Voices from the Garden
Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle From All-Creatures.org

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.


Veda Stram
May 2001

Veda's contribution to Voices From the Garden (available from Lantern Books)

Voices from the Garden

I was satisfied and complete with everything about my life in the spring of 1988 and began a quest, looking for something I could spend the rest of my life working on. A friend, knowing how much I appreciated the individuality of all the kitties I'd lived with through my life showed me a photograph that led me to the exact something I had been looking for. The photo looked completely innocuous until I looked more closely at the picture and read the header. There was a rope tied around the kitten's neck, attached to a long pole lying on the ground.

The caption read "Boiled cat meat is considered a delicacy in many part s of the world." I am one of those fortunate people in the world who was lucky enough to look at that photograph and get it immediately. Having lived with cats and kittens all my life, having my roommates always include cats and kittens, having my best friends be cats and kittens, I immediately realized that every cow and every pig was as unique and special as each and every cat or kitten I had ever known.

I was instantly vegetarian.

Six months later, not having eaten a morsel of flesh, a wild pigeon (later named Peaches by me in honor of an infamous cat experimented on at the University of California, Los Angeles) appeared in my life, wounded, almost dying. She recovered under my care very nicely, sleeping in a cage at nights and walking or jumping or flying wherever she wanted all days.

I woke up one morning and removed the bright blue blanket from her cage where she had spent the night. She stretched her right foot back as far as she could and yawned, and then she stretched her right wing as high as she could and yawned again. And then she stretched her left leg as far as she could and yawned, and then she stretched her left wing as high up as she could and yawned.

And again, immediately, I was fortunate to realize, "Oh my god, battery hens..."

That had me be vegan instantly. I didn't even need to think about dairy after that. I was sure that the realities of dairy cows and their children would be just as earth-shatteringly awakening to me as the kitten by the 'hot tub" and peaches' stretching had been.

We cannot really "be vegan" in this world of animal pieces in car tires or elsewhere, but we can read labels and we can ask questions and we can always say very graciously, "No, thank you, but I don't eat animals" to anyone, under any circumstances, anywhere.

I am not a strict vegan...There is nothing strict or rigid about what I eat or drink or use. I am a committed, compassionate human being always thinking about the opportunity I have to be an example for others.

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