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Cruelty-Free Lifestyle Made My Daughter More Empathetic

by | February 27, 2019

A personal account by Priya Kumar on how living cruelty-free lifestyle made her daughter more empathetic.

Cruelty-Free Lifestyle Made My Daughter More Empathetic
Credits: Oksana Kuzmina/ Shutterstock

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Cruelty-Free Lifestyle Made My Daughter More Empathetic

Choosing a cruelty-free lifestyle was my conscious choice when I was in 7th grade. Till then, I used to have meat, probably two or three times a month and wasn’t aware of animal sufferings. At that time, I was reading a column in our local paper called “People for animals.” 

Each week the column spoke emphatically about how cruelty is bestowed on animals, just for the selfishness of meat lovers. I was shocked about the torture the animals endure, just so they can grace the plates of humans. One piece was particularly so disturbing, that I was on the verge of tears. On that day, my grandpa got me a chicken lollipop (as it used to be my favorite!) I could hardly bring myself to touch it, let alone eat it. That is when I decided, meat is not for me! 

As arranged marriages are the norm in India, I got a proposal from my husband’s family, and one of their main criteria was that they needed a bride who doesn’t eat meat! Apart from the usual joke of “I wouldn’t have chosen a cruelty-free lifestyle, if I knew I would be stuck with you!”, life was good.

Then my daughter was born, and we both decided to raise her sans meat. I used to get a lot of comments from people, who thought that we have deprived our daughter of meat, just because we chose a cruelty-free lifestyle. When my daughter was 5, I told her about how much cruelty is meted out to animals, for animal products. She understood the core of our beliefs, instead of treading along the cruelty-free path, just because her parents told her so!

I have always noticed, that kids need facts, instead of the blind imposition of our belief systems. As my daughter knew the implications of animal products and the cruelty meted out to them, she always said no to well wishers who tried to entice her into tasting meat. She was so clear cut in her response, that they eventually gave up.

Cruelty-free lifestyle has made my daughter more emphatic, and has shaped her personality to a large extent. She understands more emotional responses, and is always mindful of how a tiny act of cruelty can damage a person. She stands up for bullied kids, and handles all hurdles with a cool demeanor. I am so glad that we made this choice!

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Priya Kumar

A management graduate with a passion for writing, Priya Kumar is a mom to a 12 year old daughter. She ruefully admits that she learns a lot through parenting hits and misses!

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