To the Editor:
A Sentinel-Tribune article profiling Perrysburg vegan chef Jacquelyn Jones (Aug. 23 cook’s corner) quotes Jones as saying that veganism is “a lifestyle, not a diet.” The article discusses how Jones turned to veganism as a way to address her ongoing health issues and ended up making a career out of it.
The takeaway message of the article is two-fold. First, you should get some food at Jones’ SolFood Collective. Second, veganism is a healthy lifestyle.
I wholeheartedly agree with these takeaways, but in my view, the article leaves out the most important reason for being vegan: animal rights. Veganism is the attempt to minimize one’s involvement in the killing and use of sentient non-human animals. Cows and chickens, unlike trees and rocks, are sentient beings, whose lives can go better or worse for them. Vegans attempt to minimize the harm they do to these animals by refusing to buy, produce, use or eat things like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, leather and products that were developed using animals as research subjects.
In my view, the end goal of veganism ought to be the abolition of the property status of sentient animals and the legal prohibition of humans using and killing sentient animals for trivial reasons. “Because it tastes good” is a trivial reason when compared to “I want to be free,” “I don’t want to suffer” and “I want to live out the natural duration of my life.” Cows and chickens speak to us not through words, but through their behavior in the same way human infants do. Anyone who has been around farmed animals or has a pet dog or cat knows this.
Some think it is necessary to use and kill sentient non-humans for human health. Some think human health requires a non-vegan diet. Jones’ story and plenty of scientific evidence contradicts this thought.
Others think fighting disease and increasing human lifespan requires the use of sentient animals in science. This is not true either. It turns out that most of the increase in life expectancy in the U.S. in the 20th century is due to improvements in public health, like public water treatment, sewage management, food inspection and municipal garbage collection.
So take this home: go vegan — mostly for the animals, but for your health and future generations as well.