My path from meat eater to vegan took six years. Reality first smacked me in the face when I visited a small scale agricultural collage pig farm as part of my course at University and, being desperate to cuddle a sweet piglet, put myself forward as the first to pick one up. The farmer proceeded to cut off chunks of the pigs ears with what I can only describe as a triangular hole punch, as the pig screamed in my arms. My world changed.
Over the following years I slowly realised the scale of suffering endured by animals in every industry which exploits them for human use. A year living in Tanzania, studying a wild baboon troop who had their own relationships, dramas and individual emotional lives solidified my belief that animals are not here for our purpose.
One of the final straws was when I found out that some mother cows become so violent when their newborn babies are removed, so that humans can take their milk, that they cannot be used as a dairy cows and have to be killed. The brief pleasure I once derived from eating cheese became insignificant compared to the misery which I knew I was contributing to.
I have been vegan now for over six years, and it is the best decision I have ever made. But because it took me so long to get to this stage, I know it can be a slow process and I recognise that, unless someone truly makes the connection between the animals and animal products they use, they will see veganism as a difficult way of life.
People often say to me “it must be hard to be vegan”. It would be harder to ignore all that I know about how animals are used and my core belief that it is not right for them to be used. There are literally thousands of food products which vegans can eat, all providing the nutrition needed to be healthy and happy. There are now also so many amazing vegan companies making everything from cream cakes to delicious sausages and melty cheese, so being vegan is as easy as pie…and I do love a pie!