International Animal Rights Day is celebrated annually on the 10th of December.
Not by accident, this day is on the same day as the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, declared in 1948. On this day, the UN General Assembly adopted and declared the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To prevent the repetition of World War II and concentration camps.
Some years later, animal rights activists demanded the expansion of the Declaration. They stated that animals also have the right to not suffer in pain and die because of human activity. Animals can’t protect themselves from people, after all.
International Animal Rights Day draws people’s attention to speciesism (the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals) and discrimination. Annually, numerous campaigns are organized on the 10th of December to recognize animal rights and to stop the deliberate cruelty and killing of animals.
This day always makes me think about why I chose to be vegan. As a teenager, I went to an agricultural college. That was the only college I could go to if I wanted to work with animals. I thought I would learn about animals, work with them, look after them and get to love them. I was especially excited about the practical lesson.
Unfortunately, the reality at the farms (late 80′ in Slovakia) was a shock to my system! The living conditions of most of the animals and the way that they were treated – especially the cows, pigs, chickens – were just horrific. I couldn’t change my college (obviously, there were some good things about it too) but I could become a vegetarian. OMG! The drama around it, the teasing and the laughs. People made comments like, “You can’t survive on salad” and “How long can’t you eat meat for?” It was much harder back then.
My twenties then rolled along and I sadly wanted to “fit in”. I started eating eggs and then chicken, while not trying to think about the animals I was eating. It was always in the back of my mind though.
It took me a long time to realise that all animals should have the same rights. And one day the thought came to me. I was a dog lover (and always had been). I loved all other animals too, so how could I love one unconditionally and eat another one without a blink of an eye? That day was when I had my last piece of meat. And I can’t even remember when I had my last sip of milk or a portion of cheese. I’m so happy that I’m doing my little bit in not hurting any more animals.
Now some may say, “Ok, be a vegan but your dogs are not vegans and they need meat. Don’t you feel sorry for all those lambs, chickens, and cows that you feed them?”. I do! But what can I do? I don’t think a vegan diet is suitable for dogs. I’m not a nutritionist, however, so please don’t take my word as advice on this topic. I just know that if my dogs had to look after themselves, they would hunt, kill and eat their prey. On the way back from their hunting adventure, they may nibble some blueberries but they need their animal-based food, and I know I have to provide it for them.
Who knows, maybe one day I won’t have dogs and will just have a donkey and a miniature horse and we can all be vegans – just like Arnold Schwarzenegger and his donkey and a miniature horse.