I grew up as a missionary kid in Pakistan, and I had tried to be a lacto-ovo vegetarian there, purely because slaughter practices are NOT clean, even less so than in the western hemisphere; meat is kept in open-air markets. This did not last very long, as vegetarianism is very foreign to the culture there, and refusing to eat the local food (full of different sorts of meat) is very offensive; hospitality, accepting and giving it, is central to Pakistani culture. As soon as I came back to live in the States about 3 years ago, I went back to being a vegetarian.
I became vegan about three months ago. I decided to stop eating dairy, eggs and fish after doing a little thinking. When you really think about WHERE the food comes from, you think twice about whether you want to put it in your mouth. Really, the menstrual cycle of a chicken doesn’t seem like it was meant to be consumed. It occurred to me that the literal definitions of “beef”, “sausages”, etc, are nothing more than cut-up body parts, and that “milk” is the mammary secretion of a completely different species. It’s simply not appealing to me.
All this is aside from the fact that it is arrogant to think that some lives are food or clothing products, while others are
companions. When you think about it, it’s silly. Animals are animals: I won’t cover myself with something that used to cover an animal. If I won’t eat my cat, I won’t eat a cow; if I won’t eat my pet dog, I won’t eat a hot dog.
I can’t see myself going back. Being vegan doesn’t define me; it’s just become second nature, a part of my life. That that life happens to be a peaceful, caring life is a beautiful thing as well.
I’d just like to publicly thank my parents for being so selfless and supportive. Though they are not vegetarians they go out of their way to accommodate me and daily show wonderful respect for my lifestyle. Also, since I’m the only vegan (or vegetarian of any sort) in my immediate social circle, it’s lovely to have your weekly encouragement in the form of your podcast. Thank you.
~Nathan in Franklin, Tennessee