Creating Cultural Change
Why is it that our culture, or so many of us individually choose not to recognize the cruelty and slaughter that takes place every day in producing an animal based diet? We eat more than one million animals per hour in our country alone. How do we effectively exhort others to such a personal epiphany?
The human race is capable of expressing a very compassionate and humanitarian side of our character. By the same token, our species is capable of expressing some of the most barbaric and extreme cruelty imaginable. The pages of history are wrought with testimony to these facts. When you strip away all of the extraneous factors that motivate and drive us to accomplish the heights of humanitarianism, or alternatively drives us to the depths of cruelty, there are two interests which are capable of driving us in either direction in furtherance of those interests. More than anything else, self-preservation and self-interest can and will lead us to actions that we as individuals, or as a society would consider to be repugnant. Just look at how the western world, for the most part, turns an eye to the atrocities occurring in Sudan and on the African continent. Yet, we readily intervened in the atrocities of Serbia. Why? We recognize some world events impact us more so than those in the underdeveloped world. We choose not to recognize the cruelty in those areas of the world, because to do so would require us to respond. It is the same on the personal level. To assuage our conscience, we create a façade of justifications for inaction that are rooted in self-interest. Then we can perpetuate our blindness to these cruelties. Otherwise, our consciences would demand action.
The answer to these questions, I believe lies in capitalizing on these inherent interests in self and preservation of self. We do this through education. Good health is a strong motivator. We have all of the science, medical research, and media capabilities available to us to educate people about nutrition and its relationship to our personal health. The western world is in a health crisis that is for the most part caused by our diet. Heart disease, diabetes (Type II), strokes, osteoporosis, obesity, and to a large extent cancer are all diseases of eating the western animal based diet, as opposed to eating a healthy nutritarian plant based diet. Notice I didn’t use the word “Vegan.” It is possible to eat a plant based “junk food” diet composed of refined products, fats, oils and known carcinogens. These foods are devoid of the health promoting phytonutrients and phytochemicals that fuels the body’s immune system to prevents arterioscleroses, diabetes, and most cancers from taking hold of our health.
Once people are motivated by their own personal health concerns to change their dietary habits, and experience the resulting health benefits, they suddenly are able to recognize and embrace animal welfare issues that they could not or would not see before. I have seen this occur many times over. Granted, taking a humanitarian intellectual argument may persuade some, but others must come to grips with changing to a plant based diet for the health benefits, before they are capable of seeing the humanitarian aspect of a plant based, Vegan diet. If you want to change the world and you want credibility with society, show them how by example. Don’t just eat an unhealthy junk food Vegan diet. Show the world the benefits from eating a plant based, nutritious, healthy Vegan diet. Concern for animal welfare will automatically follow, once self-interest no longer stands in the way.