Carnism & Speceism: The Violent Beliefs We’ve Been Brainwashed Into Believing

There are many “isms” worthy of our protest. Racism, militarism, fascism, sexism, ageism, totalitarianism and more.

But for those of us in the vegan community, by far the worst isms are speciesism and carnism.

These two isms are the most destructive dominant paradigms taught to humans.

Here’s why…

First, let’s define these two paradigms.

Speciesism is the parent of carnism.

It’s a belief long held by humans that we’re by far the most valuable and important species on the planet.

Specieism tells us all other species are inferior to us. That they don’t count anywhere near as much as we do.

They have no rights at all. They’re just property. They’re just “dinner.”

Speciesism includes the belief that the earth itself, and all its biosphere processes, can and should be exploited by humans.

Specieism is the parent of harmful actions against animals including animal experimentation, using animals to make leather, fur coats, and similar materials, circuses, zoos, SeaWorld abuses, and on and on.

A very direct child of specieism is carnism.

The term was first used by heroic scholar and psychologist Dr. Melanie Joy and her must-read book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.

Carnism is the belief that it’s morally acceptable for humans to use animals for food.

The destructiveness of these two dominant paradigms is worldwide and horrific.

For humans, speciesism and carnism cause delusional thinking that leads to violence, biosphere mass extinction, and human health degradation.

Let’s be honest: there’s absolutely no rational evidence that humans are “the best” species.

That would be like saying an apple is better than a carrot, or Classical music is better than Celtic music.

It’s always an opinion and value system installed by society whenever someone believes that humans are the best and most important species on the planet.

It’s always scientifically inaccurate too.

In fact, speaking from a purely ecological perspective, humans are the worst species on the planet.

Why is this so? Because unlike all other species, we’ve jumped past evolutionary biology and ecosystem integrity so that wherever we go we create a net loss in natural biodiversity and ecosystems health.

Every other species in an undisturbed native ecosystem—from ants to lions to birds to trees and fungi—is an integrated part of the ecosystem that contributes to biodiversity and ecosystem services such as aerated, nutrients-rich soil.

But when humans come into those systems, they utterly decimate them.

Clearcutting, ranching, agriculture, fracking, use of fossil fuels, technology, machines, chemicals, urbanization, bulldozing, paving, and other common human activities wipe out native ecosystems and the species that depend on them.

Human activities create pollution and extinction. They leave dead zones in their wake.

Here’s the stark truth: the earth is dying because of how we live.

And when you look at carnism, you see a worldwide genocide of BILLIONS of sentient beings per year all so humans can choose to eat animal foods that we don’t need to eat and that are bad for our health!

You absolutely have to get and read Dr. Joy’s book, and also watch the embedded videos in this article, to see the earthshaking scope of carnism’s violence towards animals.

In the short time it takes you to read this article, tens of thousands of animals are killed for food in the USA.

Ten billion animals are killed every year in the USA alone.

This mind-blowing total doesn’t even include fish and other sea creatures.

Many of these innocent animals are killed in ways that humans don’t kill each other. They’re skinned, sawed, chopped up, tortured, boiled… alive.

Faced with these facts, a Vegan Samurai is a warrior against the dominant paradigms of speciesism and carnism.

Yes, many other isms are horrible too.

What Hitler did to the Jews, wars, oppression of women, minorities, the poor… all are terrible.

But only if you subscribe to specieism would you say the bad things humans do to each other every day are more worthy of protest than the monstrous things humans do to tens of millions of animals every day.

A Vegan Samurai realizes that every animal humans harm has personality, emotions, a desire to live a safe and happy life. We see animals as having personhood.

Thus, the scale of the bad things humans do to animals dwarfs the harms humans do to each other.

More animals are killed by humans every year than all the humans who’ve been killed by other humans since humans evolved on this earth.

Please stay tuned to VeganSamurai.org for more articles based on Dr. Joy’s research into the roots of carnism and what carnism does to Nature, animals, individuals, and society.

In the meantime, consider it a point of honor to go beyond being a vegan.  Become a vegan activist who works with all your heart to purge humanity of its brutal, uncaring, and violent actions based on specieism and carnism.

Defending the defenseless is what being a Vegan Samurai is all about.

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What Every Newbie Vegan Should Know

I became a vegan in December 2015 for the main reasons that mirror why most people become vegan.

First, I realized it was morally wrong for me to subsidize industries and individuals who exploit, harm, and kill animals.

I love animals, and finally after many years of “trying” to give up eating animal-derived foods, my conscience won, and I gave up all animal-derived foods.

Part of the Vegan Samurai code of honor is to refuse to give one penny of my money, or my dietary complicity, to those who produce animal-derived food.

As a deep ecologist who wants a beautiful earth replete with healthy biodiversity and biosphere, I oppose “animal agriculture” because it greatly harms the environment.

I also became vegan because my vegetarian diet hurt me.

Obviously being vegetarian was not as harmful to me as when I was an omnivore, but my vegetarian diet included dairy and eggs that made me fat, and impeded my digestive process, and were produced via animal exploitation.

I went vegan and so far I’ve shed nearly 40 pounds while saving lots of money on food and avoiding the moral wrong of being an animal-derived food industry customer.

But there are things I as a newbie vegan wish I’d known ahead of time.

Number one is I experience cravings for animal-derived foods.

These cravings are so strong physically and emotionally that I realize I was addicted to foods like milk, cheese, and ice cream.

One reason I developed the Vegan Samurai concept is that being vegan means I’m engaged in spiritual warfare with my food addictions.

The good news is that wholesome organic vegan foods now taste way better than any of the processed and animal-derived foods I used to eat.

The cravings are still present and probably always will be, but they’re receding.

Another thing I as a newbie vegan wish I’d have known is that it’s hard if not sometimes impossible to find vegan food when traveling by highway or airplane.

Because I’ve long been dedicated to eating organic food so I can avoid poisoning myself and subsidizing toxic agriculture, I realized as I became vegan that what passes for “vegan menu options” at places like Chipotle and airport restaurants are perhaps free of animal products, but definitely not free of processed, chemicalized ingredients.

I’ve learned the joys of fasting, which in a culture like ours where overeating is rampant was as hard to learn as being vegan.

Indeed, I’d never experienced true hunger until I fasted.

Fasting is a part of many spiritual traditions, and I see why. You choose to sacrifice to be true to your principles.

As a newbie vegan, I had to fast during business travel because I hadn’t brought vegan food with me and couldn’t find any to purchase.

What’s really cool is that hunger, being digestively empty and light, feels natural and energetic.

I love it, and I plan to fast more often!

The other thing a newbie vegan should know is that not all friends, family, partners, co-workers, and society are all that supportive of you being a vegan.

I hope you have people in your life who are sincerely, genuinely glad you’re a vegan and totally support you in it.

But be aware that some people may say they support you, but if they themselves are omnivores or even vegetarians, your newbie vegan status could well be making them nervous and somewhat resentful.

Why?

Because you being a newbie vegan covertly challenges the cruel immorality of their dietary choices.

Your veganism exposes their complicity with industries that commit moral wrongs against innocent animals.

It’s not that you’re preaching at them, trying to convince them to also become a newbie vegan, although many vegans do feel a need to tell the truth to non-vegans.

Just the fact that you exist in their lives is perceived by them as a silent condemnation.

It’s not your fault they feel guilty. It’s that they are guilty, and deep down, they know it.

But they’ll try to turn it around on you.

You’ll likely find that some harass you about being a newbie vegan, trying to bait you into arguments, accusing you of being “self-righteous,” judgmental, too radical, weird, or otherwise annoying.

But you’ll stand strong. It’s all part of being a moral person– a Vegan Samurai.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights protestors demanded that society stop exploiting and abusing people based on race, the racists responded with hostility and violence, as if people pointing out a societal wrong were wrong to do so.

The strange fact is, whenever anyone challenges the human herd by pointing out its moral failings, the person doing the challenging faces pushback.

But take heart… as you read articles on this website and watch the embedded videos, you’ll learn why and how to stay strong as a Vegan Samurai so your veganism is lifelong and you never again participate as a customer and/or consumer of foods derived from harming animals.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians, Pescatarians & The Vegan Samurai Golden Rule

As a vegan, I’ve had conversations with vegetarians about why they’re not vegan, and every one of those conversations left me with a sad feeling.

Many vegetarians have some of the same ideas that vegans have. They want a healthier diet. They may share our disapproval of food industry abuse of animals.

They may consider themselves lacto-ovo vegetarians—people who consume dairy and eggs but not meat.

They may consider themselves pescatarians—people who consume fish, dairy, and eggs, but not meat.

What I try to help vegetarians and pescatarians understand is that their food comes from exploited, abused animals.

I ask them to consider the clear fact that if they became vegetarian or pescatarian because of moral concerns about animals, that only veganism fully addresses those concerns.

But I’m shocked when vegetarians and pescatarians argue vociferously to defend the exploitation and their consumption of dairy, eggs, or fish.

Pescatarians claim “fish feel no pain.”

Biologist Victoria Braithwaite has definitively shown that not only do fish feel pain, but also they’re intelligent and social animals.

Her book “Do Fish Feel Pain?” accurately and convincingly shows that from a moral and ecological perspective, fish should not be on the menu.

Dairy-consuming vegetarians claim dairy production isn’t as abusive as “meat” production.

I ask all people who consume fish, dairy, and eggs to adopt the Golden Rule of the Vegan Samurai.

This rule is as simple as it has been throughout the ages: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In the world of the vegan samurai, “others” includes all sentient beings, not just humans.

I’m sure that lacto-ovo vegetarians wouldn’t appreciate having done to them what humans do to dairy cows.

Let’s take a brief look…

First of all, dairy cows are engineered by humans through selective breeding.

Female cows are force-impregnated starting when they’re less than a year old.

Given that cows can never give explicit consent to anything humans do to them, it’s accurate to call this a form of rape or at the very least, sexual abuse.

The force-impregnated female cow carries her baby for nine months, just like a human mom!

Within a few minutes, hours, or days after the calf is born, the “dairy farmer” steals the baby calf from its mother.

This causes the mother cow and her calf serious emotional distress.

Baby cows are often kept under cruel conditions in veal crates.

They’re rarely allowed to see their mother again, and are fed processed “food” instead of the milk meant for them.

In the factory farming dairy businesses that produce the vast majority of dairy products used as milk, cheese, yogurt and other items, female cows are subjected to very rough handling of their “breasts,” aka, udders.

The most sensitive parts of a female cow’s body are subjected to gross abuse in the dairy industry, which is why many dairy cows have infected and damaged udders.

Some vegetarians talk about “humane” dairy farms where lactating female cows are treated a little better.

In rare cases on so-called humane dairy farms, baby cows are allowed to be around their mother, at least for a few weeks until they’re weaned.

Even on so-called humane dairy farms, the simple fact is that a machine or a person handles the cow’s udders, which is totally unnatural… the udders are designed by Nature to be used only by baby cows.

Lactating cows are fed a vast array of chemicals and hormones, and many are sprayed with toxic pesticides.

In factory farms, cows are kept in prison conditions, standing in stalls, separated from their young, suffering from infected udders, totally unable to live the life Nature intended for them.

And of course, dairy cows are force-impregnated over and over, until they reach the end of their productive life, after which they’re slaughtered for meat.

When vegetarians who consume dairy products are confronted with the facts about how female cows and their babies are treated, they struggle to justify their continued use of dairy.

Sometimes they get angrily defensive. The same holds true for pescatarians and people who eat eggs.

At that point, I ask the person:

If a group of cows imprisoned you, force-impregnated you, pumped you full of hormones, sprayed you with poisons, stole your baby from you at birth, and attached machines to your breasts to take milk meant for your human baby and give it to a baby cow, would that be acceptable to you?

If the person is a pescatarian I ask:

If someone put a hook in you or netted you, captured you, hit you over the head or suffocated you, and then gutted you, would that be acceptable to you?

If the person consumes eggs, I ask:

If someone reached into your ovaries and took your eggs and fried them or scrambled them, would that be ok with you?

If the person I’m speaking with is a male, I ask him to imagine these scenarios being done to his wife, sister, mother, or other female he cherishes.

The lacto-ovo vegetarian or the pescatarian quickly says it’s not acceptable for those abovementioned scenarios to happen to them.

I then ask: if it’s not ok for someone to do it to you, how is it ok for you to pay someone to do it to another animal on your behalf?

As you can imagine, there’s no answer they can give that’s consistent with moral logic, ethics, or compassion.

That’s why one of the main tenets of the Vegan Samurai code is the following, and I urge you to remember this always:

Being vegan is the only wholly ethical dietary choice.

Who Does the Vegan Samurai Protect?

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:

I’ll always stay true to my vegan principles, because I’m defending those who can’t defend themselves.

Why I Became a Vegan Samurai

What is a vegan samurai and why should you consider becoming a vegan samurai?

Let’s start by defining what a vegan samurai is.

I first envisioned the Vegan Samurai code when I was transitioning from raw food and vegetarian diets to veganism while also studying religion, spirituality, philosophy, ethics, animal sentience, and related topics.

As I considered my life and the tenets of general society, it seemed we lack a crucial organizing principle or code of behavior that would create inner peace, physical health, social harmony, and justice.

For example, when I talked to people about the terrible harm human society does to non-human animals and the earth, I sadly learned that many people have no internal moral code and conscience when it comes to such harms.

This lack of internal moral code and ethical conscience starts with individuals and then permeates society as a whole, especially capitalist consumerist societies.

Our world is threatened by amoral hedonism, mindless entertainment, selfishness, greed, narcissism,violence, and relentless consumption of the planet and non-human animals.

Look around all people rushing to and fro in airplanes and cars, in a frenzy of compulsively traveling, buying, talking on or looking at handheld electronic devices.

They’re stressfully busy doing things that almost always involve consuming fossil fuels and other energy sources, eating animals, and harming the planet.

Our technoindustrial grid is founded on systemic, societally-approved brutality: the way humans use animals for food is a perfect example.

In my studies, I noticed earlier cultures had “codes of honor” that organized personal and group relationships around morals, civic duties, and spiritual centeredness.

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism had aspects of honor codes that greatly impressed me.

But when I discovered Bushido, which is the code of virtues commonly associated with samurai warriors, I felt an immediate clarity, practicality, and attraction.

Samurai warriors have been popularized (in a distorted, sensationalized way) in movies, books, anime, and hentai.

In modern lore, such as the Quentin Tarantino movies Kill Bill: Volumes One and Two, samurai are portrayed primarily as unhinged sword-fighting warriors who possess almost-supernatural fighting skills combined with iron will and a lust for blood, revenge, and victory.

The actual samurai were martial artists and military warriors in Japan hundreds of years ago.

They fought bloody battles using body skills and various weapons including samurai swords.

But fighting and blood aren’t the whole samurai story– true samurai were also trained in the liberal arts, and had a rigid personal honor code that governed the way they managed their thoughts, ethics, actions, and interactions with others.

This code and the samurai lifestyle are sometimes known as “Bushido.”

I don’t follow all aspects of Bushido, of course, because I’m not a sword-wielding warrior serving an emperor.

But I was particularly impressed that Bushido required frugality, self-control, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, respectfulness, and right behavior towards others.

I also like the fact that Zen Buddhism influenced samurai and Bushido.

Buddhism, of all major “religions,” has by far the most explicit teachings forbidding the killing of animals.

Buddhism also acknowledges more than any other religion that all animals are sentient, not just human animals.

A further benefit for those of us walking the vegan path is Buddhism includes the practices and teachings of “emptiness,” and meditation—two inward-looking concepts that clear the mind to provide an accurate, calm, and health-enhancing view of “self” and life.

As I started the vegan life exposed to the enormous societal and interpersonal pressures from those who create or eat animal-derived food products, I felt a need to be a “warrior” for veganism, the earth, and animals harmed by humans.

I also noticed that being vegan in a non-vegan society, where I too had been raised to love eating flesh, eggs, and dairy, is a spiritual warrior path requiring us to always strengthen our resolve by remembering the moral reasons we adopted veganism.

To put it simply, I learned to resist external and internal negatives by following a form of vegan Bushido code, so I could stay on the vegan path as an empathic being in a world full of needless suffering.

My commitment to non-killing, to not being a customer of those who exploit animals, involves honor, frugality, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, self-control and other Bushido values.

Of course, I’m not into sword fighting or ritual suicide as the ancient samurai warriors were.

While the original samurai had no qualms about shedding blood, the vegan samurai is dedicated to preventing the shedding of blood, especially the blood of animals tortured and slaughtered for food.

So there you have it… the birth of the vegan samurai.

To my knowledge, I’m the only one so far.

I’ll be writing more articles that explain and amplify what a vegan samurai is and does, and I hope you too will become a vegan samurai.

For now, I suggest reading this book on the Bushido code, and also engaging the YouTube videos I’ve embedded herein.

The bottom line is that being vegan is a form of being a warrior… a wholly honorable warrior on behalf of innocent animals, mother earth, a just society, and your own physical and spiritual health!

 

Animal Liberation: A “Bible” for Vegans

Do vegans have a Bible of veganism?

If they do, it could well be the groundbreaking book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, written by Australian philosopher and Princeton University professor Dr. Peter Singer.

Singer’s book summarized and synthesized the social sciences of philosophy and ethics to explain how and why the pervading human view of animals can be called “specieism.”

Like other isms such as racism and sexism, speciesism is the human-created belief that “we’re better than they are, and they’re inferior to us.”

Most of us are raised to believe that humans are “the best” species, the most important species, the only species that really counts.

Speciesism claims that all other species can be used by us for whatever we want to use them for: food, experimentation, entertainment, labor, fur, skins, etc.

It also links up with dominionism– the idea that humans have the right to change the entire planet and use the biosphere and Nature however we want to.

Note that I don’t use the term dominionism as it is commonly used to describe a “Christian” theology that seeks to create “Christian” nations.

As Peter Singer so persuasively explains, speciesism derives from a set of irrational and unfounded assumptions and irrational beliefs about the world, about humans, and about non-human species.

You may be surprised to know that until only a hundred years ago, leading philosophers and scientists argued that there was no such thing as cruelty to animals because animals have no feelings and no rights.

Some famous scientists and philosophers like Rene Descartes (1596-1650) believed non-human animals were unfeeling machines that happened to have beating hearts and the ability to move, breathe, and vocalize.

And even today, people who slag vegans and veganism and defend harming animals seem to believe that non-human animals feel no pain and thus can be handled as if they’re inanimate, machine-like objects.

Using classical philosophical methods that build on fact and logic, Singer brilliantly analyzes the beliefs, attitudes, and systems humans use to justify the enslavement and torture of tens of millions of animals for food and other uses.

He shows that speciesism is part of a continuum of harmful isms that come from impulses to dominate, victimize, and harm other beings.

When you see humans abusing others, including through child abuse, wars, police misconduct, rape, sexual harassment, bullying, spousal abuse, domestic violence, and other mean practices, you’re seeing the same “dominator mentality” that drives humans to subdue and exploit non-human animals.

Singer updated Animal Liberation several years ago, and made it an even more compelling book of moral philosophy that would take an entire semester to fully understand and explicate if you’re taking a college course on it.

But it’s also very readable in one go, and clear enough to function as a Bible for those of us looking for the rational, fact-based ethics of why humans should stop eating and otherwise harming animals and each other.

Take a look at the Peter Singer YouTube videos embedded here, and get your own copy of Animal Liberation here.

You’ll find intellectual foundations, moral imperatives, a well-reasoned and articulate voice, and personal inspiration from this pioneering work that helped jumpstart the modern vegan and animal rights movements!

Wisdom From A Baby Pig Plush Toy

Once upon a time, I had a beautiful young wife.

Because we recognized that human population growth is a major contributor to environmental destruction and mass extinction, we decided not to create human children.

My wife was infused with maternal instinct, and it made her sad we weren’t going to make children together.

She loved animals and animal plush toys starting when she was just a tiny baby.

One day it occurred to me to give her a present that would rekindle the spirit of her childhood– it was a cute, sweet, baby pig plush toy.

She was going away to graduate school the day I gave it to her.

She named the baby pig “Piggy,” and as she held Piggy to her heart and kissed him, she said he’d be the son we never had.

At first, our Piggy was just a sweet, cute, endearing fantasy that she created and I participated in with a kind of bemused, poignant affection.

But over time, Piggy took on a life of his own.

Perhaps it seems childish or delusional, but we increasingly believed he was animate, that he could move on his own, that he had personality, thoughts, feelings.

He became like a real son, albeit a son who never needed diaper changes, who’d never grow up to be a rebellious teenager.

As you might expect, we started paying more attention to biological baby pigs.

My wife volunteered at a baby pig sanctuary.

Whenever we saw pigs on farms, we’d try to get to their fence and have Piggy play with them, or at least talk to them.

Then we read the incredibly moving book The Good Good Pig, by Sy Montgomery.

This book inarguably shows that pigs are sentient, have personhood, and can be just as important in families and social life as humans or pets can.

One problem our family had was that I was raised eating “pork,” especially barbecued pork.

But one day, when I was eating pork ribs and hot sauce, I noticed Piggy’s deep brown eyes looking at me accusingly, reproachfully.

I realized I was offending him, disappointing him, and probably outraging him.

I wasn’t yet a vegan, but I already knew that after I ate animal flesh or dairy products, I always felt somewhat queasy and sluggish, if not actually physically ill from the toll that flesh foods take on your digestive system.

So for the sake of Piggy, I gave up pork.

I knew that any baby pig (whether plush toy or biological) is horrified and terrorized by even the most “humane” situations in which humans manage pigs and then later on kill them.

And it’s even worse to see how industrial “pig farms” enslave pigs in brutal conditions and subject them to constant abuse.

When I became 100% vegan in late 2015, one reason I did it is so my little Piggy wouldn’t see his father being a customer of the animal exploitation industries that harm pigs and many other animals.

If you have children who love their animal plush toys, you too may realize that your children experience cognitive dissonance when they see humans eating and otherwise harming animals.

The bottom line is that some people view our little Piggy as just a plush toy, but for us, he’s a real entity who helped us have empathy for non-human animals.