Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

This is my story - Becoming Vegan on Valentine's Day 2010

The moment I saw the horrible undercover videos on the PETA website of the conditions at today's "factory farms", I knew I had to change the way I eat. The day was April 24th, 2009. I was so disturbed by the way the workers treat the animals, thinking to myself, what is the difference between these animals that we call FOOD and my beautiful companion dog that I snuggle to, or the dogs and cats that I see at the Dutchess County SPCA where I do volunteer work? I was blind to what was going on and gave up land animals that day, followed by fish, becoming vegetarian on June 1st, 2009.

Over the course of the next 8 months I have been reading all I can about the way animals are treated for "human" consumption and have discovered that we Do Not need to eat them to live healthy lives. We were all brought up to think that a piece of flesh was the center of the meal, along with a side or two of some kind of vegetable. Just because that is what we always did doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean we have to continue to eat that way.

Growing up, I remember being so devastated when one day while eating my veal cutlet, I asked where it came from. When I was told it was a baby cow, I stopped eating it right away, wondering WHAT!?

I could also remember that I could never eat any kind of animal flesh with the bone in it. Filet mignon or hamburger was all I would eat. Chicken had to be chicken cutlets. I never liked eating chicken off the bone or wings or drumsticks. Boneless spare ribs are all I would eat. I would always say that it was "too much work" to eat them this way. Maybe subconsciously it was much more than that. Maybe seeing the bone attached I was actually acknowledging that it was a once living creature that I was eating and not a piece of meat decorated in a Styrofoam plate wrapped so nicely in plastic on the supermarket fridge.

One of the greatest tools in my journey thus far is a podcast on ITunes, "Vegetarian Food For Thought" - by Colleen Patrick - Goudreau, founder of Colleen’s podcasts have helped me quite a bit and I am so grateful for them.

Others who have influenced me on my journey have been Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals, and Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary, just to name a few.

During August and September 2009 I started visiting Farm Animal Sanctuaries to get up close with “survivors” that were rescued and can now live out the rest of their lives in peace knowing that no one is going to hurt them. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the Catskill Animal Sanctuary are the ones I have visited and I plan on visiting FARM SANCTUARY in Watkins Glen, NY this fall.

Since my visits to the sanctuaries I have given up milk, eggs, and finally cheese on February 14, 2010 – (Valentine’s Day) to become vegan. I am going to work as hard as I can to stay that way.

I have always had an affinity for animals since an early age. I loved to go to the zoo to marvel at the animals there, not realizing what sad lives they were living as prisoners for our amusement. Same with animals in circuses and aquariums.

I have become more vocal with my new lifestyle and have handed out some leaflets and talk to my friends and relatives about vegetarianism and even helped to inspire at least one friend I know of, into going veg. I hope to do more in the future to advocate for animals.

Thank for reading this and hope you will consider opening your eyes, hearts and minds to change. If you are considering going veg, please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns. I will be glad to help.

I also started a blog @ WWW.AVoice4Animals.BLOGSPOT.COM - Please follow me there!


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Comment by Carolyn Bailey on May 27, 2010 at 15:45
Hi Michael,

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us!

I think that compassion is something some people are lucky enough to be born with in greater quantities than others. I too remember, as a child, not being able to eat animal flesh that actually looked like animal flesh. I wouldn't hesitate (unfortunately) at eating things that didn't scream out "dead animal", but I learnt, thankfully.

I remember writing a letter to the Prime Minister when I was 10 asking why animals were kept in zoos, I really couldn't understand it. I received a letter back, which even at that age, made me shake my head and think what a cop-out it was.

I know of, but don't know personally the people you mentioned who influenced you, I think however anyone gets to living a vegan lifestyle, whoever helped them on their way have something to be proud of.

I became vegan arounf the same time as you, I was around March last year. I had no idea about the dairy industry until then. I had no idea about most things, other than the fact that it was incredibly unnatural and abnormal to be eating anyone, for any reason, at any time.

There are a few blogs that I highly recommend, they have taught me an enormous amount. The first one is Dan Cudahy's blog ~ Unpopular Vegan Essays ~

and Roger Yates's blog ~ On Human Nonhuman Relations

Congratulations on making the world a better place!



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