Jump to content

Memories...what started you on this path?


finbarrio
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm sort of borrowing this from a great post Andesuma had in the Raw thread about her leaving carrots for Santa's reindeers instead of milk and cookies for Santa (Santa now has Type 2 diabetes - see Andesuma's thread for more detail). Anyway, it got me thinking about one moment in particular that was a precursor to my current lifestyle.

 

We had a big 2 car garage in my childhood house, and with the cars cleared out, I could practice my tennis stroke in the winter by hitting balls against the wall.

 

One day I discovered a big house fly zipping around in there as I practiced. I followed its path and saw it land on the cement floor about 4 feet away from me. Without hesitation, I flung my tennis racket towards it and, rather amazingly, trapped it beneath the strings. It buzzed and squirmed to get out, but it was no use. I watched it for a few seconds... and I then smooshed it with my foot.

 

I picked up the racket and stared at its deformed body and felt a wave of guilt overcome me. I had no reason to do that, and I was ashamed for having done so. I tried to reason with my conscience, but it was no use; A switch inside of me had been flicked on. From that day forward, I started to look at animals and insects in a different light, to the point that I eventually became vegan and practice ahimsa as much as is possible (I admit that I still view ticks as my arch enemy ).

 

So I guess that moment is the earliest I can remember that started me on this path. Do you have a memory of something that might have pushed you in this direction?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid (about 3 or 4), I would wrestle with our cat, who was very passive. When I felt aggressive, I would put my head up to our cat's face and nuzzle it somewhat hard with my chin to get my aggression out. Kinda like a "surge of adrenaline" kinda thing. But the cat would just sit there and "take it".

 

About two years later this cat died of a brain tumor. I thought what I had done caused it. I felt tremendous remorse and guilt and have loved animals ever since.

 

I haven't, however, become completely vegan though I've been vegetarian for a long time.

 

"And that's all I got to say about that."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It became a neccessity to become a strict vegetarian due to uncontrollable cholestrol issues and high blood pressure issues even though I exercised and ate only lean meat. The alternative would be a lifetime of prescription drugs, side effects and constant monitoring.

 

After learning about the factory farming industry, I couldn't believe the impact it had on everything (food supply, environment, etc) and found it totally unecessary in today's time to consume or use animal products when there were so many alternatives out there. And thus became Vegan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was born into a hunting and fishing family, raised to do the same. I had many bad experiences (this may be upsetting as a warning). One of the earliest urging me onto the path of veganism was when we were out pheasant hunting and saw some racoons that our dog had treed, so we shot them. They didn't die quickly and cried as the dog nipped at them, so my dad had to finish them off because I was too upset. The next one was when my boss at work made me kill a mouse in a glue trap. I tried to free it, but the mouse just squealed with each tug. He had me suffocate it with plastic wrap, which I ashamedly did because he scared me and was watching; I then took it out of his sight and finished it off quickly. After this I began to cry and first seriously considered vegetarianism. I had another experience after that dove hunting similar to the racoon incident, which pushed me over the edge and finally convinced me to change my diet. Six months after becoming vegetarian, I had learned all about factory farming and such and planned to go vegan when I moved out, but upon reading about how much less plant products it takes to feed it directly to humans, along with the hunger and environmental implications that go with it, I decided right then and there that I had to become vegan. I am rather embarassed it took that much for me to change my ways; this delay was mostly because of fear of losing the approval of my father. He doesn't like the change, but he is being very supportive of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Way interesting cubby, thanks for sharing.

One of the guys I ride bikes with is a hunter - still goes back to Wisconsin every year to deer hunt with his brother for a week in the woods. They're bow hunters, and he's described to our group how they aim to make the death quick and as painless as possible - some kind of hunting ethic. My wife received an invite today to a jewelry party and the inviter highlighted that there would be scallops wrapped in bacon. Wife and I agreed that the person who hunts and kills the deer himself shows more compassion than the person who buys the pre-packaged pig - even though she would probably be horrified by the hunting kill. It's hard to fathom how food is not connected to animals (and thus animal cruelty) by most people - I almost even thinking of greasy, fatty bacon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was surely seeing a dog racing protest in Atlantic City when I was 7 or 8. I had no idea who it was when I saw it but as soon as I went vegan I realized it was PETA and or PETA volunteers. It didn't kick in until much later but I know I may not be vegan if it weren't for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cubby, I can relate to almost every word you wrote! I too was raised fishing and hunting, got my first gun at 6 years old. The dove hunting especially brings back some pretty horrible memories. I remember finding out from my mom while at McDonalds when I was 5, where meat comes from. I remember saying that I wouldn't eat it if I knew what else to eat. I guess I forgot about that as I was introduced to hunting and killing over the next few years. Then one day my dad had a change of heart when I was about 10, he just stopped hunting. I was so mad at him, I really wanted to go. I think that change laid the groundwork for my later becoming vegetarian.

 

At 15 I briefly had a vegetarian teacher, I remember asking her "Why would anyone do that?" Just 6 months later while working my summer job at an amusement park, lucky me ended up cooking in the employee cafeteria for the summer. I couldn't believe how many bags of dead chicken parts it took just for this one cafeterian on fried chicken day. Not to mention the two whole frozen pig carcases sitting in the freezer waiting for the upcoming employee pig roast! So, as I sat down to eat my fried chicken lunch, I chose to think about the reality of the flesh and bones and veins I was putting in my mouth. I didn't eat much that day, I threw it in the trash and never looked back. That was about one week after my 16th birthday, I'll be 35 in June. Almost 20 years later and I've never looked back.

 

Finbarrio, I'm not sure I agree with you on the hunters. I do think that people who want to eat meat should be forced to do the killing themselves, but there is something wrong with hunters. Some human compassion and instinct that they have shut off in their minds. The people who buy the neat packages in the store may be blissfully ignorant or in denial, but hunters are cold blooded killers. They see first hand the misery and suffering their habits produce and yet they continue. They also eat the same packaged stuff from the store, most hunters provide little of their own food that way. They do it for the sheer joy of killing, it's only unfortunate that more of them don't accidentally shoot each other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hunting always left me confused, because I have always loved animals, but I used to kill them and eat them. People have this amazing ability to be so cruel, like when out on the field hunting, but so compassionate, such as in home life. They manage to make a disconnect and convince themselves that what they are doing is natural and necessary. One of the excuses I always used to soothe my conscience was the "thinning the herd" invention; in it I told myself that is was necessary because the animals would overpopulate and eat all the crops, cause accidents, etc. It is just so deeply ingrained in some people's brains that hunting is mandatory, look how much it took me to change. It is more humane to hunt than to eat factory farmed meat, but very few people who hunt obtain 100% of their meat that way, so it mostly defeats the purpose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finbarrio, I'm not sure I agree with you on the hunters. I do think that people who want to eat meat should be forced to do the killing themselves, but there is something wrong with hunters. Some human compassion and instinct that they have shut off in their minds. The people who buy the neat packages in the store may be blissfully ignorant or in denial, but hunters are cold blooded killers. They see first hand the misery and suffering their habits produce and yet they continue. They also eat the same packaged stuff from the store, most hunters provide little of their own food that way. They do it for the sheer joy of killing, it's only unfortunate that more of them don't accidentally shoot each other.

 

Yep, good points. I guess the point I was failing to make is that, although my hunter friend is "cold-blooded", he does consider the suffering of the animal, whereas the regular person buying bacon in the store does not. FWIW, my hunter friend does use the meat - I don't think he even keeps the "trophy". I guess they do it for the sport first, the meat second.

 

My last piece of red meat was a quarter pounder from McD's. I was already flirting with the idea of going veggie and the QP was half-cooked and practically raw inside. I still get queasy thinking about it. I was probably 22 (38 now). It was so long ago that I had to ask my wife if it was Mcd's or BK that sell quarter pounders - a fact I'm proud to have forgotten.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid, I had a book called "99 ways to save the animals". It was a fairly basic, junior activism sort of book that dealt mainly with conservation and environmental issues. But it also had some major sections on puppy mills, circus animals, and factory farming. At the time it next clicked with me that the animals the book was talking about were the ones I was eating (although I did start to avoid animal performances and pet stores).

 

A while after reading that book, my mother suggested I read "Diet for a New America". That book really planted the seed, and although I didn't go vegetarian or vegan right away, it was always in the back of my mind. When I did start considering a vegetarian lifestyle, all my latent knowledge gained from "Diet" came back to mind. I wonder how much those books non-consciously affected me and my decisions between the time I read them and when I went vegan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't make out a moment, which really changed my life. I haven't been a real vegetarian before becoming vegan - I just had something like some phases..... But nevertheless I always was sensitized for nature and animals.

One of the worst moments was one day in Croatia many years ago. There are a lot of lizards and we saw a young one and were so enamored that we tried to pick it up. But it was so thin-skinned that the belly burst.... So this little beautiful creature was lying there with the viscera outside... My mom killed it with a stone but it was terrible and even it's a long time ago I think about that so often and feel so sorry....

I'm sure this little lizard will accompany my life forever, 'cause I learned how sensitive animals are and that we have to take care...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My father hunts and goes fishing, and from a young age I'd question "Why can't we just wait until the animal dies of natural causes before eating it?", I was young and questioning it, but never really acted on it when I was 7.

 

What really changed me was working at a Wendy's for 5 1/2 years (Though I had started eating less meat and more healthy food after almost the first year there), and having to cook several hundred Chicken nuggets for bus loads of Camp kids in the summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive always sympathized with animals Ive seen dying/being killed by people. I can remember LOTS of times when I was questioning just what the hell was going on.

 

I remember going on a field trip in ....elementary school(?) and all the students were congregating in the middle of a field. There was a pond right near us that was LOADED with tadpoles. I remeber kids stepping on them "popping" them and feeling so ed with those kids.

 

There are lots more memories, Im sure. I may post more if they come to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

veganism for me:

 

-mononucleosis for 9 months, so I had to start eating healthy to live

-I read an article on kevin jones (snowboarder) who did yoga to stay in shape for snowboarding. so i wanted to try yoga.

-yoga book I then bought (recommended vegetarian diet in it), so then I tried vegetarianism on and off with yoga

-Chris X, introduced veganism to me

-growing up around animals and finally realizing i no longer want to contribute to eating them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have liked Animals ever since I can remember. As a kid watching films like Benji and Old Yella really upset me. Through High School I really wanted to be a Vet or help animals in that way, but it never occurred to me to stop eating them. When I got to Uni I ended up studying Geology and as part of this we would go on field trips, taking all the food we would need with us. Due to the type of people who took my course and the fact that they were beer swilling yobs, I ended up telling them I was vegetarian, just so I could avoid the food that they prepared. This cotinued for a while and I started to think more about where food came from etc. Then one summer I was at home at my parents place, They have a few acres on the edge of a country town, with chickens, goats and horses (Goats and Horses rescued) and I was helping to prepare dinner, which happpened to be chicken. After Killing a chicken and watching what went on, I knew I could never eat meat again, I can still remember how it looked, the smells etc, it was really horrible. From that point on I was vegetarian. I stayed that way for 5 years, cutting out eggs and milk towards the end. I went vegan when I was in London, after reading information on websites etc, and deciding it was the only way for me to be. That was 5 years ago and I haven't looked back since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...