I have eaten (loose) vegetarian off and on for fifteen years. Last year, I stopped eating land animals for good, due to factory-farming practices. As I have heard you mention on your podcast, before going vegetarian, I sought out meat from locally raised, authentically grazing animals. This is not hard since I live in a remote area of Colorado where ranches are abundant and I can go directly to a ranch to buy meat. Even so, I was conscious of still supporting a vicious and tortuous practice. By maintaining the practice of eating meat, I would find myself in restaurants where I could not be certain of the animal origins and at the houses of family and friends who might not have the opportunity or awareness to buy humanely raised meat. Explaining why some meat is okay to me and other is not was fuzzy, grey, and felt hollow. If most meat in this society comes from tortured animals, why eat it at all when there are so many other options?
For the year I was eating no meat but still milk, eggs, and cheese, I avoided thinking about the conditions in which animals who produced these products lived. These animals had not yet gone through a horrible slaughter and finally, hopefully, rested in peace. The animals producing milk, cheese, and eggs, were still suffering, living in unbearable conditions as they produced the organic milk and cheese I consumed each day.
As I listened to your program, I finally went there. I thought about the conditions the animals lived in and that my life was being sustained by their suffering. There are so many other ways to sustain my life than animal products – so many wonderful ways. The big things I have gotten from your program are being exposed to the horrors of factory-farm practices, which I had avoided; hearing nutrition issues addressed in a clear and factual way; and considering the importance of being joyful about embracing veganism. Right now, sorrow for creatures who endure unthinkable suffering is large for me. But I am grateful for the sorrow, which is real, and is part of awakening further to life. It is a relief to no longer open the refrigerator to see eggs and cheese and feel my mind close to their origins. Bringing plant-based foods to the center of my life and to meals that I share with family and friends is nourishing physically and spiritually.
I am happy I encountered you on my path and I am grateful for the work you are doing on behalf of creatures who suffer unbearably and needlessly.
~Victoria in Colorado