Wow! Lots of really interesting responses here. I’ll try to keep my thoughts as brief as I can. First of all, 穴 I would be super interested in your recipes! I also have become a foodie since turning vegan, I absolutely love cooking. I think for me I was carrying around a sort of emotional baggage around eating animal products that I didn’t want to acknowledge, and my relationship with food was tainted by that. I mostly try to eat whole foods rather than processed vegan products - it is really cool and interesting to see all these new vegan products coming to market, and it’s great being able to eat out in more places but mostly I just buy fruit and vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.
In terms of eggs and dairy, I won’t go into it in too much detail here but I consider them to be as just bad or even worse than any other animal farming from an ethical standpoint. I will put the rest of this paragraph in spoiler tags as it may be distressing to some. In the egg industry, the overwhelming majority of male chicks are killed within a few days by being minced alive, gassed, electrocuted or suffocated (several billion per year). The life of a dairy cow is one of being repeatedly sexually abused and subsequently having your new born baby stolen from you (many mothers cry out for their baby for days or weeks on end until they lose their voices). The babies are stored in tiny enclosures for weeks on end, often outside in horrible weather conditions.
I personally do not think it is possible to commodify animals and animal products and still treat them ethically. Businesses will always maximize profits, and thus they will generally, at best, do the absolute bare minimum to meet whatever regulations exist. Although many undercover operations expose that even these regulations are repeatedly being ignored. Most of the various “ethical/sustainable/free range/etc” certifications are self-regulated by the industry, with laughably low barriers for entry and once again many of these have been shown to make no effort to enforce their rules or audit their members.
DavidNoo In terms of “back yard eggs”. There are compelling arguments against them. There is a good video on the topic here:
The TL;DW is that these hens are selectively bred to produce insane quantities of eggs, at severe detriment to their own health. The egg shells of course contain a lot of calcium, thus the hens lose bone density and suffer from conditions like osteoperosis as a result. They can regain a lot of this lost nutrition by eating their own eggs, and they are also less inclined to lay more eggs if their eggs are not taken away from them.
@yeso Indian cuisine certainly lends itself very well to veganism. I’m not sure if I can name any cuisines that I think veganism does better than others, but I think you can do them all fairly well. I also am pretty confident that all of the best food I have eaten has been vegan and I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out! This is mostly because I have gained a new appreciation for food and cooking since becoming vegan (and I know a lot of people who have had similar experiences - even people who really loved cooking already go at it with renewed vigor. There is an extra layer of satisfaction to be found in making something delicious and vegan). Most any cuisines can be made vegan without too much trouble, the overwhelming majority of ingredients are plant based after all. I have had more success playing to the strengths of the ingredients over trying to accurately replicate the taste or texture of meat.
As I’ve already said, animal welfare is at the heart of why I am vegan and why I care about it so much. Cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, turkeys etc. are all animals not that different from us. They have unique personalities, they feel fear, they feel pain and they suffer. Whenever I spend time with an animal and enjoy their company or observe their unique personality quirks, I think about how all the animals in farms around the world are just as emotionally deep and unique as the one in front of me, and how miserable their lives must be, how many billions of them are going through hell at this momemt. It’s not hyperbole to say that it reduces me to tears on a fairly regular basis (even as I’m writing this). Many of my closest friends and family members, people I love - good, nice compassionate people, are completely unfazed by it, contributing to it every day.. it can be a very alienating experience.
Oh, and with regards to leather (and silk, and wool). To me it again comes down to the commodification of animals. As long as it is normal/acceptable to treat animals and animal products as property, animals will be exploited and suffer. If everyone decided only secondhand leather was okay to wear.. we’d run out quite quickly I think, and then it would become more expensive and sought after. Then we’d probably end up in a situation where people are making new leather and pretend it’s old, or illegally producing leather in a black market completely without oversight. In my opinion, the only long term solution is the erasure of the cultural acceptability of wearing animals.