My vegan journey started when I witnessed a slaughtered pig being prepared for a roast at a Boy Scout summer camp. Like a lot of people, I'd always had a basic discomfort with the idea of eating animals, but had rationalized and ignored those feelings. I told myself that humans need to eat animals, that their lives were offered up for a good purpose. Seeing the pig was a wake up call. Here was a being that, if I had encountered it alive and well, I would have tried to befriend it. Instead, an innocent being was lying covered in its own blood, with a hole carved into its rear end so that the workers could shove a spit through it. The camp workers grunted with the effort of their work, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this was not just a big piece of food. This was a once-living being who didn't deserve this.
I didn't partake of the pig roast, and I made some effort to remain vegetarian. As I was 14, and received no support or dinner-time concession from my family, I quickly went back to eating flesh. It was easier to deal with the teasing from friends and peers than it was to go without good food, at least for me. For the next four years, my only concession to my vegetarian ideals was that when my family ordered pizza, I would get cheese only.
It wasn't until I was 18, and felt more in control of my own life and choices, that I fully decided to go vegetarian. About two years later, realizing that the dairy and egg industries cause even more suffering than the flesh industry, I finally went fully vegan.
Becoming vegan opened up my horizons to food. It showed me another side to human interactions – I mean, I was a bit of an outlier anyway, but this added a whole new minority to my stat sheet. My hair and nails grow almost too fast. And I am finally living in alignment with what I always felt to be true: that other living beings are not ours to do with as we wish.
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