Joselyn Quinones

The majority of us were all raised in a system where eating meat was socially acceptable. From a young age, I never questioned why we ate meat because it was just something that was so normalized. I knew where the meat came from but I never thought about its process, or whether it was ethical or not. This was just the way I was raised and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to question it. 

 I wanted to become a vegetarian after I saw a video of the meat making process, which permanently ruined my appetite. Then I thought to myself, why would it cause this reaction if it really was something natural? I started researching, and this is when I came across the vegan lifestyle. I found out it was a safe way of eating for all stages of human life- elders, children, and even pregnant women can live healthier by adopting a vegan lifestyle. Many people use culture and tradition as a reason to explain why it is ethical and acceptable to not give up meat. There have been many events all throughout history that were justified because it was a tradition and when we look back at it now we realized how unfair and cruel it was. Tradition does not make something ethical. How can we kill a living thing when it isn’t a necessity? 

Even after learning all this information, I didn’t become vegan. I did become vegetarian, however. I noticed the changes immediately. I felt more energetic, was able to focus clearly, and had a longer attention span. I wonder why this happened and talked to other vegetarians, most of them felt the same way after transitioning to that type of lifestyle. A year later and I am here. Many say it is extreme to be vegan and promote veganism but there is nothing extreme about trying to cause the least amount of harm to anyone, including animals. To me veganism is not a restriction, it is a way of being that allows the best you to come through. Before, the only type of milk I drank was cow’s milk, and now I have so many more options. I’ve tried soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and so many others. Being vegan has allowed me to become more independent. I used to come home every day with food ready for me at the table, and the second I stepped in through the door I could smell my mom’s delicious food. Although I miss having cooked food ready to come home to, I started looking forward to cooking for myself. I still eat some form of the foods I was raised with, but I have adapted them a bit. I have developed a skill I think all of us need to live a sustainable life, I learned how to cook for myself. As little as this may seem to some, I see it as an important life skill. Many people might find it as an inconvenience at first but when it comes to life, inconvenience shouldn’t have a say on whether you take a life or not.

It is worrisome that many people eat meat and other animal products without knowing the true risks. The British and American Health Association have conducted multiple studies where they found that there is a clear connection between consuming animal products and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and high blood pressure. They categorized meat as a type 1 carcinogen. This means that it is at the same level as smoking. We bring so much attention and awareness to smoking but where is the conversation about eating animal products? 

The information is easily found I promise you. Many justify their actions because they “don’t know any better”, but I am here today telling you, you can. This information is just a click away. I am not here to tell you how to live your life, but I am using my speech as a way of encouraging you to consider living a cruelty-free life. If not for the animals, do it for your health.

We have decided that our taste buds are more important than a living being. We humans often need the feeling of superiority, even if it means at the expense of hurting others. Many say consuming animal products is what we have been doing from the beginning of mankind, but is important to make it clear that they did it out of necessity. Most Americans today don’t have that issue. We have many more affordable and cruelty-free options, it is our responsibility to find a solution to end these animals’ suffering.