It’s a continuous joke between my family and friends that I believe animals are nicer than humans. Well maybe not so much of a joke, but my actual belief…

Since I was little, animals have always had a special place in my heart. Yes, I rescue crickets that are trapped in my basement, and no I do not find that to be weird. For me, being helpless is one of the worst feelings in the world. Whether it is being victimized for solely being born, or simply being unable to pay the rent this month, that helpless feeling can really knot up in the pit of ones being.

The reality: Farmed animals feel this everyday.

As a mother cow watches the calf she just birthed be ripped from her and shoved into a confined crate, where she will be injected with dairy inducing hormones and used until she cannot produce anymore, she cries. Actual tears fall down her face.

A baby piglet looks back at her mama as she is being dragged to her death to be mass- produced as bacon. She squeals with anguish knowing she will never live a day in peace, yet her cries are ignored. They are heard, but they are ignored.

As an advocate for animal welfare, I am constantly researching and staying up to date on current legislation and what policies are in need of reform. Recently, the FBI has added animal cruelty to its list of Class ‘A’ felonies, alongside homicide and arson. This is a huge win, and a great step in the right direction for animal protection.

However, there is also an undeniable contradiction: farmed animals. We will rightfully put an individual in jail for choking a dog to death, or setting fire to a cat. But we ignore those who throw calves against a cement wall until they bleed to death, because we need dairy?

Considering all of this, it is no surprise that I became a vegetarian. However, it was not until I learned the reality of the dairy industry as well, that made me transition to vegan. I was always told that animals were not hurt for dairy production, and I am still ashamed of my ignorance in believing that.

Being vegan is not hard. On a daily basis I receive comments/questions such as: “But don’t you miss chicken?” “I could never live without cheese.” However, when you love all animals, not just those who are considered companions, it is very easy. These animals’ lives mean more to me than the convenience of ordering chicken wings with friends; so therefore, no I do not miss it.

To anyone who is thinking about going vegan and worries about the social aspects of it, or wondering what to cook for a family, there are a tremendous amount of resources available. All you have to do is decide that your morals are greater than your appetite, and your stomach should not be a burial ground for other living beings. That the cow that is being raped daily for your dairy intake, deserves a life free from pain and suffering. Veganism is a lifestyle change, and arguably a movement. If the power lies within the people, then I will do everything in my power to end farmed animal suffering.