For the past couple weeks, I’ve been knocking around the idea in my head of going vegan again. You may recall, when I first went vegetarian (March 21, 2010), I started out vegan. I called myself vegetarian, knowing I wasn’t bold enough to force the vegan issue at restaurants, but with very rare exceptions, I ate vegan for the first 3 months. Then, I decided that I wanted to eat yogurt, as well as cheese on my Jimmy John’s #6 (no tomato, extra avo). I’ve been happily vegetarian ever since (lacto-vegetarian, if you want to be technical about it – no meat, no eggs, no fish, but dairy is OK).
But every time I dug into a cup of yogurt, I thought about the cows.
I went on a day trip to a dairy farm a couple years ago, before I went veg. It was interesting and fun. I saw the birth of a cow, and all of the cow barns, and the milking process. It all looked pretty OK. And that experience is what I’ve used over the past year to paint ignorance over what I know is really happening.
Because when I take my blinders off, I have to ask: what happens to the baby boy calves after they’re born? Why are the cows pregnant all the time? How do they get pregnant? And so on. I know the answers. They aren’t pretty. They’re exactly why I went vegetarian a year ago.
So, why have I made it OK to eat dairy? Because it tastes good?
Essentially, I’ve been choosing to ignore the reality of the matter for my own sensual pleasures.
This past year spent eating vegetarian has been eye-opening and truly remarkable for me. I really do feel like I am living my own personal truths. It lifts a weight off of my heart that I could not have imagined. I can honor my compassion for animals wholly and without feeling like a hypocrite – that is, except for the cows.
So, to my friends, the cows – I will no longer ignore your anguish. I will not participate in the horrors placed upon you by this country’s factory farming practices. I come in peace.
Yesterday, 1 year after I went vegetarian, I decided to free my mind from the guilt of hurting the cows. March 21, 2011: I am vegan once more.