Could One Quote Change How You View Animals?

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“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.

In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

– Henry Beston, The Outermost House

This quote is very dear to me. The fact that I can recall exactly where I was sitting and what I was feeling the moment I first heard those beautiful words is a testament to its profound effect on my life. I was sitting at home in deep thought over 3 years ago, when I suddenly started to consider how inherently violent the slaughter of animals for food must be. Little did I know back then that it was far, far worse than anything I could have anticipated. As I had never encountered such footage before in my life, I searched online for videos and stumbled upon the documentary, ‘Earthlings’, which showcases the inherent cruelty in humans use of animals for food, clothing and entertainment. Upon viewing the first 20 minutes, I heard this quote play, accompanied by beautiful and inspiring imagery and boom. My world changed. A complete and total paradigm shift. There was an alignment. Right then and there I decided there was nothing more for me to do other than go vegan. I could no longer take part in a system which devalues and commodifies other beings who want to live just as much as I do. I could not sit idly by while blood stained my hands, and I hope it instills that same ferocity in you too.