I was first inspired to start writing about animal rights last spring, when I found out that Maharashtra, India had banned beef. I shared a link to a news article on Facebook, and while my friends usually tolerate my animal rights shares, this time people disagreed. My cousin, who is herself a vegetarian, called me out for supporting the ban (which I actually think should be international, and apply to all animals) and said that by supporting this ban I was infringing on the rights of others. Although she chooses not to eat meat, she supports people who do.

There are many people who believe animal rights infringes on the rights of humans.

Just like there were many people who don't support women's rights (what about the men?!), gay rights (they're destroying marriage!), or civil rights (if black people can also get good jobs, where will whites work???), there are also scarcity-minded people who are worried that if we care about animals, we will somehow stop caring about ourselves.

This myth is so unfair and so unfounded that I vowed to spend the rest of my life trying to dispel it. I had all of these thoughts welling up inside of me, and I just knew that if I didn't get them out, I would go mad. I started a blog, and I wrote about my feelings about the beef ban.

A few days later, I was harassed.

Someone who really loved beef and felt passionately about it contacted me through my cell phone, and wrote me some very strange ad hominem attacks via text message:

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I found it strange that the perpetrator chose to attack me from a religious angle, since I did not mention religion in that post at all. It was a little creepy, but I shared the texts on Twitter and moved on. After all, the best way to deal with bullies is to expose them.

Some months later, I also earned the wrath of The Cattle Network. I was featured in one of their articles, wherein my writing was called "a rambling diatribe." I wasn't able to make much more sense out of the article than I could from those peculiar texts. After doing a little bit of research on the writer, I found out that he routinely attacks vegetarians and vegans online.

When I first started writing about animal rights, I didn't realize that there were so many beef advocates who felt so strongly about maintaining their current way of life. But then again, Cowspiracy revealed that over 1,000 activists have been killed in Brazil, all in the name of killing cows, so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising to me.

It's a little scary, but it's a matter of life and death for these animals, who are unable to use a voice of their own.

I wrote about my revelations on the cruel dairy industry, which I had on a recent trip to India, and submitted the post to a few publications. One of the responses I received was priceless, so I had to share it with you all:

Dear Samita,

Thanks for your mail, and glad you have chosen to be a vegetarian.

Hope being a vegetarian brings you great peace, love of the cows and the good lord.

The organization that wrote this is Care for Cows, a cow protection organization based in Vrindavan, India.

"Peace, love of the cows and the good lord" is exactly what the vegetarian diet has given me. It is a compassionate diet that affects consciousness in subtle ways over time. The longer that I have been on this diet, the more compassionate and affectionate to animals that I've noticed myself becoming. It has gotten to the point where the smell of a barbecue  revolts me and I can easily find my eyes welling up when I read heartwarming posts on The Dodo.

Another member from the same organization, who was CC'd, added:

Humans need to go back to the house cow where families keep their own, knowing each by name or even sharing them as some groups are doing with other caring families.  Cows respond with showering their abundant treasures upon the Earth when they are treated with the love and kindness they deserve.

I hope someday to have my own cow(s). In the meantime, I live vicariously through other people, by looking at photos and videos of cows.

Proof that cows are smart:

At the 5:00 mark in this cute video, the little girl's mom says she wants to stop eating beef: