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Is it possible to be cruelty free?

May 7, 2015

The definition of cruelty is generally defined as indifference to pain and suffering, pleasure in causing pain and suffering, and or engaging in behaviors without regard to the pain and suffering those behaviors cause.

One of the things people think of when pondering a vegan lifestyle are all of the animals, the living beings, all around us that are constantly being hurt or killed by human behavior.  Bugs on a windshield, a deer hit by a car, animals in a farm field as it is being plowed are just a few examples.

People will equate these same instances to the slaughter of an animal but are they equivalent?

If you are walking down the street at night in dark clothing and a driver does not see you and accidentally hits you with their car is this equivalent to them running you over with their car on purpose?

Both result in your death so the result is equivalent.  But are the actions equivalent?

If a father swings a bat and did not hear his 5 year old son come up behind him and he accidentally hits his child in the head causing his death is this equivalent to a father hitting his child in the head with a baseball bat on purpose?

Both result in the child’s death.  But are the actions of the fathers the same?  Are these fathers equivalent?  Should these fathers be treated the same way after such an event?

Harm cannot be avoided because when we harm we do it without choice.  As we go through life some harm will come to you and you will cause some harm to others but these things will only happen because they were beyond your control. Had the first father known his son had come up behind him he never would have swung the bat.  He would have had a choice.

A harm-free life is unavoidable.  A cruelty-free life on the other hand can be avoided and this is because cruelty is a choice.  Cruelty is when we know the child is there before we swing the bat and we choose to swing it anyway.

We all hold a bat every time we sit down to breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We have the choice to swing, or not.

This is what cruelty is, when we swing knowing for a fact it will cause suffering for another.

When we walk on the grass or the pavement we can step around the earthworms.  Or not. We can swerve to avoid a squirrel in the road or aim for the squirrel.  We can smash a spider or take it outside. We can do the best we can for all others.  Or not.  It is a choice.


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