Some may say that I wasn’t a true vegetarian due to fact that I still wore leather, and now I realize this fact as well, but I accepted the animal products in my life as “unavoidable compromises.” It was just too “hard” to find acceptable footwear, it was just too “hard” to cut cheese, eggs, honey and other animal products out of my diet and life. What if I was traveling? What if my friends invited me over for dinner? What if I went out to a restaurant? Could I get enough protein from being vegan? Enough vitamins? I was full of excuses and rationalizations for my choices, many of which were unfounded.
Then, six months ago, I began WWOOFing on a small dairy farm in Italy. I wanted to understand more about where my food was coming from and the work that went into producing it.† Working on the dairy farm didnít turn me vegan, but it did make me realize that if youíre drinking milk, animals are dying for you. What do you think happens to the male calves that are born to keep the cows producing milk? What do you think happens when a dairy cow gets too old? Or too sick?
Even after this experience it didnít set in.
Next I went to a biodynamic vineyard complete with veggie gardens, chickens, sheep and cows. For lunch, we would go into the garden to pick a salad, and then to the hen house to grab an egg. I have never heard such a mournful cackle as when I removed all the eggs from under a hen attempting to nest. She looked for her eggs for over an hour, wandering confused and calling, calling, calling. It was not only this that broke my heart though, but the realization that often roosters are sold for meat, and male chicks ground up alive at hatcheries. If you eat eggs, animals are dying for you.
Even after this experience it still didnít set in.