Dominion is a documentary that explores the ethics behind our human dominion over the animal kingdom via hidden cameras and drones. If you have not seen it yet – I would recommend watching it before you read further, so that you will understand what I am trying to discuss and argue. I must warn you- it is not an easy movie to watch. It is graphic, gruesome and cruel, yet it is the reality. Most likely it is something you are or have at some point in your life indirectly “supported” or “contributed” to in one way or another. That is why it is important to watch because you deserve to know and discover the truth. So, I encourage you to be brave and watch it.
Even though I have seen footage of standard slaughterhouse practices before and even though I have been vegan for two years now- watching this movie was still extremely difficult. It will always be difficult and that is a good thing because we should never be able to accept so much pain and suffering without some emotional response.
Meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese and all other animal products and excretions are packaged pain. They have become objects, with most humans forgetting what they really are. It is an industry behind closed walls. Animals have become numbers and inanimate objects without any sentients and feelings. We have lulled ourselves into thinking that free-range and animal by-products are fine without acknowledging that they are part of the industry that fuels our dominion over the animal kingdom and causes a daily suffering unlike any other in the world.
After the film screening, I heard a lot of responses shift from shock and horror towards blaming: -blaming others, blaming the industry, shifting the problem onto different shoulders. Because what could we as isolated human beings do to make a difference?
First off, there were over 100 people at this screening. Do you know how much change and mobilisation 100 people can create? Yes, it is always easier to blame someone else. It is always easier to point fingers. The difficult step is in recognising our own individual agency. In cognising that to change the world starts with changing ourselves. This is not about what is easy. It is about what is right. So, I urge you to question – what is right? Are you supporting the dominion of the animal kingdom? Are you supporting the animal agricultural industry? Do you want to support this industry or not? What side of history are you standing on?
I am vegan because I believe that the only life that belongs to me is my own. I believe that you cannot humanely kill anyone who does not want to die. No animal walks willingly into its death. For me being vegan is not a restriction. It is a liberation. A liberation from an industry that is causing immense suffering, that is destroying our planet and making us sick. Some people ask me how I am “coping” with being vegan. The truth is I feel good. I feel healthy. Happy. Aligned. I know that I am nourishing my body with what is best for me: plants. It is so liberating to eat a diet that is not only better for myself but also better for the planet. A diet that is not contributing to the daily suffering of millions of animals around the world. A diet that is compassionate. People say if you manage to inspire one person and create positive change in their life – you have already succeeded. Let that person be yourself.
I do not believe that veganism should “forced” onto anyone. However, I do hope that you too cannot accept the pain and suffering caused by animal agriculture and animal cruelty. That you too believe in a better world. That you recognise that to remain silent and do nothing is contributing to this very industry.
Remember darkness can never extinguish the darkness. Only light can do that. Hate can never eliminate hate. Only love can do that. I hope you shall find the strength to find that light inside of you. If you change yourself, you have already started to change the world.
“Going vegan is no burden: it is a liberation from being part of the violence and death that humans unjustly impose on the vulnerable.” – Gary L. Francione