Vegan Stories. Sharing the earth and our stories.
If you’re like me, chances are, you probably grew up consuming animals. From the time we were infants, most of us were conditioned to the idea that eating meat, eggs, and dairy was not only normal, but necessary for our health and proper development. Our earliest tastes in food largely revolved around various meats. Family celebrations and holidays, like Thanksgiving, were often centered around slaughtered animals on our dining tables. As a result, we connected eating meat and dairy as something joyous and positive, completely disconnected from the reality of what we were eating. We protected ourselves from recognizing the horror of animal suffering by focusing instead on how good they tasted. We justified in our minds that it was ok to eat cows and pigs and lambs and chickens and turkeys and fish because, after all, “that was their purpose in life”. We rationalized that farm animals deserved less compassion than our dogs and cats, animals that we wouldn’t ever consider treating so cruelly.
If you’re like me, at some point in your life, you realized that consuming animal flesh and animal products was wrong. Perhaps you struggled with the concept for a long time, or maybe you made the connection quite suddenly. Perhaps someone you admired encouraged you to consider eliminating meat and dairy from your diet, or possibly, you had a health scare that caused you to re-think your dietary habits. Whatever your reasons, it’s all good. You’re moving in the right direction to improve not only your health and well-being, but that of thousands of innocent animals and our precious planet as well.
I love to hear the personal stories of how others, like me, found themselves on the path to vegan living. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with two people with uniquely different backgrounds and experiences that ultimately lead them to choosing compassion over cruelty. Here are their stories:
Robert is a kind-faced, educated, middle-aged man who originated from Puerto Rico. Born and raised in a traditional Catholic household, his early upbringing revolved around the Church and the belief that man was given dominion over animals. An avid hunter, he regularly participated in hunting as recreation. One day, while hunting deer, he took aim and shot a buck, gravely injuring it, but not killing it. Realizing the animal had not yet died from his bullet, Robert approached the deer. What he saw changed Robert’s life forever. For the first time, Robert was forced to look into the terrified eyes of an innocent being who’s life he had just destroyed. He saw the pain, the fear, the trauma he had inflicted on the beautiful animal who, only moments before, had been healthy and living free. Knowing that it wouldn’t survive from it’s wounds, Robert ended the deer’s suffering. In that moment, he made the connection to the cruelty of his actions. No longer could he hide behind the hunter’s camouflage of indifference. He set down his gun and made a vow to the mortally wounded deer and to himself to never hunt again. Today, Robert is a dedicated animal advocate, working tirelessly to protect wildlife and all animals from harm.
Melissa is a bright, cheerful, twenty-something college student. One day, between classes, she stopped into a campus restroom. While washing her hands, she noticed a flyer in a trash can. She picked up the flyer and saw that it was about the egg and dairy industry. The flyer wasn’t particularly graphic, but what she read disturbed her. When she returned home, she decided to research it further and learn what she could about factory farming for meat, dairy, and eggs.”I was so sad for the way we treat these animals. I just kept doing more and more research and became really upset about the way the food industry kills/abuses/exploits these sweet animals.” She explored different sites and watched interviews and videos, and while some of them were very graphic and hard to watch she was glad that she watched them, because she “doesn’t want to financially support this industry.” Melissa says “I just think it’s so sad, and if people saw these videos, I think many people would stop supporting these industries.” Melissa has also stopped purchasing products from companies that test on animals or are not vegan.
Whether your journey to vegan living was a quick, direct route, or a long and winding road, your story of why and how you made your choice to living meat and dairy free could be of value to someone else considering to do the same. I encourage you to share your story too!
Thank you for being vegan.