I decided to become a vegetarian when I was eleven. I found a brochure at my school that showed pictures of how animals are treated before they were killed. I was exposed to tons of horrifying, graphic images of chickens hanging by their feet and cows living in confined spaces, with only their own poop to stand in.
In my 9th grade human geography class, we watched a movie that showed a “farm” that fed cows corn, because of how affordable it is, and then later had to hook them up to a machine that sucked the corn out of their stomachs because they can’t digest it properly. After seeing the stunned reactions from my non-vegetarian classmates, I was heartbroken to hear their comments afterwards. A lot of them were saying that it was funny, which felt like a punch in the gut. I was baffled to hear something so heartless from my own peers.
My parents were always supportive of my decision to become a vegetarian. Both of them had become vegetarians at some point and later gave it up. At first, eating with my dad was very uncomfortable. He would eat chicken with his meal, while I just sat there with my stomach churning at the sight of it. Fortunately, I was able to make a deal with my dad that I would meditate every night if he would give up eating meat. I kept it up for a few weeks, but got sick of it after a while. I was very happy to hear that my dad had gone long enough without meat that he had gotten used to it. From then on, he only ate vegetarian food.
Recently, my dad and step-mom adopted three baby chicks with the intention of having fresh eggs every day. At first, they had to be kept in a clothes bin with a little feeder and water bowl. They were so cute, I could hardly take it. It was then that it really hit me how adorable and defenseless these animals are who are being treated so horribly. My dog Jim was completely obsessed with them at first. He stared at them all day long, sat next to them when they slept and cried when they were apart. We started to call him “chicken mommy.” It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
The chicks have grown to be chickens and now give us delicious, fresh, organic eggs every day. I highly recommend getting chickens if you eat eggs on a daily basis. I wasn’t for getting chickens at first, because it meant waiting longer to get a puppy, but I’ve grown fond of them and enjoy seeing chickens being fed properly and who are given a whole yard to explore in. I’m proud that we give these animals a home, who might otherwise be raised for slaughter.
Jim is still amused by the chickens, but he isn’t quite as maternal. Now, they mostly keep their distance from each other.
I used to be much more outspoken about where meat really comes from when I was with my friends. Sometimes I would purposely ruin their appetites by telling them what happened to the cow that was in their hamburger. Analyzing their reactions showed me how much denial has to do with eating meat. Most meat-eaters are in denial about the reality of where their food comes from. My opinion is: if you can’t see it or even hear about it without feeling sick or uncomfortable, you shouldn’t put it in your body. I think that if everyone lived by this, there would be less than half of the meat eaters in the world that there are now.
I know my views on the subject can seem pretty extreme at times. But the way I see it, if someone killed my dog, I would be heartbroken and would want to see whoever was responsible behind bars. Killing someone is murder, right? If someone kills a cute, defenseless animal who I don’t know personally, should it be taken any less seriously than the death of a pet?
Just think about it.
Plus, eating vegetarian food is super easy and incredibly delicious! I mean… Just look at this!!