In the early 90s, in Paris, I was a twenty- something Vegetarian who had “converted” to Vegetarianism for spiritual reason. I had a Vegan friend in Paris, although I didn’t realize fully what she was about. She never really expanded what she meant about “vegetalien” (Vegan) to me. I just thought that “vegetarien” (vegetarian) was it. I had this born-again spiritual awakening after years of atheist beliefs and turned to Hinduism and Buddhism. It felt very natural to eat vegetarian. But I never made the connection to the animals. It was purely a “religious” move.
However, I had always some concern for the animals at a subconscious level. When I was a kid, my dad kept bunnies in the backyard who I used to feed through their cages. It never occurred to me that they were the ones I ended up eating. I was raised with cats for eighteen years. But my mother, ignorantly, never got them spayed and nutured. We were living in the country and they were wild. They would disappear for weeks and come back, usually pregnant. We had litters of kitties each year who would disappear after a few days. I was always told that they were given away. I found out thirty years later that she had them killed. It broke my heart for both the cats and the fact that my mother had lied to me all these years.
Then in 2005, I was walking at the Grove in Hollywood with a friend of mine. I watched someone passing by with dogs on leashes and had this strong reaction about it. I made the comment that I didn’t like seeing them on a leash. They were like slaves. She then told me that I was being inconsistent because, after all, I was eating animals. I didn’t react but she planted strong seeds. A few days later, I was at my local library when the book “Fast Food Nation” literally “popped up” in front of me. I felt compelled to read it. I am not sure what prompted that. But I don’t believe in coincidence. I was ready to find truths. After reading the book, I was so grossed out, that I became Vegetarian again. I also quit smoking at the same time.
Veronique — thank you for sharing this! I am so glad your vegan journey has brought you to the place where you are now a strong advocate for the animals!