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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • I pretty much always believed in animal rights to some extent -- I protested the Canadian seal cull in the 1980s and attempted to be vegetarian for a while but got sidetracked by a drug problem that took precedence for a few years.


    I'd dabbled a few times before, but I finally got my shit together to go vegetarian properly 13 years ago - but I think I listened to the wrong people who excused a little convenience and at that time (wrongly) felt vegetarianism was the best I could do -- I stuck with that for 9 years before deciding to put animal rights ahead of convenience.


    So, I went vegan just over 4 years ago (July 2013) after watching Gary Yourofsky's "best speech you'll ever hear" video - it includes footage of a calf being kicked and beaten (@1:00:40) and in that moment I decided I didn't want to be a part of it anymore (I now know that every time an activist gets undercover footage it always contains similar, no matter where in the world it is filmed).




    That was it, I've been vegan ever since and it was the best decision I ever made that wasn't about me.


    I'm also way less of an apologist than I was then - in early days I'd hear the "I'm vegan except for wool" or "I'm vegan except for honey" etc. and accept that as a part of the individual journey (Although I never partook).


    I now go by the Vegan Society definition that all conscious or deliberate animal use is exploitation and anything less isn't vegan (they invented the word so they have the right to define it):


    Quote

    "A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

  • I'm fairly sure something was woken in me when I was a kid and saw a fox and her cubs being killed by terrier men. The fox was swung around and had her head bashed off a stone and the Cubs were all killed with a shovel. I was on the other side of the hedge and when they left I went over and sat with the bodies. From that day i started writing letters to newspapers and asking any locals who owned any land if I could put up No Hunting signs.


    When i was about 16 I made the connection between the chicken on my plate and a real chicken I knew personally who's name was scaldy baldy :) I suddenly realised there was no difference between them and turned vegetarian.


    When I was about 18 I joined the local animal rights group in Belfast and started hunt sabbing regularly. I hadn't even heard of veganism at that point and remember being really shocked at meeting my first vegan and thinking it was really extreme. Three years later though I turned vegan and that was 22 years ago now!

  • Would you say you're an animal lover, Paul? That sounds rude now, but you know what I mean! Or is it more about respect for living beings? Or both?

    I love animals but I'm not particularly sentimental - like I don't go all doe eyed at the first sight of a pet for instance.


    I just believe that, if something has an interest in its life; that it can think, feel or suffer, then it isn't my right to interfere with or take from it. Apart from that, there's absolutely no necessity - personal convenience and a meal isn't a big enough excuse to kill.

  • Thanks Emma. [emoji106] I'm guilty of the 'convenience' of eating meat, but its starting to sit rather heavily on my conscience - particularly when there are so many alternatives.

    In the last couple of years I've seen an astronomical rise in the availability of vegan options in restaurants and supermarkets -- and not just in London; this weekend in Dublin I saw heaps of restaurants offering vegan options.


    I'm a massive social eater and I'm a lazy chef and I never go without.


    In fact, the only time I ever questioned my ability to stay vegan was when I spent a week in a remote part of Poland about three years back (I posted it in here) and I still didn't relent. My sister is now vegan, as are both my nieces, as are friends I grew up with who I never thought would make that connection. As a massive lover of convenience I never thought I'd be capable of sustaining it, and now I'm convinced I'll die vegan.


    This is a new support resource for people just starting out:


    http://www.challenge22.com

  • In the last couple of years I've seen an astronomical rise in the availability of vegan options in restaurants and supermarkets -- and not just in London; this weekend in Dublin I saw heaps of restaurants offering vegan


    Don't have much in the way of vegan food if eating out, up here; but certainly the choices in supermarkets are amazing, especially Tesco.


    My sister eats with me a lot of days, and I no longer point out that what she is eating is vegan, she will know it is, but it doesn't bother her. She enjoys food which I prepare, but wouldn't make it herself, down to 'can't be bothered'. Today I found some vegan cornetto type ice creams, and as she loves junk food and has a sweet tooth, I gave them to her. If it hadn't had 'non dairy' written on the lid, she told me she wouldn't have known.

  • Went for vegan anarcho dinner at local social the other day and realised I was in the leather jacket I dug out the cupboard at my mum's at the weekend.
    Leather is a problem as animal skin, but this is my brother's jacket from the 80s that's just sat in a cupboard otherwise, I am a bit homeless, autumn is here and it'll keep me warm and dry for free... Sometimes we make ethical compromises out of usefulness.

  • I would be really interested to read how your journey to becoming vegan happened, if you don't mind?
    Was there a catalyst that sparked off a total change in your views, or was it a gradual thing?


    Hey Miss_bee. I'm just going into my eight week as a vegan and the weird thing is I don't quite know how it happened but on the other hand I feel as though I've been vegan all my life.


    Since I've been on the road, I've made friends with a lot of people and we've shared food and while I've been with them I've eaten vegan. If I cook for festivals or events I cook vegan.Slowly but surely without me noticing, my path has been laid out before me for me to follow. It was one of those vegan friends who suggested I gave uo dairy for 28 days to see if my singing voice improved - I always had the feeling something was there, in my throat, hindering my voice (there was - it was the puss from the milk in my tea that I believed I couldn't do without). I embarked upon a 28 day challenge but after a week I knew I would never go back to dairy- the change in my physical well being was extreme and I wanted it to continue.


    In July, I had to go into hospital for some exploratory procedures and for that my stomach and intestines had to be chemically cleaned. I had a strong feeling that came from nowhere, that after the procedures, I would never eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs again, It felt to me as though I was having a fresh start - a rebirth almost.


    And, somehow I did it and not only did I do it, it also was the easiest thing I've ever done in my life. Thats' why I believe with all my heart that I was born this way and I've spent 60 odd years fighting it.


    The benefits are too many to mention but I will say that I feel that a part of me that was missing has come back to me. The huge burden of guilt that I have carried around with me all these years has gone. The guilt that I contributed to the suffering of living crestures - it feels as though a weight has been lifted from my neck. I'm still learning and gaining strength and knowledge. I have wrongs to right - and I will - but for now I'm just putting my efforts into doing the best I can.

  • That's very interesting, thanks Mrs P. I've got a sneaking suspicion that I may well end up doing more than just showing an interest in veganism. I usually take a long time to do things: I have to feel the "time is right". Ridiculous, I know. When would the time not be right to give up a practice which is cruel, and more to the point, unnecessary?!

  • You're probably asking the wrong person that question. As I said, it took me 60 odd years to find' the right time' only to find it had been the right time all along. Sometimes you have to stop thinking and just do.

  • It was always at the back of my mind to become vegan but I think I kept making excuses to myself. A few years ago I went to a Morrissey gig and he played a very graphic video which showing some undercover footage from various abattoirs/dairy farms/battery farms etc and I became vegetarian straight away. After a few months I knew that I had to be true to myself and became vegan. It wasn't at all difficult as I knew I was doing the right thing. I haven't looked back. I have lost weight, my skin has improved and I feel better in general.