When I was 11 years old, my best friend showed me a PETA video. It was an undercover video exposing the cruelty of factory farming. My best friend and I both became vegetarian that day.
My family was accepting of me choosing to be vegetarian but they were worried about my nutrition. I was very picky and didn’t like vegetables. My vegetarian diet consisted mostly of macaroni, veggie burgers and processed food. I definitely wasn’t the healthiest but I have a naturally slim body and didn’t have to worry about my weight, so I didn’t really care what I was eating.
In high school I had a cosmetic jaw surgery and my mouth was wired shut. I was only allowed to consume food via a straw- lots of soups, yogurt and smoothies. I became very bored of this diet and instead ate some beef chili. I decided I wasn’t vegetarian anymore, even though I was completely aware of the cruelty and harm to both animals and the environment.
For twelve years I was vegetarian on and off. I would be vegetarian for a year, stop suddenly for a few months, then become vegetarian again. I would just pretend that I didn’t know what was happening to the animals I was consuming. It hurt me too much to think about it, yet I didn’t want to do anything about it. I ate “free range” eggs and “grass fed” beef and tried to convince myself that I was eating “ethically”, even though those labels are completely misleading and deceptive. Free range chickens and grass fed cattle endure just as much cruelty as any other farm animal.
Throughout my years of on-and-off vegetarianism, I never really considered veganism. One day one of my vegan friends shared a video on Facebook about the dairy industry. It was a video of a newborn calf, who was seeking comfort from his mother, but then suddenly ripped away from her and put in isolation until he was old enough (18-20 weeks) to be slaughtered for veal. The mother cried out for her calf for weeks, as they usually do. Female cows are put through the torture of getting pregnant, giving birth and having their babies ripped apart from them over and over and over until the mother cow is finally slaughtered herself.
That video of that cow and her calf is the reason I am vegan today.
There are many reasons I am vegan; it is so much more than a diet.
I am vegan for the billions of animals killed for our consumption every year.
I am vegan for the trillions of sea animals killed for our consumption every year.
I am vegan for the environment.
I am vegan for the poor and desperate immigrant workers who are forced to work in factory farms because they cannot get any other job.
I am vegan for my health.
I am vegan because there are millions of starving people on this planet yet we choose to feed farm animals instead.
I am vegan because it is the best way I can help reduce my carbon footprint.
I am vegan because I love all earthlings.