Anxiety and depression turned my world upside down, and left me feeling like I had no idea who I was anymore. I needed to work out what was important to me now. The one thing that has always been true in my life is my love of animals. So that seemed the most logical place to start.
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Looking out for the animals
It was easy to become vegetarian because I had already cut down on meat and dairy products. I’ve never liked the feel or sight of meat anyway, so it wasn’t a problem for me.
But I was now digging into research about farms, animal agriculture, animal testing, animal cruelty. The more I saw and read, the more horrified I became. I couldn’t believe how ignorant I had been. I felt guilty that I didn’t know the true extent of the suffering of these animals I claimed to love.
It started to dawn on me how absurd it is that we love our pets, but eat other animals. How are they different? They are all alive, breathing, thinking and feeling just like us and our house companions. I don’t believe we have the right to choose which ones get to live or die.
And so, vegetarian I became!
Moving forward to being vegan
But still there was more to learn. The dairy industry is not a nice place to live – especially if you’re a cow. Dairy cows have their babies taken away from them, but they still cry for them for weeks. Being a mother, I can imagine how they must feel. I can only imagine the pain they endure when they are milked with bleeding udders. Then, they are finally dragged away for slaughter when they can no longer produce milk.
Turning to the chicken industry was no better. Male chicks are ground up alive because they can’t contribute. ‘Free range’ chickens are often housed in huge barns, where they never see the sunlight. Fattened up so much they can’t walk, they are forced to lie in their own faeces or among their dead companions.
It made me ashamed to be human. As the ‘superior’ species on the planet, surely our job is to nurture and protect the weaker ones, not abuse and torture them.
Even as I write this, I can feel those emotions of guilt, shame and anger at the way we treat animals. Like just another product to be used and thrown away.
For me, enough was enough. I could no longer contribute to this industry knowing what I know, simply to satisfy my taste buds.
Onwards and upwards
And so I began the transition into veganism. I have encountered challenges along the way, and it’s taken a while to get here. Sometimes the local shop only has vegetarian options, and you forget to pack your favourite vegan sandwiches.
Now I know to prepare ahead of time.
Since becoming vegan, I feel healthier, have more energy and feel more alert. I have virtually no problems with my IBS these days, and my sleep has improved.
I feel like I am making a difference to the animals, my health and the environment, and it’s heart warming to hear of the changes going on in the world with veganism becoming ever more popular. Could it be, that we are finally learning that Earth is not our plaything, but our home?
Have you gone vegan? What were your reasons? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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