I grew on a farm too. You aren't always shown the bad stuff, but sometimes you are shown the things you don't want to see. We all had different childhoods and situations we were brought up in. I doubt many of us have been vegan since we were born.
So with experiences and time comes change. Not always, but often it is the case.
So true, Robert, so true. Personal experience is the best catalsyt for change.
Regarding farms, sometimes you are shown some good stuff, too.
I grew up (mostly) on a farm (from 7 years old on). My step-father (a good man) raised cattle. Every year
we would have these baby calves whose mother's would not recognize them as their calf & therefore would not let them suckle. The local vet, another good man, made a suggestion that my mother & I followed through with & had remarkable success with!
First, we would separate the cow from her calf. (Cow stayed in the 'general population' pen, calf in the barn.) Then we would splash Mennen's Aqua Velva on both the mother & the calf. A few hours later we would rejoin mother & child & ya know, 95% of the time, this little trick worked!
She would walk right up to the calf she wouldn't have anything to do with 4 hours earlier & let the little guy/gal suckle. Amazing!!
Our second option depended on having another nursing mother cow. We would bring the disinfranchised calf in with the nursing mother cow & her suckling calf & 99% of the time, she would let the 2nd calf suckle! Her motherhood instincts were not limited to just her own calf! Ahhh! Motherhood is an amazingly comprehensive, all-encompasing, love thing.
And the third option was a bucket with a nipple at the bottom & we would mix a formula the vet gave us & three times a day we would go to the barn & feed the little guy/gal. This was certainly the saddest option, in more ways than one. Although it worked - they did not starve - it was also the option where the little guy/gal would bond most closely with us. Later, I found this was a mixed blessing. When those transport trucks pulled up to take all our 'live stock' away, I knew they were going to auction & that they could end up on my plate.
This was a driving memory when I went veg, years later.
Farms of the past are places where there was certainly animal explotation, but generally, it was not done to the degree it is today, & rarely done to a degree that harmed the animal, but more importantly, if harm was done, it was done to the animal by an individual on a personal level.
I ask myself why that personal involvement makes a difference, but it does.
I honestly believe that the majority of our population would be veg if they had to slaughter an animal themself. I suspect many would be veg if they had experienced a personal encounter with an animal that they are generally told is "just an animal" -- like a cow, or a chicken, or a rabbit. (not what our culture considers a pet, like a dog or cat.)
At one point, years later, I made the connection between those calves & the chickens & pigs I was eating. It took awhile, but I finally did it. And then when I had pet rabbits, EVERYTHING changed, EVERYTHING!
Such mild, unassuming creatures & I discovered that 'such creatures' each had their own personalities. ~~smile, love, hugs to them.
It may seem silly, but rabbits were a key catalyst to my veg committment. The memories of Buckaroo Bunzai & Unit Bunny live in me & inspire me moment to moment.
Forgive my sappiness.