LETTER: Respect Animals by Not Eating Them
Thank you for publishing Wayne Creed’s thoughtful and informative article, including the shout out for International Respect for Chickens Day May 4 and every day. For many people who want to be vegan, including me 30 years ago, cheese is the biggest hurdle. One day I sat in my car in front of my favorite Italian restaurant in College Park, Maryland, crying because I could no longer have pizza with extra (or any!) cheese. I had a good cry in the driver’s seat. Then I dried my eyes, went inside, ordered rigatoni with mushrooms, and never looked back.
I wish that in childhood I had made the connection between eating and animals, but I didn’t. Growing up in a Pennsylvania town where schools were (and still are) closed on the first day of hunting season, where ring-necked pheasants are pen-raised to be released into the woods to be wounded and shot for pleasure, I hated those things, yet I didn’t connect animals and dinner. I don’t hold myself responsible for what I failed to realize growing up, although I regret it, but once my eyes were open, I was responsible.
To this day I consider my decision to respect animals by not eating them to be the single best decision I ever made. For me, being vegan is the opposite of renunciation. It is a totally positive, deeply satisfying diet and dietary decision that has influenced my attitude and behavior in other areas including household and personal care products and in trying to act consciously instead of just conveniently.
If I have any advice for people who want their food to be animal-free, it is to stay firm in your commitment, be happy about it, eat well, and don’t apologize. I invite everyone getting started to sign up for the daily recipes and gorgeous photos featured on One Green Planet. Remember the animals whose lives you are no longer ruining just for a meal. For me, this is the most powerful incentive.
KAREN DAVIS, Ph.D.
President, United Poultry Concerns