More than 20 years ago I became vegetarian, then vegan, but I didn’t understand the ethics of veganism so I didn’t stick to it.
I grew up in a family made everything from scratch. I learned to cook for myself as a vegetarian/vegan. I loved food. My father, a philosopher, had taught me from a very young age that there is no difference between our non-human animal companions and those we kill for food. I couldn’t bear to see anyone mistreated or injustice carried out. I cared about the environment. I keenly felt the wonder and fleeting nature of life, especially after experiencing the untimely death of two young friends. I wanted love to win the day. But despite all this, I didn’t fully understand. I knew no vegans and, in retrospect, I understand that veganism was, for me, a diet. As such, I made it so restrictive that I got bored with myself.
I lapsed and consumed organic and humane animal products, thinking that it made a difference (it doesn’t). Then, something happened in late 2013.
I run almost every day and I do a lot of my thinking during that time. There was a question that kept recurring: How is it possible for cows to express milk on demand when humans only do that after we’ve given birth? The answer is obvious: They can’t! That realisation hit me like a baseball bat slugged across my stomach. It stopped me in my tracks. At that very moment, I became vegan.
I researched and learned about the heart-rending practices in all dairies and chicken hatcheries; about the environmental impact from these industries; about the unimaginable hell and the vast scale. We are conditioned to just never stop and think about any of this. Around the same time, I began reading Gary Francione and Anna Charlton’s work as well as Sherry Colb’s and I found their message compelling, clear and utterly rational. I couldn’t not go vegan.
The bottom line is this: There is no good reason to exploit non-human animals for our pleasure or convenience. They’re not here for our benefit. Now, I understand that simple truth and being vegan is the least I – and all of us – can do.
I feel like I’ve switched off a lamp in a well-lit room. I don’t miss that light; I didn’t need it. There are plenty of other sources of light to illuminate my way (read – loads of yummy things to eat that don’t involve another’s suffering and death). I feel liberated. I have chosen to let fairness win the day, every day.
How do you go vegan? Go vegan for breakfast until you get used to it. Then, lunch. Then, snacks. Then, dinner. There you go, you’re fully vegan. Need more info? Check out The International Vegan Association