As vegans we spend so much time listening to meat eaters telling us that veganism is a bad idea or a fad or that we are nutritionally deficient. It is a breath of fresh air, and a source of excitement, the when someone close to you decides to move away from meat-based products.
I have recently had the pleasure of watching a close friend (let’s call her Sarah) begin her transition away from meat and animal products. Sarah was a meat eater who, like many, hadn’t given a thought to the source of her food. A sausage wasn’t related to a living pig and a chocolate bar not related to a cow, until Sarah watched Earthlings.
I had the pleasure, or not, of watching Sarah watch Earthlings and the look on her face brought my own long forgotten feelings back. The horror as the sudden realisation dawned on me — humans treat animals like objects and the horrible guilt I felt that I had been contributing to that culture. It was a lightbulb moment for me and clearly it was for Sarah too.
That moment of clarity is not normally something that you get to witness first hand and it was powerful. At the end of Earthlings, Sarah made the decision to eliminate all meat from her diet and to begin to cut down animal products bit by bit.
Since this moment I have spoken to Sarah on a daily basis about her transition. “I can’t believe I used to think it was okay to eat animals,” she said and it’s not hard to hear the sadness in her voice. We’ve all been there.
For me, it has been wonderful watching Sarah’s transition. Not only does she now not eat meat, but she is trying out nut milks, meat alternatives and vegan cheese. All of these moments were trumped the other day when Sarah told me that she had convinced a member of her family to cut down their meat consumption and she has been introducing meat alternatives to the people who surround her.
Sarah is just one person. But she has influenced at least two other people, and these people could influence a handful of people, and so the snowball gets larger and more powerful. Veganism is not a fad.
Have you had the pleasure of watching someone close to you transition to a compassionate lifestyle?