why i became vegan

Recently, I made the massive decision to convert to veganism. But thinking back to two years ago, when one of my best friends became vegan, I had scoffed and thought that it was a stupid idea, merely because I didn't understand it. Why would someone cut out dairy and eggs? Vegetarianism I could understand (who really likes shoving dead animal flesh into their graveyard of a body?), but cheese doesn't feel pain when you eat it, right?

Credit
As much as I would love to show you Peta videos of cows on dairy 'farms' (the things that they reveal concerning animal slaughter is both terrifying and revolting) and traumatise you all into becoming vegan, I'm just not like that. We all have free will, you can do want you want. But, I believe that this is an important issue and it needs to be addressed. Also, I would like to educate you all on what Veganism really is - it's not a breach into anorexia (like my cousin stated), it's not because I hate humans and want to make an alliance with farm animals to turn hamburgers into humanburgers, and it's definitely not because I want attention. Well, I suppose that it is attention that I want. But, I want said attention to focus on the living skin stretched across your sofa, the wriggling piglet ground into your burger, and the cow, the mother, who had her calves ripped away from her and her udders tied up to painful machines all so you could enjoy your rennet cheese (fun fact - cheese also has a special chemical in it to help it curdle - calves' stomach). What I really want is to raise awareness for these poor animals, not the insides of an animal cooked and put inside a burger for me to eat, nor the skin of a bull peeled off and bent into a coat for tomorrow's outfit.



For example, let's think about chicken slaughter. Chickens are typically kept in tiny cages, with barely enough room to spread their wings. Their feet become deformed from standing on wire all day, and their bones waste away from lack of use. If kept amongst other chickens, their highly sensitive beaks are cut off to stop them pecking the others out of desperation to be free. Hens are forced to be impregnated again and again, motherly instincts always present, and when they force out their eggs, they are snatched away. They will never see their chicks. The mental effects of this are disastrous. The chickens are fed high doses of chemicals and steroids to make them plump for when their necks can be sliced and they can be shoved into boiling hot water to burn their feathers off - sometimes whilst still conscious. When eggs are hatched and male chicks have happily nestled up to their mothers and twittered about, they are rough handled and thrown, alive, into giant meat grinders. This is passed off as dog food. I, as a vegan, don't want to support these cruel acts of injustice.

Credit
So why don't you just become vegetarian? I hear you cry. Simple. Let's use the animal byproduct of cow's milk as another example. The obvious fact that I am drinking the milk that should have gone to a loving cow's calf makes me feel like a pretty horrible being - not my mom, not my milk, the saying goes. The cows are given heavy drugs to make them produce up to ten times more milk than they are meant to, expanding their bodies and stretching out their insides, putting pressure and immense pain on and around their udders. They are impregnated constantly to keep this rapid flow of milk continuous and then when the immediate motherly bond has formed, their newborn calves are stolen away from them and sliced up into burgers. The mothers are bound to the same fate, only this time their skin may be turned into armchairs and handbags and their organs may be mangled into mince.

The same thing goes for animal testing. I am currently in the process of throwing out all make-up, toothpastes, deodorants and shampoo that may have been injected into monkeys' scalps or force-fed to overgrown cats. And even famous products like Maybelline's Baby Lips (I own six or seven, guiltily, until I throw them out for good today) have droplets of pig flesh in them. Why is this? Why is the pain and suffering of countless animals evident everywhere, happily moulded into Nivea products and foundation? Is rotting animal flesh really a beauty product?

As someone who is also trying to reform into the Buddhist lifestyle, it is also my religion to not promote the suffering of others, regardless of whether they have more legs than me, fur or pointy ears. Even religions like Christianity say things along the lines of 'thou shalt not kill'. I'm not having a dig, I'm merely making a point. 

Credit
So far, my venture into veganism has been a difficult one - from trying to persuade my family that this isn't just a phase, finding food that I will both eat and enjoy, going out for food with people and saying no to chicken and Magic Stars chocolate, having no vegan options at my school canteen (an outrage), to educating people about the suffering that endless animals have to go through, day after day - but I am doing okay. In three days, from holding out on meat and dairy products, I would have saved an innocent life. In three more days I would have saved another. And again and again and again. Life after life after life.

As a vegan, there are many things I don't support:
Zoos - animals bred in captivity, forced to perform stunts to entertain humans and abused when they accidentally do something wrong.
Dog breeders - for each dog bought, a perfectly good dog up for adoption has had it's life stolen. Get your animals neutered, people, there's enough tragedy in the world without you adding to the amount of strays on a death list.
Meat - animals who could have roamed free, raised a family, taught their young the basics of the marvellous world around them... grounded into burgers, sandwiches and pies.
Non-vegan clothes - silk, leather, fur.. all unnecessary, all cruel. We can live without wearing animal skin, they can't. Also, wool supports the cruel dairy and meat industry, and once they stop producing as much wool as they used to, the sheep are sent to be slaughtered anyway.
Animal byproducts - why would I not support the skin of a living animal stretched over a drum, yet support millions of cows milked into exhaustion?
Seafood - "You're a vegan, right? So you can eat fish?" No, I can't. That tuna sandwich once had a heartbeat. That shark tail once belonged to a shark who swam around merrily. And don't start the argument that sharks kill humans - we all know hundreds more sharks die from human attacks than humans from sharks.
Other non-vegan products - down, for example. The bird feathers used to fill pillows, stuff bed sheets, and even strung around dreamcatchers. 50 - 80% of down feathers are live-plucked, causing tremendous pain to our feathery friends by snaring the skin (causing their thin blood to pour out) and then the snares are sewn without painkillers only so the birds can be plucked again and again until they're ready for slaughter - and then plucked again once dead.

Credit
Then there's always the argument of, 'but you're killing plants, they might feel pain". Point taken, but plants don't actually have nervous systems, so it is scientifically proven that they don't feel pain. Also, to quote Random Facts,  "approximately 25 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of wheat. Around 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of meat. Many vegetarians argue that more people eating a meat-free diet would lower the strain that meat production puts on the environment." It's great to think that by being vegan I might actually be helping the environment, but, at the same time, I don't know how to support one thing without contradicting another. For example - tea leaves can be carried by an ox, which is animal labour and is therefore, in my opinion, wrong. But what's the alternative? Slaves carrying the tea leaves? Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing, but I want to do the best I can.

The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
- Donald Watson, the man who coined the word 'vegan' in 1944

For those of you who think I'm a complete nunchuck for believing in the practice of veganism, I'm sorry for caring about farm "products" (and rabbits, deer, bears, foxes, elephants, etc),  but I can't really say that I love animals and hug my dog when I'm supporting the gruesome slaughter of endless others. It feels wrong to me, but I appreciate your alternate beliefs. It's your choice and I accept that. I'm not having a go at you, I am just explaining my personal reasons to stay away from brutally murdered animals' flesh. I didn't want to go in to too many details because I'm afraid of becoming preachy and sounding like I'm trying to force my beliefs onto other people, but at the same time I think this issue should still be addressed, and this is a topic that I am becoming more and more passionate about.

90 comments:

  1. Nice post! I'm not vegan, but I am celiac and off dairy. :)
    Amy xx

    Perfect Imperfections

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celiac? No wheat? That's cool, have you been it all your life?

      Delete
  2. This is so true. But we love dairy so it would be hard for us to be vegan! But good job for you!! :D

    http://floralsandsmiles.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheese used to be an addiction for me, but then ugh rennet, you know? And thank you! ^^

      Delete
    2. Such a powerful post Amy! I've been thinking about going vegan for awhile now but I just can't seem to stop having cheese...

      xx

      Http://robberscorner.blogspot.com.es

      Delete
    3. Thank you! And aha, I can relate to that - casomorphins are in cheese and are addictive..

      Delete
  3. Good luck with your journey! I could never be vegan, I love my diary waaay too much. I pretty much only drink water and milk. My best friend was vegan for a long time, though, at least four or five years but she wasn't getting enough vitamins and she got pretty skinny and sick a lot. So she's gradually getting back to eating diary, eggs, and even a little meat.

    But I definitely respect you for your decision. Best of luck!

    Brittany @ Space Between the Spines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That's one thing that I am concerned about though, as malnutrition would really suck. But there's loads of alternatives filled with vitamins and whatnot - even though without animal produce I will be deficient in B12..

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You totally should! :3 And awh, thank you!

      Delete
  5. I don't think I could ever be vegan and go without dairy! And since meat has important vitamins like Vitamim B12....also I don't think that being a vegan would be practical for me, but I understand it is for some others. But thank you for such an informative post! <3

    MJ // www.littlepandacrafts.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, B12 is one that's concerning me... and it's not very practical either aha - my parents took me out for food at 'Beefeater' yesterday :/

      Delete
  6. going vegan is really great.. but only if you can have the resources to be. everything is a lot more expensive and its so inconvenient to find vegan restaurants..

    http://only4feet9.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It actually works out cheaper due to how expensive meat is to fresh vegetables and tofu (: And ugh, vegan restaurants, tell me about it! But luckily there's quite a few within ten miles away - and there's one by my school! ^^

      Delete
  7. Good luck!! Your post is really making me reconsider about eating meat, I just don't know if I could resist. I'll probably try it out and see how it works! Really love this post!! :)

    Colorful Closets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh yay that's so awesome, let me know how you get on!

      Delete
  8. Good luck with your journey! I admire you for being vegan. I tried being vegan for a month, but I think it's really not for me because I easily got sick... Anyways thank you for such an informative post!

    xx Maxine
    StreetLife Manila

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And awh, that's not good. But you tried C:

      Delete
  9. Well, I take my hat off to you for doing this haha! :) I can't remember the last time I ate meat, however it wasn't intentional - I just happen to not like meat very much at the best of times. I can imagine it'd be difficult persuading your family that this isn't a phase for you, a friend of mine had a similar situation a couple of years back and she still finds that to be the trickiest element of going vegan! Anyway, good luck and well done on your decision! (is that a thing? well done on your decision.. hmm, you know what I mean haha!) :)

    http://aglassofice.blogspot.co.uk

    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awh, thank you so much! And I can relate to that as I never liked beef or pork or lamb anyway. Also, I think that my family are starting to understand a lot more - we're having a vegan dinner tonight!

      Delete
  10. Wonderful post!
    I asked my mom if I could switch to vegetarianism, as I already did not like the taste of milk, cheese, or meat; she said no. I wish I was able to though, and I admire you for doing it!

    being-hidden.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awh, well done for trying though. Thank you C:

      Delete
  11. i love animals, great post
    NEW OUTFIT on my blog http://tr3ndygirl.com
    i wait you
    kiss

    ReplyDelete
  12. Powerful post and very informative! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on this, very interesting to learn. I've JUST started thinking about veganism so this was perfect - I've been quite confused about it so am trying to learn more at the moment. As for products that aren't animal friendly, how do one see that? Does it say in some code language or do you have to research the company? Thanks again :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and that is so, so awesome. And it depends on what you mean by animal friendly - animal flesh and byproducts (cheese, eggs, milk) aren't friendly for obvious reasons, but a lot of the learning process is all down to research. For example, sugar can have one of two things in it - beet or crushed animal bones. A lot of companies happily display when their sugars are made from beet, so if you see neither a statement saying so or a 'vegan' sign (with a little flower thing), then you can be sure that it's not great. Also, with stuff like marshmallows, jelly beans and crisps, you often get gelatine (crushed bones, etc) and animal fat in them, so look out for that.

      Delete
  13. Good luck with going vegan! This is a very powerful post you have written here! I definitely couldn't do it - although, I only eat free range chicken/eggs (bought from the local farmer)!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style & Beauty Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and that's good but bear in mind that the labels aren't always direct reflections of what's going on behind closed doors C:

      Delete
  14. Thanks for sharing your vegan journey, it's an interesting read! :)

    I have a new outfit post up, would love to know your thoughts:

    http://electricsunrise.blogspot.co.uk/

    x

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh I'm also your newest follower! :)

    http://electricsunrise.blogspot.co.uk/

    x

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally agree with you! I, for one, am a vegetarian by choice-- it makes me feel so good about myself to be one!

    arushee // unadorned gifts

    ReplyDelete
  17. I understand babe!
    I really love the animal and this post is very useful for me.
    Kisses
    Maggie Dallospedale Fashion diary - Fashion blog

    ReplyDelete
  18. applause I never like eating pork hahaha. although I am now trying to lessen my beef and chicken in take I wanted to be a vegan too. i know it will be hard but it will be worth it. say would you like to follow each other? just let me know on my blog http://anotsosecretlife2011.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awh that's so awesome, let me know how you get on ^^

      Delete
  19. I've been thinking a lot about becoming vegan, but it's so hard for me to give up meat and fish.. :(

    I'll try some day though!

    Thank you for your lovely comment!

    - Hannah's Heels

    ReplyDelete
  20. i am not vegan, but often i think i should become :/
    kisses
    Carmy1978.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm so toying with the idea into veganism! The whole thing where they sort the sexes of chicks and grind the male ones up because they they don't produce eggs is horrible. I watch Freelee on YouTube a lot, she's a vegan and talks a lot about it. It's such a hard life choice to make though, the lack of vegan food can cause such a problem in social situations. I did try it once but didn't last very long - I think it would be better to move to vegetarian and then into veganism if I was going to give it a serious go!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never heard of Freelee but I'm definitely going to look her up! And yes I know what you mean, but there's always alternatives C: Also, I completely relate to that - easier to delete animal products bit by bit than jumping straight into the deep end!

      Delete
  22. I was vegan once upon a time . . . but then I realised how much I loved meat LOL. I just don't have the willpower and, personally, I'm not passionate enough about 'the cause' to ever devote myself to giving up animal-related foods. Though I do make sure all of my beauty products are cruelty free and not tested on animals, so that's something I guess!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never really realised how brutal the meat industry was until I researched it, and now although I may crave a steak every now and then, I just can't bring myself to do it now I know the suffering that the animal would have gone through. And same here - I think it's super important to buy cruelty free make up!

      Delete
  23. I am a vegatarian, avoiding cheese is a lil difficult for me though! & would you like to follow
    each other on GFC, Google+ & Bloglovin? Lemme know & lets keep
    in touch! :*)



    X
    http://subhamrai.blogspot.in/



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awh that's so great, how are you getting on? And I know what you mean aha.

      Delete
  24. Nice blog :) Would you like to follow each other ? :)
    http://blog017.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love your blog
    Please check mine --> My lips are Poison
    Hope you can have a look at my blog. If you wanna follow each other, comment in my blog when done.

    xx
    Ly

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Love your blog and photos!

    xoxo Akinyi
    http://fitsonme.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lovely Post!! Wow.. I cant imagine myself being a Vegan.. really.. I love eggs and cheese..
    Once I saw these people slaughter chickens.. poor thing those innocent chickens.. since then I stop eating chickens for like a year.. Now I ate them like once in the blue moon.
    Im more to Fish eater.. Good post girl!! will visit you more often.

    xx Sherina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean - I tried vegan cheese today and it was rancid >< And ash that's great, the meat industry is literally just supply and demand so think of the lives you saved!

      Delete
  28. Great post !! about being a Vegan ! I should share this with my friends !! :)

    Followed your Lovely Blog ! Hoping for your Followback ! <3

    xo
    Molly
    http://www.corinnemolly.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think you did a very wise choice. Thank you for sharing all the information.
    Baci,
    Coco et La vie en rose - Valeria Arizzi

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is a very wise decision and I certainly respect you for it. I don't eat red meat and it's always been that way for me. I often worry about what I would eat if I cut out white meat or became vegan since I am a crazy fussy eater. But I certainly have thought about it and think it is only a matter of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! And I'm with you on that one - massive fussy eater over here ><

      Delete
  31. I'm a vegetarian, been one since I was a kid. Your post was really informative. True, it's horrifying watching videos of animal slaughter. I don't know if that makes anyone want to change into a vegan diet but it is an extremely sad sight just as it is seeing chickens in those tiny cages.
    But then again, becoming a vegan or not is up to an individual.
    Good luck on your journey! :)
    Check my blog out?!

    -Kathie K
    http://climbingthroughtomorrow.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? That's so interesting! And it honestly is - that's seriously one of the main things that made me convert into veganism.

      Delete
  32. Wonderful, respectful post on your decision. Vegan isn't for everyone but it does wonders for some
    The Doctor Diva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! And that's the plan aha C:

      Delete
  33. I admire your choice to be a vegan, I'm a vegetarian myself, I know it can be tough sometimes.

    Lera's Affordable Fashion Blog

    ReplyDelete
  34. Really great post dear! I am also a member of PETA and vegetarian... I wish I could live vegan, but I guess I am not that disciplined! :D
    By the way, your blog looks really fantastic!

    Let's keep in touch!
    xxx
    Bianca

    http://madamebalti.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. i was vegan for a while but now i'm vegetarian, i'm trying to get back into it though :)

    xx danielle // shades of danielle // bloglovin

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great post Amy and it raises a lot of interesting questions. I liked the second to last image in this post because I struggle to understand how people can love dogs and cats and are horrified by the idea of cultures who eat dogs and cats but then they eat pork, beef etc.
    I'm a vegetarian at the moment and I'm slowly trying to transition into being vegan. I don't drink milk anymore, I've never really liked it and the thought of it makes my stomach churn. But I'm trying to switch to vegan cheese and the only eggs I'd like to eat are the ones from some family friends who keep rescue hens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And yeah, I was a bit concerned that the images were a bit graphic aha. Also, that is incredibly awesome! Well done!!

      Delete
  37. Well,truth to be told,I can never even think of being vegan,mainly because I can't live without hot chocolate,coffee,occasional trips to McDonalds and my mother's cooking.But at the same time,I really respect and admire your belief and decision.
    Good luck,Amy!

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean aha c; but thank you!

      Delete
  38. I totally respect your choice. I just wanted to let you know that PETA isn't exactly ethical either. https://www.petakillsanimals.com/proof-peta-kills/#petakills

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woah you had to go through some archives to get to this post. And fair play.

      Delete