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.

President, United Poultry Concerns



3 Responses to “LETTER: Respect Animals by Not Eating Them”

  1. Stan Benton on June 15th, 2015 10:24 am

    A friend of mine from Virginia sent this article to me, noting that it involved a kindred spirit. It does indeed. I have been a vegetarian for over 50 years, and a vegan for over 30. When I retired to Vermont I discovered a neat pizza place in Burlington (whose name now escapes me) that made all sorts of specialized pizzas. I settled on one with black beans, roasted red peppers, and broccoli. The black beans gave it a consistency close to a cheese pizza, and the red peppers give it great flavor. Of course you have to check that they don’t sneak milk into the pizza dough. I will admit that I haven’t tried too many vegan cheeses, and the few (soy ones) I did try were a bit dry and crumbly, but I now see ads for several types of vegan cheese, and some look pretty good, although a bit pricey.

  2. Mary Finelli on June 15th, 2015 6:31 pm

    Being vegan is easier, better, and more compelling than ever. There are so many marvelous recipes and products readily available now, There are amazing vegan versions of pretty much any type of food imaginable. (Many people don’t realize that a lot of food naturally IS vegan.) Vegan dishes and entirely vegan restaurants are increasingly common.

    There are vegan support resources on-line and beyond. United Poultry Concerns has a terrific vegan guide: http://upc-online.org/govegan.pdf a print version of which can be ordered from the organization.

    All of the nutrients we need to thrive can be obtained from plant sources. A plant-sourced diet is more healthful, humane, and environmentally responsible. It’s the best thing anyone can do for themself – and for the sake of so many others!

  3. Enid Breakstone on June 16th, 2015 12:26 am

    Thanks for posting Karen Davis’ letter. She has been a pioneer in the cruelty-free-animal-rights-vegan movement. We can take a lesson, here.

    Unless people have grown up vegan, few of us made the food-animal connection until later in life when we got hip and took notice. I went vegetarian in 1992 and vegan in 1996 (and not a moment too soon, I might add) and have never regretted it.

    I look out at restaurants and see how people eat or notice all the commercials on TV that advertise animal eating at restaurants and I think, “we still have a lot of work to do if we’re going to get to a sustainable and cruelty-free place on our planet.” Printing letters such as Karen’s lets the rest of the world know that we’re just waiting for them to make the same observation and take action to create critical mass.