Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
So glad to be apart of this site! I stumbled upon it through a good blog I was reading.
Well I guess to start, the basics:
Im 24 years old, female, canadian and vegetarian turning vegan. I have been studying Environmental studies & International Development since 2007, and had dabbled in Literature, history & Classics (Greek and Roman society, classical mythology etc). Im currently taking a bit of time off though, but am constantly filling my noggin full of tidbits and knowledge.
I have been vegetarian since age 20. I could not imagine eating meat ever again. Throughout the last four years of this awesome adventure of compassionate eating, I have heard many stories on how people have made the switch. The majority of which said was a slow process, but for me, it was an overnight switch, BAM, vegetarian.
One night I was out for dinner (wings and beer night, yo!), what seems like a million years ago but is really only 4 and a bit, with a bunch of friends. One of my girlfriends, Aisha, ordered some sort of vegetarian sandwich and fries (le gasp! no wings?!). I inquired about it, to which she explained the cold hard truth about where my chicken wings were coming from. She told me she refused to eat meat from restaurants because they come from 'factory farms'. factory farms i asked? Up until that moment I had no idea how naive I was about my food. I was completely detached from the process in which my food goes from 'farm' to plate. I figured, or let myself figure, that the animals all lived on happy little farms grazing and playing - WRONG.
As Aisha explained what happens to these poor, innocent birds, cows & pigs in these terrible death chambers, some of my friends began to josh and make fun (a theme that re-presents itself multiple times throughout my years as a veg.) After telling them, in a tone clearly put off by their lack of compassion, that she doesnt think its funny that chickens get sexually assaulted when being sent to the slaughter, I knew I had to investigate.
I cried all night after watching those PETA videos. Video after video of torture, pain and death made me feel disgusted and sickened. why had I not known about this? why was this not all over the news? why werent these people jailed for animal cruelty?
I stomped to my small fridge and freezer in my little bachelor apartment (an apartment which held several beginner meetings for my small feeble animal rights group I started). I pulled out the frozen chicken breast I had in the freezer and the package of hamburger meat in the fridge. and I chucked it. in to the garbage and outside it went. Since that night I have had no part in the killing of animals for my own glutinous consumption.
Im the type of person who, once no longer ignorant to an issue, whether only slightly or alot, I need to further my knowledge about it. Doesnt matter if its about chinese children working in sweat shops for Walmart, or my introduction to vegetarianism, or any number of things, I can no longer allow myself to be ignorant to facts, and I feel a fierce obligation to make sure that I have no part in what it is I dont agree with, and I try to make changes.
Im happy to say that, although there have been ups and downs, I LOVE being vegetarian, and I will LOVE being vegan (once I get there). My conscious, compassionate life choices have not only affected other areas of my life, but my close friends as well.
My best friend L has donated to animalsasia.org and was the first to show me the documentary The Cove, that opened up an entirely new world of activism for me. It wasnt just land and air creatures that need our help, but the big beautiful, heavenly cetaceans as well.
Ive vowed to dedicate myself and my life to activism and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am forward, fierce, and strong in my convictions and opinions. I am easy to get along with and always listen with an open mind.
Ive done protests, midnight-stickering, flyering and petitions. Ive done tons of research, read all kinds of books, and eat consciously and compassionately. As an eager vegetarian I really look forward to connecting with others on these issues and other topics of interest.
Hope to talk to you soon :)
Welcome to ARZone!
Thanks for sharing your story with us. You're certainly not the only person not to have known how other animals are used for our pleasure. It can be a real shock when we find out. I think it's admirable that you made the decision to stop eating other animals when you were first made aware of it. Congratulations!
I wish you all the best on your move to living vegan, and if there is anything ARZone can do to help you or any information we can provide, please feel free to ask.
Have a great week! :)
Hi Shauna. Glad to have you on board.
I'm only just starting to explore the animal rights movement in non-Western/global south nations, so the reference to animalsasia.org is helpful thanks. I'm keen to learn more about animal advocacy in less affluent nations/communities, seeing how the movement is so often ridiculed for being a white middle class dominated affair. I personally know many working class and indigenous people who are equally passionate about these matters, but they often don't have the resources to be as visible about their beliefs and practices as more affluent people. So I'm thinking better knowledge about cross-cultural and indigenous engagement on animal rights is pretty important.
Hi there Tim, sorry it took so long to get back to this. Thanks for the interest in my message! I'd like to hear about your road to vegetarianism as well.
Honestly, being a vegetarian has greatly impacted most of the areas in my life. While attending University, I realized that the switch over from the nasty deep fried foods to the sustainable, local cuisine fell right in time with my switch over to vegetarianism. Although a little more pricey, the University of Winnipeg has an amazing array of vegan, vegetarian and ethically-raised-animal dishes. Eating as a vegetarian while at school for 8 hours was a lot easier having those kind of options at my disposal if I had not had a chance to make a lunch that day. With such nice options and my school showing far more awareness about food choices I actually found myself spending much more time at the school studying.
As far as impacting my relationships, that has been an insane rollercoaster. My family (dad and mom, little brother) were immediately supportive and have been from the get-go. However, at the time I did not live with them. I moved back in with my folks temporarily, and this is the only time Ive run into problems. My family eats A LOT of meat and A LOT of fish. it is so hard sometimes for me to try and coincide a vegetarian meal with their meat-based one because I have to cook my food in the kitchen while ground beef or whatever is being cooked. YUCK. I dont find it tempting at all but cooking is almost becoming a negative experience when my family is also cooking, just because for me making a meal is almost meditative....its hard to meditate when Im being smothered in cooking flesh smells.
My friends however, the ones I thought were my closest ones, actually made fun of me and talked down about my decision and the animal rights issues i feel so strongly about. those 'friends' have since then been kicked to the curb. It is hard for me to be around people who make fun of a strong belief of mine or someone else's. I have definitely taken a quantity cut in friends, but the ones who are still by my side are unbelievably supportive, open-minded, and never rude. I have also managed to connect with a few amazing people I have done protests with, and that is even more wonderful, because I can have conversations about these things. As much as my family is supportive they dont want to have a big debate about the connection between grain/corn crops, children starving in underdeveloped countries and factory farming. Sometimes I feel a heavy disconnect. I live (temporarily) in a small community, I have only met one other vegetarian and she was just as excited as I was to meet a fellow veg-head. It is so hard to express my feelings when there isnt anyone around to talk to about it.
I eat extremely consciously, and conduct my life consciously (as much as I can) as well. However, as mentioned before, I do live in a small town right now. no farmers markets, barely any organic options, and the vegetarian food selection is only at Safeway and its really minimal. Living here and being a strict vegetarian has really made me a better more experimental cook!
Being a vegetarian has also played a roll in where my career is going. I entered University thinking I would be a History/ Literature teacher. However, I switched my major to Environmental Sustainability with a focus on endangered species and plant life. I am going to volunteer over the next year and hopefully be selected for the Sea Shepherds next campaign then continue my education and eventually end up over-seas!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read about me :) hope to hear about your veg path soon!
Hi there Barbara and thanks for the warm message :)
Just wondering how you made the switch from vegetarian to veganism? I am finding it hard to do actually. Im not sure if its because I am living with my family who are heavy meat eaters or if its because of the location (small town = less options). I have managed to cut milk out of my life (thank god) ages ago, but im having such a hard time with cheese. Gary Yourofsky (such an amazing activist if you havent heard of him) says 90% of vegetarians dont go vegan because of cheese. He's probably right.
So if you want to share Id love a little insight on how you went veg, then vegan :D!
talk to you soon, namaste!
thank you so much! very informative :) Im definitely going to check out those sites!
I wonder if I can order Daiya cheese online? I live in a very small community and these types of foods are not offered at the super market. Im lucky if I find Almond Milk half the time.
I have been eating a lot of roasted vegetables, rice, diff grains etc. I should look into more raw food. thanks for the info!