As you become familiar with the Vegan Samurai warrior code, it’s useful to remember that original ancient samurai were sworn warriors who served the most powerful individuals or social organizations, such as emperors or clans.
This was centuries ago. Crucial differences between today’s vegan samurai and ancient samurai are that a Vegan Samurai isn’t sworn to serve a patriarch, emperor, or military commander.
Nor does a Vegan Samurai use an arsenal of deadly weapons and other martial arts to fight actual physical battles.
So why do I say a vegan samurai is a warrior, and on whose behalf does the vegan samurai fight?
I became a vegan samurai after seeing “undercover” videos and photographs taken at facilities where animals are raised, entrapped, killed, or processed for food, for animal experimentation, or for animal entertainment.
I could relate to the helplessness and suffering of these animals because as a child I was a victim of violent bullying that resulted in physical injury.
I still vividly remember how it felt to be powerless, small, hemmed-in, attacked by cruel humans.
Classmates and even some adults stood back passively while I was attacked.
I cried out for help, but witnesses turned away and left me to suffer alone.
Later on, when my parents reported the incidents to school administrators and even the police, none of the witnesses had the courage to come forward to identify the bullies.
When I saw animal abuse videos and photographs, I immediately identified with the animals, and wanted to be their protector and defender.
Giving voice to the voiceless and defense to the defenseless is a saying I’ve heard and repeated as I’ve gotten more into animal liberation and animal rights.
People with conscience rush to the aid of someone who’s being victimized, especially if the victim is clearly unable to escape or fight back.
So when I decided to give up my weak attempts to be a vegetarian eating mostly organic foods from health stores and take the plunge by going 100% vegan, my resoluteness was bolstered by my desire to protect and defend animals.
The original samurai used martial arts hand-to-hand fighting, along with samurai swords and other war hardware.
They faced extreme physical danger as a matter of honor, and in service to their emperor or other master.
Vegan samurai don’t fight that way. We use words, ideas, images, political lobbying, and lifestyle choices on behalf of animals.
We do face danger and staunch opposition because we’re vegan, but it’s usually not physical danger.
It’s the danger of being an empathic, morals-focused person defending a group of exploited beings in a society that generally scoffs at morals, empathy, and the rights of non-human animals.
In some cases, a vegan faces subtle or overt forms of social ostracism or logistical exclusion.
Vegan travelers, especially in air travel systems or hotels, often find it impossible to source a wide range of vegan food items.
In some families, marriages, or workplaces, vegans are viewed with suspicion, scorn, or even hostility.
We’re tagged as being “scolds,” “judgmental,” “OCD,” “food cops,” party poopers or weirdoes because we refuse to be customers of those who exploit and harm animals.
In fact, vegans are relentlessly slagged on YouTube and in other media venues, and are often subjected to harassment when they make a stand on behalf of innocent animals.
This may sound blunt or harsh, but people who deliberately harm innocent animals, or whose dietary choices support such harms, could well be described as enemies of those animals.
Given that those animals are the beings I fight for, I see being a vegan means I’m participating in an epic battle between good and evil.
How else can you describe a battle in which your opponents just don’t care that they’re inflicting terrible suffering on other beings?
A vegan samurai also fights internal battles.
We struggle with our own food desires. For example, I was raised eating meat, dairy, fish, and eggs.
When I’m hungry after exercising, and walking past steakhouses and other animal-exploiting food businesses that export their cooking smells into the air, I sometimes feel intense craving for animal-derived foods.
I feel like an alcoholic sworn to never take another drink again, lest I fall off the wagon and lose the battle with alcoholism.
But I won’t give in to those food cravings. I owe it to the animals to stay true to my vegan samurai code.
The main thing to remember is that the vegan samurai’s honor code includes this tenet: