An Open Letter to Oprah from Kimberly Steele

Kimberly's picture

Hi Oprah,

You seem like a good person. I know you did not ask for my judgement; oh well. Here goes. I estimate you as genuinely good, meaning you have cooperation and altruism in your heart. You have done inspiring work, including building yourself up from nothing and using your power and influence to help women across the world. If nothing else, you are a shining example to any woman born in poverty that she can be any person she wants to be.

It is because you are a good person that I believe you will be able to walk away from eating animal flesh and secretions some day. I hope that day comes soon, because every celebrity who goes vegan helps to cement a relationship with animals where humans do not play the part of devils and torturing cowards but instead become wise caretakers and stewards of enlightenment.

I think you have been misled to think being vegan is about improving one's health or lessening one's footprint. Yes, being vegan can improve one's health and by it's nature does lessen the Tyrannosaurus-sized impact of our individual human lives, however, in the end, being vegan is about respect.

You cannot respect a living creature by murdering that creature for her muscle tissue (i.e. meat). We humans have made a species-wide career of believing we are entitled to act like gods. For millennia, we have thought it perfectly reasonable to lord our technological advancements over species we have labeled "inferior" simply out of their lack of ability to fight us. That is why we herd cows and breed chickens and not bears and wolves.

"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men." -Alice Walker

No matter how well you treat an animal, if you choose to exploit that animal for her muscle tissue (meat) or her reproductive abilities (dairy and eggs), you are not respecting that animal. You are not allowing her to live as she would have wanted to live or exist as she would have wanted to exist. I use "she" because it is largely female animals who are used and abused for the animal "food" industry. Why? We females have always been easier to exploit, easier to rape, and easier to coerce. That is why it is such an imperative for powerful females like yourself to rise against the machine that has been permitted to exploit the other females of the planet almost since the human race began.

As a morally upright person, the more privilege you amass in this world, the more you owe it to yourself to be vegan. Why? It's not as hard for you to live by your own principles. Unlike the ninety-nine percent, you never have to work another day in your life if you don't want to. You never have to worry about where your next meal or clothes on your back will come from. I am grateful I didn't wake up in Syria today, however, I am definitely not a person who is worry-free about keeping a roof over my head. Do you really need an animal to lose her life so you may eat? Do you see yourself as that important in the scheme of things that another being should die so that you can have a meal?

"Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages. Vile ignoble gulags of despair. And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is a pig is a bear... is a boy." -Philip Wollen

There are others in your enviable financial position who are not at all like you, Oprah. Many politicians and celebrities come to mind. I am not addressing this letter to any of those people because I don't think they have a fraction of the moral fiber you have. They are hopeless narcissists who will go to their graves without a single real accomplishment to their name (exploiting the world's resources and gullible people don't count as achievements) whereas you will be able to say you genuinely made the world a better place.

It's time for you to step up, Oprah. The animals need you.