Our backgrounds, our experiences, our encounters with God and His creation, and our education, all play a part in the manner in which we interpret the Bible. Following is one of these testimonies by a vegan lay person.
My first attempt at vegetarianism began over twenty-four years ago when I was an undergraduate student in art. After attending a modern dance concert with a fellow art student, I suggested stopping at the local McDonald's to have a quick bite to eat before going home for the evening. My schoolmate indicated that she did not eat hamburgers due to compassion for animals. It was the absolute very first time I made the connection between what I was eating and my strong love of animals.
As a result, meat eating became increasing difficult for me. It was a gradual process, I went to a couple vegetarian restaurants but found it difficult to enjoy as much as the other restaurants. I discontinued all meats but seafood rationalizing that these animals did not suffer. Then, eventually I discontinued all meat including seafood....but it was very very difficult.
Also, back then, restaurants, fast food places and the likes were not too accommodating to vegetarians and I was one who worked and went to school and found it difficult and time consuming to cook vegetarian meals that often required considerable lead time for those dishes I found particularly good. So I became a regular at salad bars until I developed stomach problems and was unable to eat a great deal of vegetarian items. So for a brief stint, I became tempted by seafood and again included that in my diet until I began understanding more about their sea animals suffering as well. Thus now I remain a vegetarian and have been for some time...but it was only since the last part of my vegetarianism that I began questioning other types of animal products and abstaining from leather shoes, etc.
However, I am not a vegan. Even though I support veganism, I find it difficult to sacrifice items I have used in casseroles, etc. I am able to eat vegan a lot, but not exclusively. I also own pets, and although I am against any kind of cruelty to animals, I have a difficult time reconciling the fact that in order for my pets to live, some animals have to die in order to make their dog and cat food. Although the peaceable kingdom is the ideal, it is not the current order of the world, and carnivorous animals do kill to obtain their food source. In addition, while there are vegetarian food sources for my pets (all which are rescued / abused animals) it is not readily available, convenient, or likely affordable.
Therefore, I do support organizations such as the Humane Farming Assoc. and Farm Sanctuary because I believe the vast majority of Americans, particularly those who are not concerned with animal welfare, will not eliminate meat from their diets.
For those vegetarians who become such (not for health reasons but rather due to their commitment to animals) it is a process of enlightenment. People in our society have had to be miseducated regarding what they eat in order for them to stomach it. I believe that is why we call it pork rather than pig, and beef rather than cow. With most of the American public removed from the actual meat processing, all they do is go in the store and purchase a package. They simply don't make the connection.
And then on the other hand, those who do make the connection, may not have animal's interest at heart.
(7 January 2001)
Go on to comments by: Ashley - Posted 7 September 1998
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