Today is the anniversary of my decision to go vegan.
I have to approach this subject and area of my life with a little less force than I otherwise would have, because, believe it or not, I was born and raised on a dairy farm, and at one stage thought I would be a farmer when I grew up. Hence the title of this blog site. That is not to say that I will compromise on my newfound beliefs – the opposite in fact. However, I do have to acknowledge that I was not only complicit in, but that in some ways I still am a direct beneficiary of an industry that many would deem to be centred on cruelty and greed. I’m hoping for nuance here: my father is not a cruel man. Much to the contrary- he is as kind and as generous and as loving a human as you could hope to meet. But he is a farmer’s son, of a farmer’s son, of a farmer’s son, of a farmer’s son. Growing up in social conditions which precluded an education, he didn’t have a choice, or the luxury to choose his own career path. I regularly have conversations with him about how lonely and terrible a job farming is and how if he could do something else he would. But he too is part of a system that he now cannot be freed from until retirement. It is his only means of supporting his three children and hopefully some day- grandchildren. He did what he had to do, and is still doing what he has to do, so that his children are free to have choices he never had.
I guess what I’m saying is that it is ironic that without my dad’s occupation, I wouldn’t have been able to have access to a university education or to live in London, where I now have a successful career, that I chose, and that I can support myself from. Without the money my dad has made off the back of being a cattle farmer, I arguably wouldn’t have had the opportunity or space to make the decision that I think is necessary in order to bring about the change that this world needs to survive. It is all intertwined. I am both vegan and a farmer’s daughter. My kind of veganism is rooted in the knowledge of where I came from and how I got here.
In light of this, I made the decision early on to try not to be too militant about it in order to not alienate others who might one day make the choice for themselves. One thing vegans love to do is to talk about being vegan and I definitely fall foul to that. But what I try not to do is preach. If someone asks me about it then I will talk to them but I try not to bring it up. Unless someone comments on my Doc Martens and then I quickly say ‘THEY ARE VEGAN!’. But if someone invites me round for dinner and cooks vegetarian, I would never turn my nose up and say ‘but it’s not vegan’. I would eat it. I do as much as I can but I’m not going to make others feel bad and make it seem like I’m judging them, because I’m not. I’m a farmer’s daughter and former meat-eater. I have no high horse to ride in on.
Thanks for reading. Check back here for vegan product reviews and my attempts to get to a more sustainable existence.