How I became vegan
Category : Uncategorized
I didn’t become vegan overnight. In fact, it was a long process, which did not start in animal rights at all.
I grew up on a small homestead in Vermont. We raised some goats for milk, cows and pigs for meat, and grew a lot of our own vegetables. My parents were (and still are) very Christian.
I had heard about vegetarians, but didn’t know any. Didn’t think about the whole idea much at all.
In junior high I learned how to shoot a gun and went hunting. I never shot at any animals, though, but I did go out hunting a few times. I think I was more concerned that hunting wasn’t a very cool thing to do, rather than concerned about animals.
But, there were a couple of vegetarians in my class. So the idea kind of became somewhat familiar to me. Still strange and unrealistic, but now I actually knew people who were living as vegetarians.
I actually became concerned with meat eating because of the pacifist views I developed (partly because of going to church, I think). I really took the whole idea of “thou shalt not kill” to heart, and had a realization that when we slaughter animals to eat, we really are killing them. The violence of taking of their lives began to feel very wrong.
My initial vegetarianism, during my final year of high school, was actually pescetarianism, meaning I still ate fish. This was something of a concession to my parents and to family gatherings.
In my first week at university, I ate the worst tunafish sandwich ever, and that was the end of my fish eating.
I was a regular vegetarian for the next couple of years. But, I still was not really concerned with animals at all, except in an abstract, theoretical way.
My girlfriend at the time (who I eventually married) told me more about the issues of animal welfare and animal rights, as well as the hidden ingredients like rennet and gelatin. I recall giving up leather and cheese before giving up milk.
I didn’t go vegan until my last year at university, which meant I had to really reduce my consumption of pie and pastries, which was difficult. After that, though, I was fully vegan.
Also, living with cats again brought me back in touch with animals, this time from a different perspective than in the past. Now I approached them on their terms, viewing them as individual beings, whereas I had previously viewed animals as things intruding on my life.
The moral of the story is that I became vegan over many years, and it was a complicated process (probably much more complicated in real life than I am presenting it here) involving many factors. It actually didn’t matter what any one person had told me about animal rights or veganism. For me it was a process of trying to cause less harm, and a view to a path towards that goal. One thing I do know now is that there is no end to the process.
So, as we are out trying to raise awareness about the conditions of animals’ lives and an awareness of animal rights, it may be that our message will not convert anyone to our way of thinking. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be out there trying, but we do need to watch that we are not disappointed or angry when people do not change. You never know where they are on their own path. Or where that path is leading them.
What, then, is your story? Please share it in the comments.