I Am the Vegan Activist
I am the vegan activist,
My heart filled with the wish to relieve
the hideous suffering
Mysteriously inflicted on animals seen as
Rising early, sitting in silence every day, listening
within, opening... dilating....
I am the day-old calf at the
Pulled from my mother by strong hard hands, while
she moans and bellows.
Alone in a tight crate, I shiver, hungry,
nursing on the iron bars.
I am the little child, being
spoon-fed my first solid food.
I keep spitting it out, but it
keeps coming back, relentlessly.
“Eat this,” mommy says, “it’s
mashed potato and calves’ liver—it’s good for you.”
I am the
little girl, on the day it sinks in—
“Hot dogs,” “hamburgers,”
“bacon,” “eggs,” “veal,” “chicken,” “liver,” “fish sticks”—
mean, it’s animals I’ve been eating? A darkness enters my
I am the young child, being taught how to fish.
“Don’t worry, fish can’t feel any pain,” I’m told.
“And even if
they could, God gave ‘em to us to eat.”
I am in the dentist’s chair,
Immobilized, while he pulls, pries,
drills: oh, it hurts!
Deep down, I know he’s doing it for my own
I am the calf at branding time, castrating time,
The pig at ear-notching, tail-docking time,
The chicken at
Immobilized, while he cuts me, burns my
flesh—oh, it hurts!
Rough hands that hurt me, the horror of
strong inescapable hurting hands!
I am the minister at the
Laughing, happy, my flock spread around me,
Chewing on the ribs of lambs, why, we’ve raised five hundred dollars
I am the cowboy at the rodeo.
good, I want him runnin’!”
A quick chase and lasso throw, jerk
the rope, he’s flat and down;
I drink the cheers.
the young cow—another rodeo.
The ropes and blows and cages,
suddenly a searing pain, like a knife,
A door flies open, I run
to escape. Sudden slamming twisting agony;
Cheers and laughter.
I am the former vegetarian, I’ve been there.
I’m not rigid
and judgmental, and anyway:
A person’s body is not defiled by
what goes in the mouth, but by what comes out.
I am the
Prodding and poking cows along with my
knife and electro-shocker,
Like I was prodded and kicked when I
was a kid.
I am the slaughterhouse foreman, doing my job;
If I don’t, the company will find someone who will…
“Speed up the
line!” we’re lagging—big trucks keep comin’,
Full of pigs, their
eye whites showing terror.
I am the feedlot operator,
Belly hanging, back sore, joints aching, I sit
down to a comforting steak.
“Anyway, it’s not what goes into a
I am the terrified dairy cow,
young, just five years old, facing the slaughterhouse chute,
pain of the prod, the fear so thick I can smell it, the hard hands.
. . .
I am the young fattened turkey,
Grabbed by one leg
and hung upside down,
Ligaments torn, I hang in the moving line
with the others, struggling:
Helpless pain and panic.
am the self-shining light of infinite love,
I welcome every
turkey, pig, cow, duck, chicken, lobster, fish—
Not as animals,
but as what they actually are—myself.
The nightmare ordeal
over, their pain-wracked bodies forever left,
I embrace them as
the essence they are—
The joy of life’s eternal longing,
life springing forth from the heart of the universe.
embrace my other beloved children, when it is their time:
hardened slaughterhouse worker, the diseased housewife, the manager,
The scholar and the minister, the vegan, the vegetarian and the
The gorilla, the wolf, the pet cat and the hunted
I open and enfold them all with perpetual love,
envelop them forever as rays sent forth,
And embrace them when
they return, as the heart of their own heart,
And they are judged
only by themselves,
And are punished only by their own actions in
the endless rounds of being,
Of learning and growing, of
Of awakening from the mass hypnotic
And celebrating me, the love that is the source of all,
The freedom shining in the heart of every being.
I am the
My heart filled with knowing the perfection of
And working hard to help relieve the gruesome suffering
Mysteriously inflicted on animals seen merely as food.
Your question and comments are welcome