“Hi, I’m Moby and I’m a vegan.”
So starts the opinion piece written by musician, singer-songwriter, DJ, and animal rights advocate, Moby, in “Rolling Stone” magazine. That simple introduction leads to a simple but touching tale of how Moby came to veganism. It all started with a love for animals that began at a tender young age.
After describing a picture taken when Moby was just two weeks old of him in the tub with the family pets looking contentedly at him and he looking contentedly at them, Moby writes, “I’m pretty sure that at this moment the neurons in my limbic system hard-wired themselves in a way that established that animals were benign and great.” He goes on to write about the plethora of animals that he and his mother rescued and cared for in their home. It was a kitten rescued from a dumpster, named Tucker, that brought an epiphany that would change Moby’s life forever.
Relishing a sweet moment with his favorite cat, Moby recalls, “… Sitting on the stairs I thought, “I love this cat. I would do anything to protect him and make him happy and keep him from harm. He has four legs and two eyes and an amazing brain and an incredibly rich emotional life. I would never in a trillion years think of hurting this cat. So why am I eating other animals who have four (or two) legs, two eyes, amazing brains, and rich emotional lives?” And sitting on the stairs in suburban Connecticut with Tucker the cat I became a vegetarian.”
Two years later, Moby made the connection between animal suffering and the dairy and egg industries, and that second epiphany brought him to veganism. While it was the welfare of animals that brought him to going vegan 27 years ago, Moby finds endless reasons to remain vegan.
“As time has passed, my veganism has been reinforced by learning about health and climate change and the environment,” Moby writes. “I found that eating meat and dairy and eggs are to a very large extent responsible for people developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I found out that commercial animal production was responsible for 18 percent of climate change (more than every car, bus, truck, boat, and plane combined). I found out that producing a pound of soybeans requires 200 gallons of water but that producing a pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water. I found out that a leading cause of tropical deforestation is cutting down trees to create grazing land for livestock. And I found out that most of zoonotic diseases (SARS, mad cow disease, bird flu, etc.) are the result of animal agriculture. And as a clincher: I also found out that eating a high fat, animal product-based diet can be a leading cause of impotence (as if I didn’t need more reasons to be a vegan).”
Moby admits in the piece that when he was a newbie vegan he did tend to get aggressive with his beliefs. He eventually learned that preaching veganism to his friends did more harm than good, and was kind of hypocritical.
“… I learned, eventually, that yelling at people [for eating meat] isn’t the best way to get them to listen to what you have to say,” wrote Moby. “When I yelled at people they became defensive and resistant to whatever it is I was trying to tell them. But I found that by respectfully talking to people and sharing information and facts with them I could actually get them to hear what I was saying, and even consider my reasons for being a vegan.”
Moby wrote that although he’s vegan and loves being vegan, he doesn’t want to force others to be vegan. He put it best by writing, “It would be ironic if I refused to force my will on animals but was all too happy forcing my will on humans.” That being said, Moby encourages his readers to be informed on the treatment of animals and the truth behind the foods they eat, as well as avoiding animal products from factory farms. Moby does, however, close with a pretty powerful question:
“I guess in closing, apart from issues of health and climate change and zoonotic disease and antibiotic resistance and impotence and environmental degradation, I’d ask you this simple question: Could you look a baby cow in its eyes and say to it, “My appetite is more important than your suffering”?”
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