Cardiff family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.

1/07/2018

#Veganuary: Feeling all the Guilt...



When I was a kid I wanted to be a vegetarian. I had seen protesters in the city with photographs of animal testing and I'd always felt a need to do something to help. Whether this was to protest or buy products that haven't been tested on animals, or eat a vegetarian diet. 
 I ended up going to a meeting, not sure who it was with, but I was pretty young... I remember being in tears over the videos and rejecting the spicy samosas offered to me. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed, scared and so sad that I actually never wanted to go back. The graphic photos, videos, the food I hadn't quite gotten used to, all of it seemed to push me away from the fight. It was all too much, too soon...

Years later and I spent a life no longer questioning animal welfare. Eating meat became normalised and although I still purchased a lot of products from The Body Shop, I haven't really thought much beyond this for over 25 years. 

Less than a week ago I started a journey back into this world. I started Veganuary on 2nd January, and even though it has only been five days, it's like a can of worms has opened on my former life, my former beliefs, because obviously they're still inside of me. I think perhaps I hid them away because I was scared, because this world is focused so much on being normal or the same and fitting in, or because I hadn't had my eyes opened fully as an adult.

Back then I didn't really know about veganism, it was all about cutting out meat. But since the 2nd January a new realisation as occurred, a tentative dip into the dairy industry has been enough to ensure I'll never buy milk, butter or eggs ever again. 

I love to research, I love to find out the truth and the statistics about certain things. So you can imagine my shock when I discovered as many as 40 million male chicks are killed each year in the UK. Or when I found out calves are taken from their mothers within two days of birth and we drink their milk...

I could go on. It's all out there. If you're willing to open your eyes (and heart) to it. So today and for the past few days I've felt an enormous amount of guilt. Guilt for not sticking with it as a kid, guilt for not figuring this out sooner as an adult. I'm angry I avoided researching any of this, I feel guilty for all those animals killed within days of life, or those slaughtered and beaten before being served up in the chilled aisles of supermarkets...

Did you know that if we all stopped eating meat we could cure world hunger? Most of the grain grown in other countries feeds cattle, not vegans... 97% apparently. This article from The Independent is eye opening when it comes to huge changes if we all gave up meat. 

No wonder I feel guilty. 

But...

This feeling is being overshadowed by another feeling. One of hope. One of resistance. I feel my conscience is clear now I've stopped buying into meat and dairy. I feel I'm contributing to something huge right now.

I'm part of a community of people who care about animal welfare and the welfare of the world. So maybe one day this guilt will turn into triumph, and each day the guilt will grow smaller, but it will always remind to never, ever go back. 



 

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  1. I have a confession- in my pursuit to support you as you were growing up , it was I and your Auntie Ann that took you to that meeting - I remember it vividly and it was as graphic as you said .I apologise profusely - you were too young but I did not know how fervent everyone was going to be ( with good reason I may add!) xxxxxxxx sent with love xxxxx

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