When I first went vegan, I was overwhelmed and felt like no one understood the transformation I was going through. I’m so glad that I had this blog to write about my feelings and connect with others who share my values. And that is one of the reasons I started the My Vegan Stories section – to provide a place where people can share their stories and hopefully connect with others who feel the same way about animal rights and living a vegan lifestyle.
I recently received this submission from a young vegan activist that really inspired me. I feel like her story is similar to mine and I love it when I see people take action to change things that they disagree with. And seriously, kudos to Jenna for getting out there and making her voice heard. I’ve considered leafleting and participating in activism but something keeps holding me back. Perhaps I’m scared of confrontation? Anyway, I’m glad there are people out there who will not only live according to their values but also help spread the word and inform the world around them!
Here is Jenna’s story…
How long have you been vegan?
There are many reasons people could choose a vegan lifestyle including compassion for animals, health and the environment. What were your primary reasons for going vegan and why?
I chose to go vegan for ethical reasons, because I no longer wanted to participate in the torture and slaughter of animals.
What was your road to veganism like? Was there one thing in particular that changed your thinking or was there an evolution?
At first, I just thought I needed to buy humane animal products, something I now know doesn’t exist. What really changed my mind was a video of baby chicks being thrown into a grinder, which I now know was for the egg industry. I watched videos of animals being castrated, branded, etc without pain relief.
Did you go vegan all at once or was there a series of changes that you made?
At first I went vegetarian, but I went vegan pretty quickly after that. I stopped drinking liquid dairy first, and then started eliminating dairy altogether.
When you made the decision to go vegan, what kind of reactions did you encounter from your friends and family? Did you already know anyone who was vegan or have any kind of support?
I did not know any vegans personally at the time. I had heard of “some crazy people” who didn’t eat milk or eggs, and I couldn’t imagine I would ever be one. My parents were concerned about my becoming vegan, as I am at a a disadvantage with veganism, as I hate vegetables. But they are pretty on board now, they cook vegan food for me, and buy vegan products as well, so I am very lucky. They are even making strides towards veganism.
What has been the most difficult part of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? What has been the most rewarding?
The most difficult part of becoming vegan is seeing reminders of terrible things you now know about everywhere you look. You see people eating a turkey or using a product tested on animals, and I personally find it very hard to be around people and not say anything about it, because I have a sense of urgency for the animals currently being hurt. I feel under a lot of pressure to change things for them. The most rewarding is a clear conscience. It has been so liberating to learn about how intelligent and emotional animals are, and know that I don’t eat them. The most rewarding is when you convince someone to go vegan, or at least to question the ideas they have been brought up with.
What are some resources you would recommend to someone who would like to learn more about becoming vegan. Blogs, books, movies, podcasts, etc.
I would recommend PETA’s free vegan starter kit, which can be ordered at www.peta.org. A very good website for info is www.chooseveg.com. I have also started a facebook group and a facebook page to give people more information about animal issues.
Being vegan is the best decision I have ever made, I would never go back. And if I, a veggie hater, can be vegan, anyone can. There has been some enormous strides in the fight for animal rights in recent years, but the animals need all the help they can get, so lets all work together and work hard.