I didn’t plan on going vegetarian. It wasn’t something I had thought about, or really ever seriously considered before. But sometimes things happen and you are left with no other choice. That’s what happened to me when I was 12.
I was living in a small Vermont town, surrounded by maple sugar farms and forests. The only main road in town– a modest two-lane– ran right in front of my house. One morning, a pregnant doe jumped in front of a southbound car, halting traffic for nearly an hour. I watched from my second story window as the doe and her soon-to-be fawn were removed from the road, and the car towed away.
The driver was fine, but visibly shaken. I locked myself in my room for the rest of the day, crying and barely able to process how sad I was over what I had seen. I had never watched anything die in my life. It eventually occurred to me that I had nothing to do with this doe’s death, and it was silly of me to me more upset about her death than I was about the cow who died to be on my plate the night before. And with that, I never ate meat again.
I went vegan six years later after reading up on the egg and dairy industry. What an eye opener! Growing up in Vermont, it’s easy to think that dairy cows always grow up in lush green pastures, with their calves suckling. I had no idea about dairy farms, or hatcheries, or how incredibly intertwined the dairy and egg industries were to the meat industry.
In real life, the calf doesn’t suckle– it gets stuck into a crate too small to turn around. In real life, male chicks (who are viewed as useless to the industry), get killed after hatching. Again, I had no choice; if my reason for being a vegetarian was for the welfare of animals, I would have been a hypocrite for not immediately going vegan. I have been vegan for 15 years this summer, and know that I am in it for life. I wish that doe could know how many lives have been saved because of her death.