I love animals enough to meet their needs while they are alive, but I also understand they sometimes must be killed in order to meet my needs. So there is no conflict between loving animals and killing them.
In order to eat meat, an animal lover must be comfortable with the sexual violation of cows, pigs, sheep, goats and other beings via artificial insemination. In order to drink milk, an animal lover must be comfortable with the separation of a mother cow from her calf and with the raising of that calf in a veal crate for the few months it is permitted to live. In order to eat eggs, an animal lover must be comfortable with the crushing and suffocation of billions of male chicks per year, since males are not useful to the egg industry. None of these things are acts of love.
Just as it is not possible to oppress people and still claim to be humanists, we cannot harm animals and still claim to be animal lovers. Love is not expressed for animals by violating and killing them, nor is it expressed by paying someone else to do so on our behalf. At worst, such behavior is an act of hate and at best an act of apathy for the plight of the victims. Love requires that we support and protect those we love, and in the case of animals, it requires that we do not commodify their lives. Rather, we must treat them with dignity in ways that align with their needs and wishes rather than our own selfish desires. Therefore, if we do love animals, then going and staying vegan does a great deal to express that love.
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