Jennifer Chavez

I went vegetarian over 6 years ago thanks to my aunt. I was working at her restaurant, and one day she was scrolling through Facebook and saw that someone posted the benefits of not eating meat. So, we made a deal that we would both go vegetarian and see who would last the longest. We made a straight transition, and it was easy since she owned the restaurant, and we both spent lots of our time there. She would just cook something up for the both of us, and in the process, teach me some meals I could cook for myself at home.

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Claire Howe
Ella Di Stasio

In 2011, a short documentary aired about the reality of the meat industry. After that, my parents, two of my sisters, and I went vegetarian. I was 10 at the time, and this was quite a big thing for my family to do even though I didn't really realise it. Before then, the idea of not eating animal products wasn't something we really discussed. Consuming animal products felt like part of our cultural heritage, being Italian and having a grandfather who was butcher. So it was definitely a change, a good change.

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Ruby Kromer

My name’s Ruby. I’m 18 years old, I live in Adelaide, Australia, and I have been vegan for about a year now. For my whole life, I have grown up eating a complete animal-based diet. I ate meat, milk, and eggs every single day in every single meal. I loved my KFC popcorn chicken, cheese pizza, and ice-cream. I would have never thought of giving up the foods that I loved and craved. If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be vegan, I would have laughed at you. I was always told that I needed meat for iron and protein and cow’s milk for calcium to keep my bones strong and healthy. I didn’t question it because of the “facts” supported by dietitians and doctors. 

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Sophia Hamblen

I was 9 years old when I was first invited to work on the dairy farm located on the outskirts of my grandparent’s rural property in Lake Alexandrina, Australia. The 200-cow dairy farm was owned by a neighbouring family and, although considered small on the scale of conventional farming, was seen as nothing but huge through my young eyes. From stray cats and their dog tormentors to Mary the sheep and her feathered chook companions, the farm was what I perceived to be a place of sanctuary for all walks of life, including myself. It was this odd yet perfect combination of people and animals that really drew me into the idea of farm life and allowed this little piece of country Australia to become my home away from home.

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Claire HoweComment
Cami Hoffman

Awareness, in my opinion, is the genesis of change. When I think of causes that inspire me, my internal compass tends to drift toward the wonderful world of animals. There’s an inexplicable romance to be found in peacefully interacting with another species. Causes relating to the lives of our fellow nonhuman earthlings and the state of our planet are deeply etched into who I am, and they are constantly shaping who I am becoming.

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Melissa Patterson

I once considered myself an Animal Rights Activist, but no longer care to. I feel betrayed and resentful toward the movement that, as a young person, I invested so much faith and passion in. Protecting and creating fair welfare standards for animals is vital, and there are so many substantial reasons to care for and protect animals from the often evil nature of humankind. But the perpetual willingness to throw anyone and everyone under the bus in order to achieve questionable improvements for animals is such an unfortunate habit within the movement. 

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Rachel Sklenicka

At this point in my life, I would consider myself to be an ethical vegan -- my main motivation being the animals -- but it wasn’t always that way. It all started when I was a lot younger. I was around the age of seven or eight, and I had been spending time with my sister and one of our friends, who were both vegetarian, while I was not. My family had recently decided to make the change to vegetarianism, but I just wasn’t ready to make what I felt was a big change. I have always been a picky eater, and at the time, I thought it would be too hard to give up one of the things I loved to eat: chicken.

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Maggie Salter

I went to my first vigil over the summer where we were bearing witness to cows on their way to slaughter. There were a lot of things going through my head that day - so many things I wanted to do - but as soon as that first truck heading to the slaughterhouse stopped, all I can remember was watching all these activists, with the best intentions, run up to the truck, trying to get up to the front to take pictures and videos. To my disbelief, it actually began to remind me of a zoo. I know these pictures and videos were to document the animals’ suffering, the hands poking through the bars were all intended to show compassion, and all the tears shed were out of love, but these animals had already been through so much, and they’ve only known the worst in humans. So, isn’t it reasonable to believe they’d be afraid of us?

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Macy Jenks

I was raised vegetarian. My mom went vegetarian 15 years prior to me being born because she felt she could not eat a dead animal after learning about the torture they endure on factory farms. My father ate meat, but he wanted me to be raised vegetarian because it was healthier. They agreed that I would be vegetarian; however, they decided to avoid telling me about the violence towards animals. That caused me to never know why I was not eating meat. Despite their neutral approach, I did eventually figure out why. When I was nine, I attended a week-long farm camp. We planted food, performed farm chores, and played games. It was mediocre at best; however, on the final day of camp, we all got loaded onto a school bus and taken to another farm. This farm was much more exciting. It had animals!

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