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Fueled By Compassion - Going Vegan

My Journey to End Animal Agriculture

I went vegan for the animals.

I had to go vegan to stop paying into the disgusting animal agriculture industry, I had no choice. Once I knew the truth, a passion, some call it anger, and a profound desire for change came over me and that is where my vegan journey began.

My Awakening

My journey towards veganism started with a visit to an animal sanctuary, I went with my brother, he's been vegan off and on for years so I didn't think much of it. At the sanctuary we were encouraged to spend time with the animals, to feed them, stroke them, sit with them and that was it. I saw the chickens first, they were pretty much everywhere by the gate, mixed with other birds, geese, ducks and some turkeys. The turkeys didn't like me, the way that they looked at me made me feel like they knew what I'd been doing on Christmas day, they shouted at me and chased me off. My brother laughed at me, he thought it was hilarious that a turkey dented my pride, so I left him with the pigs and went to the cows. They were at the back, not doing much, minding their own business, they weren't bothered by me so I went over for a chat, don't ask me why I went to talk to the cows, I still don't know the answer.

graffiti eyes
I try not to feel guilty for all of the years that I didn't know the truth

I stoked them, said something to each of them then just sat in the field, I watched them walking around, stopping to eat every now and again, then I noticed how they were with each other. They had friends, cows can make friends - I was mind blown. A volunteer at the sanctuary encouraged me to get closer to the cows, she pointed out the ones that likes cuddles and getting scratched under the chin. The more time I spent in the field the more emotional I became, I kept looking them in the eye, watching the way their faces changed when I scratched the right spot, I noticed, for the first time, that cows have eyelashes. It was that simple. That's what made it click, they have eyelashes, I have eyelashes, then all of the other similarities became clear. I saw the similarities between us and them and I felt compassion for them. I was glad that they were living a happy life at the sanctuary

On the drive back I kept picturing the animals that we'd seen, it was like a split screen, a chicken on one side, a nugget on the other. A burger on one side, a cow on the other. Then I got the image of a barbecue stuck in my head. My brother noticed that I was upset and asked me what was wrong, when I told him he explained to me that what we'd seen was nothing, that I needed to find out about where the animals have come from, animal agriculture and how it works, the animals rescued from those industrial farms, the animals that escaped slaughterhouses. The animals that were sick on the day that the truck to the animal auction arrived and so were sold, cheaply, to sanctuaries. I asked him why, if he's so passionate about all of this, that he still eats meat. He explained, he only eats meat when he's with our parents, that when he went vegan, in his teens, they went nuts, refused to accept it. So now, for the sake of peace, he will eat meat when he is around them, whenever he can't avoid it, but it often makes him sick. Knowing what it is makes him nauseous, he struggles and will do everything that he can to avoid it. He will fold meat into napkins, he'll sneak it onto someone else's plate, feed it to the dog. He'd been vegan for more than 5 years and I hadn't noticed.

My brother told me what books I needed to read, what films I should watch, from there I started going to talks, joined groups, went to events. I realised that it was about more than just the animals, it was the planet as a whole. I looked into the diffierent ways that animals are used, leather, wool, honey, geletine, pigments, glue, sport. The use of animals for sport was especially difficult for me because when you look at the animal, when you focus on them and not their place in the race, how well the prance to the music or whatever they've been trained to do, you see pain, you see fear, you see that they don't want to do it, they don't want to be there. Then when the event is over, they're spent, each year over a thousand racehorses are killed, horses whose bodies have been destroyed by the sport.

The more I learned the worse it was, the lies from the government, the animal agriculture industry, the petrochemical industry, pharmaceutical companies, clothing companies. I'd look at the trainers on my feet and wonder if they were glued together with the processed body of a destroyed racehorse, it was all so sickening.

Activism was the key for me. It started with my parents and it didn't go well, I told them that I was now vegan, they told me that I was being stupid and I'd get sick, I told them that they were brainwashed and ignorant.

I do admit that there have been times when I've gone to far, slanging matches in the streets, things like that. I've almost been arrested before, but was given the chance to calm down and took it. It was part of the maturation for me, learning to listen to people and not just talk at them. I started sharing educational content online, not just pictures of dead and suffering animals. I started to protest more peacefully, instead of picking fights with everyone that said "mmm, bacon". Things with my parents have settled down a lot now, they don't cook meat when my brother and I go to their house and they always keep oat milk in the fridge.


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