I’m a fifteen year old, vegan since birth, high school sophomore.
I love animals, acting, robotics, reading, singing, playing with my pets (all thirteen of them!) and hanging out with my friends.
My parents went vegan before I was born. I’ve never eaten meat or animal products and I never will. How could I? Once you’ve held a baby goat, or pet a cow and realized how much they remind you of your dogs (except bigger) there’s really no going back.
I go to the grocery store and look at the meat department and I see peaceful, sentient beings whose only fault was being born a cow or a pig or a chicken. I couldn’t eat someone that spent his or her brief life crammed in a tiny cage with no space to move, someone that has never seen the sun or felt the grass under his feet. Someone that has seen her babies get ripped away from her year after year. Someone that has spent their entire existence listening to the screams of creatures being slaughtered.
How could I eat something that has been killed just so I could eat it?
Paul McCartney said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” I would like to think that this is true.
My grandfather and my aunt and uncle and my cousins live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We visit them regularly, and I like it there. But, there’s a slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls. It’s just sitting there. It looks like a regular building. But if the wind’s blowing in the wrong direction you can smell it from miles away. And anything that smells like that must be an awful place indeed.
People often ask me if it’s hard being vegan. The answer is no. My friends are supportive, and there are vegan versions of just about anything you could want out there, whether its scrambled eggs, a steak, or a BLT. Yes, sometimes I’ve brought a vegan cupcake or something to a friend’s birthday party if their cake isn’t vegan, but that’s no different than one of my friends who has a severe nut allergy and brought her own cupcake to one of my birthday parties.
I suppose people ask me if it’s hard from an honest but misguided idea that I’ve had to make great sacrifices because I’m vegan. I haven’t. And even if I had, it would be worth it. Because vegan isn’t about the things you’ve given up. It’s about becoming healthier. It’s about saving the planet. And what’s most important as far as I’m concerned: it’s about the animals.