My wife's co-worker was diagnosed with brain cancer just over a year ago. She was paralyzed on half her body, and was put in hospice care, since there was (apparently) very little that could be done. The woman was in her early 50's, and though I didn't know her very well, I had met her a few times at work functions. It struck me as hugely cruel that she could end up like that. I certainly didn't want to meet the same fate, so I started searching online for cancer cures. One of the first things I came across was the video, "Healing Cancer From Inside Out". In it was this quote from the January 1892 Scientific American: "cancer is most frequent among those branches of the human race where carnivorous habits prevail." I then realized I would have to give up my all-you-can-eat BBQ, triple-cheeseburger-lovin', chickenfried-steak-gobblin' habits for good. The more I read and saw about the effect of meat on the body, and how the meat industry is harming the environment (and it's patrons), the more determined I was to abandon my former ways.
I have been a vegan for nearly a year now, and I am still trying to better my diet. For a while, I was eating lots of soy meats & cheeses to soften the blow, eating lots of dark chocolate (85%), and making superfruit smoothies, but for the past few months, I have been moving more towards the 80-10-10 diet, and trying to eat tons of fresh, ripe, raw, whole, organic fruits and vegetables, while cutting back on fats.
It's more for me than the animals. I want to live as long as possible, and do so with my health and sanity in good order.
I was eating chicken one night and the further I got eating it the less I was enjoying it, in the end I was gagging on it and couldn't stomach any more.
My love of animals never extended to what I ate before this. Like someone posted earlier they have emotions, feelings, a sense of loss and hurt. I think when you see this in an animal and you realise that we are closely related biologically it becomes more like murder, not just eating food.
I'd decided long ago that I could never kill an animal to eat it, so that made my mind up, if I wasn't prepared to slaughter it myself I shouldn't be eating it.
I miss bacon butties, but knowing a pig would have to die to provide it keeps me from eating it.
My eldest son is Vegetarian and my sister is Vegan, my youngest (11) wants to become vegetarian.
I do feel this will be the way humans will have to be in the near future, certainly as we get our human rights in order with equality for everyone I think animals will have to follow suit. I'd like to think with humans supposedly being of higher intelligence and knowing of our close links with other species that this is the next logical step in our development.
Gorillas that walk upright, chimpanzees that make and use tools, parrots that can do maths. They all show signs of developing higher intelligence, so when do they earn their animal rights?
Resurrecting an old thread, but to add my story, as I've just joined AN:
I am a vegetarian primarily for ethical and environmental reasons. I have only been one for just over two years, but had agonised over the decision for at least two years before.
I grew up in a third-world environment and saw all manner of creatures being slaughtered before the age of eight. Interestingly, this didn't really affect me. I can't remember having nightmares or anything. I have always loved animals and in my late teens I began truly emphasising with them.
Strangely enough, a major factor in my choice was the death of our family dog about four years ago. Obviously, dogs aren't commonly eaten in the western world, but somehow his death had a profound impact on my eating habits. I was alone with the dog when he died. I still wanted to touch him and stroke him while he was alive, but the second the light left his eyes and he stopped breathing, the empty shell he had become repulsed me. I realised then that if I was too grossed out to touch our dear dog when he had died, I would probably not be able to touch the carcass of another unfamiliar creature (cow, pig, sheep), never mind eat it.
I waited until I moved out of my parents' house (both because I did not want to inconvenience them and because I was worried about how they would react) before becoming a veggie. I went "cold turkey", and while I still sometimes crave the taste of meat (and at other times feel nauseated by the smell), I do not regret my choice and have experienced no health issues. Perhaps one day I will become a vegan, but I am not ready yet.
I never really stopped per se. I was born into a vegetarian community, and was raised vegetarian all my life. Well, we were a family of South Indian Brahmins, and most of the food there has been vegetarian for a couple of millennia. I did attempt to take on a diet that included meat at one point while I was living in the U.S., as I felt developing such tastes might give me more options, but I could never really develop a taste for it. Really, many meats, I simply couldn't taste anything but whatever nature of spices and seasonings they used... but not the meat itself. It just had no taste at all to me.
Long story short... I just happen to like what I grew up on. Same reason most people who eat meat like meat.
I don't really buy into a lot of the ethical arguments for vegetarianism or veganism, because they generally conflate the product itself (meat) with the process. Those ethical arguments are good reasons to boycott factory farming practices, boycotting certain types of meat, but ultimately, there needs to be a meat industry even if for no other reason than feeding our carnivorous pets. Environmental arguments are good reasons to support widespread adoption of new technological improvements which can make use of those by-products to make farms self-sustaining. Cattle farms, for instance, throw out more methane than just about anything... there exists technology to reclaim that methane and use it within the farm to make them effectively carbon-neutral. The existence of factory farming is generally a result of the fact that Americans eat entirely far too much meat, but it is by no means an intrinsic quality of having meat as part of the diet of the populace.
I'm only virtually a a vegetarian. I don't eat meat produced in factories, only eating meat that can be sourced as ethically raised/slaughtered (hope that doesn't spark a debate, not the thread for that). Also, I don't seek it out, so probably only eat meat every few months.
Even if I had meat readily available that met my criteria, I wouldn't eat it that often due to environmental, sustainability, and health reasons. Eat food, not too much, mostly vegetables. ;)
When I was 21, the idea of killing for food bothered me, so I became vegetarian. 36 years later, still vegetarian. It works for me. The older I get the more I learn about the food industry and the less I like it. Vegetarian lifestyle keeps me strong. However, I gave in and started to wear leather shoes. Too hard to find shoes to fit my extra wide feet.