As a former Hindu, I was raised as a vegetarian. I was taught not to eat other animals, and follow the principle of “ahimsa” which translates to non-violence and injury of other beings. I was taught to worship the cow among other animals, as the cow was the source of nourishment for the rich and poor in ancient India. Most Hindus, however, don’t follow these original teachings due to a world in which it is difficult to be vegetarian, and there are a plethora of fast, cheap meat options.
As I grew older I began to question my religion, and the “strict” followers of the religion. Supposed “strict” Hindus were driving cars with leather seats, or owned leather wallets or shoes. I felt, and still feel, this is wrong. As a “strict” Hindu, raised as a vegetarian, one should not own any goods involved with the killing of other animals, nor should they support industries associated with killing. These observations, as well as my growing knowledge of science led me to drop my belief in Hinduism. Although I dropped belief in the religion, I maintained my belief in ahimsa, as a means of having a peace of mind and not supporting the cruel and vile meat, leather, fur etc. industries.
What is appalling to me is that many people don’t know where animal products, such as leather, comes from. For instance, my 13 year-old brother, hadn’t known that leather was made from cows. This leads me to believe that, at a young age, children are taught that farm animals are raised on a farm – with a large space to graze, interact and essentially live. In our world today, this just isn’t the case anymore, and we should stop teaching our children that animal products are always from animals raised on a farm. Rather, domesticated animals are raised and bred in mass amounts in factories, as if toys, to supply our selfish overconsumption of meat, leather, and fur.
This is even the case for the pet industry, which thrives on the demand of ignorant customers who believe these animals are bred in a natural way. This industry is based on the demand for certain animals, who are condemned to a life in a small cage and of forced reproduction, to meet the demand for “cute pets.”
I learned of these industries through countless hours of research. I have spent many hours researching each industry, taking note, yet cringing at the cruelty involved. My research was conducted on the internet of countless articles, undercover footage, and documentaries. I even delved into the credibility of some of these media, as many attempt to capture readers/viewers empathy through exaggerations. I looked for recurring content and facts to eliminate any ignorance left on the subject. Of course, I need to do more first-hand research and observation through involvement in solving these issues to legitimately be one devoid of ignorance. Until then, my research doesn’t necessarily end, rather I need to pause every once in a while, from extreme disgust towards our selfish society.