— Why are you a vegan? How did you become a vegan?
— What’s the saddest thing about being (or not being) a vegan?
— What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about veganism or (was aware of) regarding consuming animal products?
— Could you tell us about your “inner pig”?
I am vegan because I think it is wrong to hurt sentient beings when it is not necessary for survival (as it is for a carnivorous predator like a lion, who has no choice). I became vegetarian age 17, but only stopped eating eggs and dairy when I was reminded of the horrors of those industries at a McGill Symposium on Animal Law, nearly 50 years later — for which I am deeply ashamed, because I had suspected it all along, but didn’t want to look there. And because I now know how shamefully easy it is to stop.
The saddest thing about being vegan is knowing all that animal suffering is completely unnecessary (except for the few subsistence cultures left who have no other choice yet). Most people still believe, wrongly, that eating animal protein is necessary for our health, or that it would be hard to stop eating it, or that food “livestock” live happy lives and deaths. The three lies we tell ourselves. It’s the truth I wish people knew. (I and many others are trying hard to awaken their minds and hearts faster than mine did.)
I have an “inner pig.” She has spent her short 6-month life in misery, packed in with others (10%) dead or dying in filth, disease, stench, and violence all around her; she has been squeezed in a truck with hundreds of others and has just arrived at Fearman’s Slaughterhouse after a 36-hour journey with no food or water or protection from heat or cold; in a half hour she will be gassed with carbon dioxide, stunned (maybe), scalded with boiling water to soften her skin, and then her throat will be cut (maybe still conscious, as it’s 1000 pigs massacred per hour). I consult her whenever I wonder whether something that has just happened to me matters (article rejected; grant refused; experiment fails, can’t afford to buy something I want; someone has just been mean to me). She just looks at me. What her eyes say is unmistakable: “No, it doesn’t. Please save me.”