17 October 2011

TDIV Q&A: What inspired you to go vegan?

What inspired you to go vegan?

Even though I have been a vegan for barely over a year, my transition to veganism has been a life-long one. As a child, I was an animal lover. My favorite animal was horses and I spent many weekends at a local barn volunteering, taking riding lessons, and being “one with nature.” A friend of mine at the barn was a vegetarian and after talking with her about it for some time, I decided that it was something I wanted to do as well. Because I had already built a strong bond with farm animals, thinking in terms of “friends, not food” was easy. I did not understand why some people find it okay to eat certain animals, but taboo to eat others (like our cats and dogs). However, after a few tries at home and growing tired of watching my family eat their hearts out while I ate a side of corn, I gave up. I knew nothing about cooking, did not know about my other options at the time, and my mother had told me that she was unwilling to make separate meals for me. Despite my failure, vegetarianism remained at the back of my mind.

Years later, I was on a date. My boyfriend and I rented the film Eyes Without a Face, directed by Georges Franju. As a cinema fanatic, it was rare if I did not watch the entire DVD, and this one had a documentary, Le Sang des Betes, included in the special features. The film is pretty graphic and upset me enough to turn it off. Even though the film was out of sight, it was not out of mind. The documentary reappeared into my life a few years later while in a film class. I knew what it was when I saw it on the syllabus, but I figured I would try and stick it out this time. After the first scene, I could not take it anymore, but the screening room was too dark for me to try to climb over people. I was blocked in on all sides, so my only course of action was to slump in my seat and hope that no one would see the tears streaming down my face. After the film was over, I quickly wiped away my tears and tried to escape from the room as quickly as possible before anyone spoke to me.

It was then that I knew I could no longer eat animals. A few months later, I watched Food, Inc. and decided to cut out animal products completely. Since I was living on my own and making my own food, it was much easier to do so. I credit my veganism to Georges Franju, my film professor, and my friend from the barn.

Who or what inspired you to go vegan?

Kristen McFarland | @MohawkedMaven
Kristen, a vegan from Cincinnati, Ohio, is passionate about animal rights and film. She has a degree in electronic media and spends her time working as a sideshow performer and a photographer. Follow Kristen on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/opensourceway