I was fortunate to be raised as a vegetarian. My parents had been vegetarian for 10 years before they had children and my three brothers and I were raised veggie as a result.
Though some people think we missed out on things because of our parents’ decision, my brothers and I felt no different to any other children, except that our pets included chickens, ducks and even sheep. Animals were part of our family and as such we were never tempted to eat them!
When I went to university to study Animal Biology, I began learning more about the animal industry, including eggs and dairy. I had heard awful things about these industries previously, but had dismissed it as coming from ‘extremist’ organisations. But to learn about it from industry experts (people who conducted these cruel practices themselves), was shocking. Everything that these animal organisations had said was true: baby male chicks were being ground up alive because they can’t produce eggs; dairy cows were being repeatedly impregnated in order to produce milk, and if a male calf was born, it was shot at birth or sold as veal. Then, after this period of suffering, when the animals are too exhausted to produce any more, they are deemed ‘spent’ and sent for slaughter. It was disgusting to learn that my money was funding this cruelty.
Unfortunately the decision to become vegan didn’t happen straight away. Like most people, even though I knew that it was the right decision to make, it seemed like it would be too hard. I kept on making excuses. I didn’t want to miss out on what I thought were my favourite foods.
Then, together with my university’s Vegetarian Society, I visited the Lincoln Veggie Fayre. There was lots of information about veganism, which I knew already, and had chosen to ignore. But then I found the food court! It was here I got to sample a variety of vegan food. I tried some vegan chocolate cake, (which to this day was the best cake I’ve ever had) and it completely changed me. I had no more excuses. I COULD have my cake and eat it too. That day I decided to turn vegan. Four years later, it was the best decision I ever made.
The transitioning first two weeks were probably the most difficult as I had not researched it thoroughly and I had no idea what I actually could eat. But after then, it became so exciting finding food that you thought you couldn’t have (like Oreos) – that are vegan! I am now pleased to say I’m a massive advocate for veganism. Two of my three brothers have also turned vegan, as has my mum. I became the President of my university Vegetarian Society to promote veganism further, and to show people how easy being vegan can be.
My ideal career would be in animal rights and to continue raising my voice for animals for everyone to hear.