“Just remember,” I’ve heard a lot of people say, “you weren’t always vegan!”
I get what they’re trying to say. We can’t place judgment on people that haven’t come across the same information that we have. We can’t expect people to immediately understand that we can all thrive on a way of life that doesn’t require violent acts and the depletion of our resources– that we can, in fact, be healthy and happy living in a way that we simply haven’t yet imagined.
I do remember. I wasn’t always vegan. For ~44 of my 47 years, I was blissfully unaware, and yet at my core, not incredibly happy.
I remember when I told my partner I was concerned about whether she would be getting enough protein and she pointed me to the official statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics– the most respected dietary association on the planet, that states that anyone, in any stage of life could thrive on a thoughtful diet devoid of animal products. I remember thinking, “Wow… .. .I’ve been lied to for my entire life.”
I remember watching Cowspiracy, a movie that clearly illustrates how the animal agriculture industry is the largest contributor to deforestation, water table depletion, soil desertification, habitat destruction, climate change, species extinction and ocean dead zones. I remember thinking how for so many years I have prided myself on being as environmentally conscious as someone could possibly be. I remember thinking how my partner and I have lived without a car for ten years and have utilized the wind and sun to power our home and literally carry us over 25,000 miles under sail. I remember thinking about how much we have tried to influence others to live simpler lives that don’t leave such a heavy burden on the planet’s resources. Then I remember learning about the massive impact of animal agriculture– that it is the largest burden holding us back… .. . and thinking, “Wow… .. .I have been such a hypocrite.”
I remember when I was finally brave enough to watch the movie Earthlings, and then the Dominion documentary– movies that clearly illustrate the standard practices of the industry. I remember watching visuals of baby calves being snatched away from their pining mothers and having their throats gashed open with a blade in their first weeks of life. I remember male chicks in the egg industry being piled up by the garbage can-full on their first day of life at the hatchery because a male chicken doesn’t have a menstrual cycle for us to eat. I remember watching in horror as a seemingly thoughtless, but more likely just an impoverished and exploited worker tied a 55 gallon bag full of quivering babies closed and then tossed the sack into the dumpster– completely acceptable behavior by our own laws. I remember watching newborn baby pigs having their tails and testicles lopped off and their teeth busted out with a pliers– all without anesthesia. I remember watching someone pulling the skin off of a live fish and thinking, “did I do that?” I remember endless scenes of torture happening to millions of defenseless and vulnerable animals every day. I had no real awareness of this whatsoever, despite the fact that I was paying for it and even unwittingly participating in it every day.
I remember thinking– while I tried to get my face back together, “Oh my god… .. .how could I have been so deaf, dumb and blind for so long? How could I have been so selfish?”
I remember thinking, “Where did I get this idea that fish don’t feel pain?”
So yeah. I remember. I wasn’t always vegan.
Can you remember what kind of world you dreamed of before they convinced you that their’s was the only possibility?