Plant Based Eating and Sentient Beings

Plant based eating is basically a vegan eating style, plant based is easier for people to relate to and doesn’t sound as ‘hard’ as vegan. The biggest difference is that vegans choose to expand beyond their eating to remove all animal products from their lifestyle – shoes, belts, clothing, furniture – it is a growing dedication to learning to live animal free. I’m not sure it matters why people make this choice, whether it is because of the environment, feeding the planet, animal cruelty or spiritual the benefits are compounded for the planet, the animal and spiritual growth.

With this choice I find that I am becoming more sensitive to ALL animals. There is no difference between the feelings of my dogs, who I know have feelings and personalities – they are definitely sentient beings – and the cow, pig or chicken that is a commodity to be raised cruelly and murdered. Europe has recognized our farm animals as sentient beings and this will continue to affect how they must treat and care for those that are eaten.

Growing up on a farm, as a little girl, I spent time in the pasture with the cows, knew them by name and personality. I knew that our dinner plate was made up of the animals that my parents raised, but, I was always uncomfortable with this knowing. I did and ate what my parents gave me. And I find that people who have a meat-based diet seem to spend an inordinate amount of time defending and rectifying their choice. They must assume that I was born this way because they immediately begin defending their choice to eat meat, and they are always surprised when eating a vegan dinner with me how great the food is. A good plant based cook can create creative dishes that will make you wonder why you are so hooked on meat.

The biggest majority of us were raised on a meat-based diet, as were our parents, and their parents. This lifestyle was not our choice, it was handed to us by those who had no choice. But, we do have choices and part of this growth is understanding that by choosing a plant based diet we will help those who are hungry and we will free those who are not allowed to live in the gracious manner that we protect for our dogs and cats.

This article came about from reading the recent article in The Atlantic by James McWilliams, Meat: Sometimes ‘Sustainable’, Never Okay. He poses a new set of questions about the validity of eating meat no matter how it is raised, sustainable or industrial. When we begin to accept the knowing that animals are sentient beings we must then move into the possibility that we do not have the right to raise and kill other beings that have families, feelings and can experience pain.

Peace and Kindness,


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