At our wedding, Ethan’s best man, also named Michael, ended his toast to us with the line, “Now go build your village.” I thought the sentiment was very sweet, but at the time I didn’t truly get the message. It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to appreciate what he said and when I did, I realized we’d done that.
While I may not have built a village, I certainly joined a community when I became vegan. The vegan community is global and it cuts across all genders, religions, sexualities, races, political affiliations and ages. When we choose to live vegan we are committing to conducting our lives adhering to the fundamental belief that all sentient beings are entitled to live free from harm or interference from others. We uphold our belief that using another individual solely for our own benefit is wrong and we reject the exploitation and oppression of others by refusing to take part in systems that rely on it.
Even though religious and politically based communities share stated common beliefs or moralities (such as marriage equality), the application of those beliefs is usually inconsistent, both within the community and in its application towards others — namely, the morality applies to humans but not all living beings. Or, as is the example with Judaism, certain laws and issues of morality affect men but not women, humans but not animals, etc. This does not happen within the vegan community. We all agree that animals are not ours to use and that applies across the board to everyone. [Read more…]