Two years ago, I would have never thought that today I would be a vegan, or actively participating in animal activism. But I am. I can remember eating animal products as a child and I can also remember when I was about 10 deciding to take red meat and pork of my plate. To this day, I cannot explain what really prompted me to do that and although I was still consuming poultry, dairy, and sea animals, for some reason I never looked backed on red meat and pork.
About two years ago, my partner, who was an omnivore at the time, began sifting through information on the internet and one day told me that we was going vegetarian. Of course, once I looked at the information he had discovered, I too gave up poultry and called myself a vegetarian. We were still both consuming fish and dairy. Six months to a year later, we began researching even more information and it became obvious that our eating habits did not reflect our moral and ethical beliefs. We needed to go vegan.
I remember the day I found out that dairy cows needed to be pregnant to give milk and that the baby boys were sent off to the veal factory (Thanks to Colleen Patrick Goudreau's podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought). Something that should have been a no-brainer, clearly was not. I have been vegan for roughly a year now, although I cannot remember the exact date that it happened. Recently, I have some to realize that just giving up animal products is not enough. I think I heard Dave Warwak say it best in a talk he gave, "Just because you got the monkey off your back, doesn't mean the circus has left town." It couldn't be more true, although my actions relieve the pain and suffering of so many, we still live within a meat eating paradigm.
Being active and planting seeds of change, are perhaps the most important way to spread compassion. If we don't spread our message, if we keep our thoughts and ideas to ourselves, what good will come of them? That is why I have recently made the commitment to be proactive in promoting veganism not only as a diet, but as an evolution in mankind's relationship with our fellow earth inhabitants.
Yesterday, my mother gave me an article she saved that had been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer titled, "The Humane Factor". It was an article outlining the shift towards humane meat production and those who support it. Of course Michael Pollan's book, The Ominovore's Dilemma, was mentioned and most of those interviewed held the belief that "humans were meant to eat meat." Although sometimes the conditions are slightly improved, we know that words such as humane and free-range mean nothing and in the end, an animal is still slaughter for nothing more than a savory taste. I decided to write an article to be submitted to the op-ed section of the paper and we'll see if it gets published. I'll be sure and post it as soon as I'm finished!
On a final note, I saved a bird yesterday. As I was driving down the road, my car passed over (not ran over) a bird I assumed to be dead. In my rearview mirror, I noticed he began fluttering around. Immediately, I turned around a went back to help. I scooped him up and made him comfortable on the passanger's seat. Although he had a small laceration on his backside, he mostly seemed startled and confused. I was on my way to parents' house, which is surrounded by open land, so I decided he would be safe there.
I noticed he began to stand on both legs during the car ride then suddenly, he flew onto the dashboard, where he sat until we got there. I picked him up, being careful not to injure him in any way, opened the door, and released him. He took off gracefully, and flew to the top of the highest tree in sight! It was such an awesome feeling knowing that now, he was safe. Here he is, a gray catbird: