March 30th, 2010 by Webmaster
I can’t think of a better way to start a Monday morning than opening my e-mail to find someone thanking me for helping them make the leap to becoming vegan. A few weeks prior a man named Russell wrote to IDA to ask if dairy goats were treated any better than dairy cows. According to him he had “given up meat and eggs, but was looking for any excuse to continue eating cheese”. This is a situation in which many vegetarians find themselves.
I explained to him that the unfortunate reality is that dairy products cause just as much suffering for animals as the production of meat. For example, for an animal to produce milk they must be pregnant. Just as humans produce milk to feed their children, other species are no different. Cows and goats in the dairy industry are kept pregnant every year so they will produce milk, which is very hard on their bodies and would not happen in nature. The kids (baby goats) and calves (baby cows) are taken from their mothers at birth, and are often sent to slaughter. They are a by-product of the dairy industry; milk would be wasted feeding them when it can be sold for a profit. These Mamas don’t get a retirement either; as their milk output wanes they go to slaughter by about 4 to 6 years old – the human equivalent of their teens.
Luckily, we do not have to support this, and instead can follow in the footsteps of Russell. “I started out three years ago just giving up beef, and little by little, as I became more educated, I have been dropping animal products one by one. It is so much easier to live with myself this way… I thought it was going to be difficult, but the hardest part was just making the decision to do it. I’m actually having a lot of fun learning new ways to cook and eat, I feel better physically and mentally, and I don’t feel guilty anymore.” states Russell.
I know a lot of people find it difficult to even think about making the leap to vegan. However, in understanding the importance, the benefits and the rewards veganism offers, the leap becomes easy! If you are already vegan, I encourage you to open up this conversation with others in your life. As Russell told me, “I wanted to thank you. There have been many influences pushing me in this direction, but you were the person who got me over the edge”. You never how your words will change someone, but for the animals who are not able to speak up for themselves, we must not stay silent.
IDA is here to support you no matter what phase of veganism you are in. If you have any questions, comments, etc about going vegan, don’t hesitate to write me at Jessica@idausa.org.