I became vegetarian at the age of 8, feeling very acutely the accident of fate that made me human and not bovine, and that I wanted no part in the pain and suffering of fellow creatures.
Veganism wasn’t an unknown quantity to me, as my dear great auntie Margaret had been a vegan since the early 1940s. Within our family she was generally affectionately regarded as being slightly eccentric. As a vegetarian I felt hers was an extreme choice and that by abstaining from flesh and buying free range eggs, I was doing my best for the animals I felt such kinship with.
Perhaps having grown up with a vegan aunt, it never crossed my mind to discuss and delve into her motivation so my own epiphany was provided when I was 18 and met people via ‘Save The Hillgrove Cats’, campaigning to close down a farm breeding cats for vivisection. They made me aware of the hypocrisy in my vegetarianism and the true extent of animal suffering in farming. I had to change. 16 years later, I know I’m vegan for life and simply can’t imagine living any other way.
I feel so proud of my pioneering vegan aunt, and I know she’d feel such joy seeing the movement become increasingly strong and mainstream as awareness rockets (due in no small part to fabulous campaigns such as Veganuary), and would be as excited as I am by the wonderful new restaurants opening and new products which roll out with incredible momentum.
At 35, I feel exactly the same as I did at 8 in that I don’t want to be part of another creature’s pain and suffering, so veganism is an essential, happy and permanent part of my life.