How we became a vegan family.
I really enjoy hearing what made people decide to go vegan so I thought I would share my own story. I made a vlog the other day talking about my reasons for going vegan, the kids are also in it at the end talking about why they went vegan too, I will add that at the end of this post but I also wanted to write a blog post about it. Some of what I’m going to write was covered in the video but a lot of it I forgot to talk about, it’s hard to remember everything!
So it was Blackfish that got me thinking about it all, not necessarily a film you would associate with veganism but before watching it I had never really stopped to think about animals and how they are treated by humans. As I mention in my vlog, I was never an animal lover before going vegan. I didn’t have pets growing up, never felt love for an animal and didn’t really feel anything towards them but watching the scene in Blackfish where one of the Orca whales had her baby taken away made me cry. She reacted in the same way that any human mother would if her baby was taken from her, and in the same way that cows do when their babies are taken off them. No mother, animal or human, should have to experience that level of pure torture. Mr C used to live opposite a farm and he said he would hear the cows crying for their babies for hours after they were taken away, how can we think that animals don’t feel that loss in the same way we would?
It’s not a one-off occurrence either, dairy cows go through about five cycles of it. They don’t even get pregnant naturally, the entire process from start to finish is completely engineered by humans to capitalise on something that doesn’t belong to them.
I feel so stupid now when I claim not to have known how the dairy industry worked but it’s so well hidden from us. I was sitting in a doctors surgery with the kids a couple of months ago and there was a book about life on the farm and it made me so angry. It made it look like some kind of heaven for animals, and that is what children grow up thinking. Some might argue that children don’t need to have their minds filled with what really happens but I completely disagree, I feel we need to educate our children about the reality of the meat and dairy industry so that the next generation don’t see it as normal. So many of us were brought up not thinking twice about what the cows went through to enable us to pour milk on our cereal or what the pigs went through before being turned into sausages and the thing I hate the most is that I’d spent so much of my life thinking it was normal that I had become desensitised to any emotion around the topic. I didn’t care because no-one else cared, this is just what we do, we switch off any feelings towards pigs, cows, chickens and sheep because they can’t be seen in the same way as dogs and cats.
Love and compassion should be universal, it should be shown towards every living creature. I know a lot of people think that taking honey is okay because they are ‘only’ bees. Yet those bees work harder and do more good for our planet that most humans will in their lifetime!
So it was a mother to mother connection that made me stop and realise just how shocking the meat, egg and dairy industry is but once I had felt that emotion it then went out to every animal out there. Would I say I’m an animal lover now? YES! I finally get it, they are magical and to be able to share our planet with so many different creatures is such a blessing.
There are so many documentaries and films out there now that talk about why veganism is better not just for animals but also the planet and our health: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Food Matters, Food Choices, Vegucated, Forks Over Knives… This video by Bite Size Vegan is so eye-opening, it’s looking at the best case scenario instead of the worst and looks at all the wording in farming laws and what it really means. It’s based in Ireland too, I know a lot of people seem to think all the bad stuff happens overseas. It answers all the questions most people have and is a really educational watch, I watched it after already deciding to be vegan and still learnt a lot. The fact is that even if pigs are free range and have ‘happy lives’, the way they are killed once they get to the slaughterhouses and the experience of that for them is so horrific that how they lived their lives up until that point becomes irrelevant. They can be treated with all the respect in the world but when they are packed off to be gassed to death it no longer matters. They have been let down by the people who were supposed to care about them, just so we can turn them into a roast dinner.
I know not everyone will care but I believe that acting out of love will change things on this planet, not just for animals but for humans too. I hear the comparison between the two made so frequently, there seems to be this common belief that you should care more about people that animals or that if you care about what is happening to pigs then you obviously don’t care about the humans suffering on our planet but I think that assumption is a big part of the problem. How can you start saying who is more worthy of love and compassion? The way I see it is that animals don’t have a human voice so need us to speak out for them and helping them is something that is so easy to action. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about humans, I do everything I can to help them too.
I could go on for so long about this, and yes there is a good chance you will see me doing some activism in the future! But for now I will leave you with my video and just say that I can see such a big change happening and that makes me feel so positive for the future.
Oh and I will do a post about the other benefits I’ve found to being vegan such as not putting on weight despite eating everything I want to and seeing my anxiety disappear – not surprising really when you think about the fact I’m not eating animals products full of fear and stress hormones anymore!!