A little less than a year ago, I made the decision to become a vegetarian. Bored at work, I had started reading articles online about the horrible animal cruelty that has become so prevalent on America’s factory farms. Having grown up on a small farm in the Midwest, my idea of a cattle farm was vastly different from the ones I read about on animal welfare websites. I couldn’t believe the types of abuses that were commonplace on these large, industrialized farms. It broke my heart.
For almost 27 years I ignored it. I ignored the fact that the meat on my plate was once a living, breathing animal – a sentient being capable of love, joy, fear, curiosity, frustration and especially, pain. The more I read, the more I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore. The choice to go vegetarian was something I contemplated for what seemed like a long time. I knew that for me it was the right thing to do, given my views on animal treatment, but at the same time I had so many questions:
Will one person going vegetarian actually make a difference anyway?
What will my (omnivore) family and friends think?
Where will I get my protein if I don’t eat meat?
How will this affect my life?
Can I even do it?
In short, despite my convictions, it wasn’t an easy decision, but one day I decided to commit to it. I haven’t looked back. In fact, I just continued to look forward.
Almost immediately after going vegetarian, I got involved with a local animal rights organization and started contemplating veganism. I knew I didn’t want to contribute to animal suffering, and the more I learned about the abuses that are so common in the egg and dairy industries, the more I felt like becoming a vegan was the right thing for me to do. However, the same questions presented themselves. As a lifelong lover of cheese and milk chocolate, I wasn’t quite sure I could do it. I mean, I really, REALLY loved cheese and chocolate.
I’m happy to report, however, that I finally did bite the bullet and commit to veganism, and I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself for it. I finally feel like I’m living my values. I’m doing something that’s good for my body, good for the environment, and most of all, good for animals. One person does make a difference, and even if you proved to me that it didn’t, I’d still be vegan because living what I believe in makes me feel good.
So, that’s my story. Stay posted for more info on factory farming, the animal rights movement (past and present), and veganism!