Today is the day I decide to commit myself to a vegetarian diet.

For a long time I’ve considered making the change for a lot of different reasons. I’ve known for a while now how much meat production impacts climate change and other sustainability issues such as energy depletion and environmental destruction, and I was also aware of the negative effects it has on human health. Despite being aware of these problems, I still didn’t care enough to make the change, because if I’m being honest, it just didn’t mean enough to me. But my perspective and values changed yesterday after talking to my Econ teacher’s wife, Carol Tracey. Her passion for animal rights really struck a chord with me, and it was the final push I needed to convince myself to make the change.

When it comes to killing animals, the murder itself has never really bothered me. The world is full of animals killing animals, and I always just thought of it as the way the world was. And I still do think that way, but what bothers me most now is the way that animals are treated in the industrial food system. Talking to Carol made me realize how awful it would be to be a pig/chicken/cow going through the food production process in today’s world. Realizing that pigs are as smart as human children, and that we confine them to tight spaces that restrict them from stretching out and being comfortable kills me inside. I imagine myself in that situation, and I would go crazy being imprisoned in tight spaces my whole life. These pigs break their teeth while biting their cages trying to free themselves, because their lives are filled with so much depression. The horrible way we treat animals in the industrial food system hit super hard once I started to imagine my dog Minnie being treated in those same ways. These are living, feeling animals, and it breaks my heart to know how horribly they are tortured. I already made it my goal to lessen human suffering in this world, and now I want to expand that responsibility to other living animals too. I’m feeling a little scared and overwhelmed right now, because I’m worried I’m going to end up falling back into my selfish ways and failing, but I’m going to push forward with the belief that I will succeed. There’s no reason not to besides my own selfish desire to eat meat, and that is no longer a good enough excuse. It’s time to buck up or shut up. If I am a true sustainability advocate, and a progressive thinker, than this is a step I must take.

Wish me luck.

-Kevan