Half of family are from Yorkshire and the other half are from Madeira so ‘vegetarian’ wasn’t really a word that was regularly uttered… never mind ‘vegan’. As far as I know I am the only vegan in my family!
I grew up eating meat. For 24 years I ate meat. I ate it because it was there, because it was what everyone that I was around ate and because I was under this silly illusion that ‘proper food has to have meat in’. I had no idea about the horrific scale of animal suffering and the irreversible problems for the planet that are inherent in the production of animal products. I didn’t really think about the fact that the meat I was eating was coming from animals, animals that had to have been killed for me to eat them. I saw a cow in a field and a steak on my plate but didn’t really connect the dots. My eyes were well and truly closed.
In 2013 I met my girlfriend, she had been vegetarian for 13 years by this point. When we moved in together I started eating vegetarian (mainly for the sake of not having to cook two meals), but it got me thinking. We started talking more about vegetarianism and I started to do some research, research that truly shocked and upset me. I read a book called ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathon Safran Foer and it’s this book that made me realise that I had to go vegetarian. I couldn’t claim to care about the planet and care about animals if I still ate them, it’s an obvious paradox.
In June 2016 I went vegan, transitioning over a few weeks. By this time I had read more books, watched more documentaries and learnt more about the animal agriculture industry, and it sickened me. I had another realisation, I can’t claim to care about the planet and care about animals if I eat, drink or use any animal products. The cruelty shown to animals in all areas of animal agriculture is just as horrific as the slaughter of animals for meat. It’s an industry I don’t want to be part of.
Animals don’t need to suffer needlessly for us to have a happy, healthy life. The planet doesn’t need to be destroyed at the unsustainable rate that it is for us to eat a tasty meal. For me it’s a no-brainer: Love animals, love the planet, go vegan!