A year ago I decided I wanted to become vegetarian. I didn't really know that much about it, but I had never been a big meat eater. At school I got grossed out by the mystery meat they used, and I did kind of considered the ethics of killing another animal to eat it. To be honest though I wasn't that passionate about it. I just knew that it wouldn't be too hard for me to give up meat and I wanted to try it.
I told myself after one year, I would decide if I wanted to stick with it. At times I seriously thought that I wouldn't. It's been a year and all of the sudden - I'm not really sure why or how - I started researching it more. Now I think I want to be mostly vegan.
I am really grateful for the support of my family and most of my friends, but still people tell me I'm crazy (probably true) and ask me over and over again why I would even consider it.
Here are some of my reasons:
- Farming is a HUGE industry in the US, and much of it is done with factory farming type methods. Animals are mass produced, pumped with chemicals, raised in tiny crates, subjected to pain and then brutally killed all so that we can eat them, when in most cases we would not starve if we didn't eat them.
- Mama cows are baby and milk machines. They are bred for the sole purpose of getting pregnant only to have their babies immediately taken away - how can anyone say that any mother creature doesn't mind having her baby ripped away from her? ... Well maybe like sea horses or something are an exception. Plus the cows are made to produce way more whey than natural, which causes pain. Then they are not milked by nice farmers but by big machines that cause painful sores that get infected and bleed/puss into the milk.
- Egg laying chickens are a whole other story that is equally, if not more, depressing.
- Then such large scale farming has an incredible environmental impact. Raising all these animals uses SO much fresh water. According to ChooseVeg.com, over half of all water used in the United States goes to livestock production.
- A Cornell University study estimated that the US could feed 800 million people with all of the grain used to feed livestock
- And then if you do it all right, there are health benefits to not eating meat.
I'm not saying that meat is a useless source of food. A lot of people do depend on it. I don't even think I have an issue with meat and animal products from 'free range' animals, but when I have vegan alternatives available why support farming that causes animals so much pain?
I'm not preaching veganism like a born again religious fanatic. This is a purely personal decision. I'm trying it, and we'll see what happens. I'm not trying to sway other people and I don't care if my friends want to sleep on piles of pork but I'm writing all of this because so many people have been asking me why I'm doing it.
After all this, I'm still not promising I can be 100% vegan. I figure if I'm mostly vegan I can make a contribution without being too much of a burden on friends and family. If I go to someone's house I'm not going to demand that their parents make me a vegan meal. I won't eat meat, but I think I can make an exception for a piece of bread once in a while that has an egg and some milk in it.
I know regular farming has a big, often negative impact on the environment, so I have to consider that too. There is so much to consider it's kind of overwhelming, but I'm going to try this.