I would have never defined myself as an ‘animal lover’ before going vegan. Sometimes, I tell this to other vegans and end up feeling awkward because I am always met by a confused gaze. “Yes, it’s true,” I then tell them, “you don’t have to be an animal lover to become vegan.”
In 9 out of 10 cases, they still look at me puzzled, unable to think of anything to say. This lapse in understanding became the motivation in the creation of this post.
The reason I became vegan was that I acknowledged the immorality of eating animal products.
After being told and convinced that it was unnecessary to consume animal products (and being shown how suffering is also part of the dairy and egg industry), I was confronted with the question of whether killing unnecessarily was immoral. Obviously, I could not answer anything but ‘no’, had I not wanted to jump through trillions of hoops to be morally consistent. Accordingly, I became vegan.
Point being, this thought process can be followed by anyone, even if they do not consider themselves animal lovers. The only essential part is that people think killing unnecessarily is immoral and that they argue in good faith (i.e. are being honest and give sufficient credits to the facts).
I feel that this notion, that anyone can become vegan regardless of their stance toward animals as long as they want to consider themselves moral, is very important. It allows people to realize that loving animals is not essential, and that going vegan is not something solely for ‘crazy animal lovers’. Instead, they will realize going vegan is good in its essence and that anyone can do it.
To return to my point of view, what happened is I became an animal lover as a vegan. Being vegan allowed me to love animals, as I did no longer intentionally harm them and could therefore truly admire them. Before, I had not allowed myself to love them because my actions were not aligned with that sentiment. I would, thus, go as far as to say that only vegans can become true animal lovers.