As I became older I could no longer separate the meat on my plate from the animals I loved – I felt it was wrong to take a life when I could just as easily eat something else.
My eyes were opened: we only get one life so why not let the animals live out theirs free from suffering and harm?
I’ve now been vegan about eight years.
Like countless people I was genuinely shocked to learn that there was cruelty in the dairy industry.
It had never occurred to me that cows produced milk because they were constantly pregnant or to wonder what happened to those babies (hint: it doesn’t end well) and that even eating free-range eggs results in the death of male chicks who are minced alive.
I was sickened to think I’d been a part of that.
Add to that arguments for giving up meat for your health (the National Heart Foundation reports that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease – diabetes – obesity and some cancers) and the environment (farmed animals are a major contributor to New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions and have resulted in our being rated 11th in the world for per capita greenhouse emissions) and my decision was made: I’d give up all animal products.
Even so I was such a cheese fiend that it took me three attempts before I was finally vegan for good.
Now I love it.
Fortunately times have changed and it’s no longer nut cutlets for dinner.
Truly – I eat a far more varied – delicious and interesting diet than I ever did as a meat-eater or a vegetarian.
And I feel good that I cause less harm to animals.
No animal will ever feel the terror of the slaughterhouse for my sake.