purpose.” The best way to uplift our own lives is to uplift the lives of others, and making the choice to eat a plant-based diet and avoid the use of animal products in all areas of our lives is the single greatest act we can take to uplift the lives of others. As human beings we are one type of animal among many. Through the practice of veganism we can begin to experience how to live in harmony with our fellow Earthlings, who together collectively create this living planet Earth.