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.
Shortly thereafter, my older sister went vegan, and although I spoke to her regularly about veganism, I didn't go vegan until I was 13. I still remember the day; I woke up and sneakily cut myself some non-vegan cheesecake, took a bite, and felt awful about it. From then on, I was vegan. It was difficult at first being young and making this decision because my parents were concerned about how it would affect my growth as a teen. It was difficult for my sister as well because my parents put a lot of the responsibility on her for me being vegan. I was lucky though; my parents were supportive and helped me research new foods, nutritional needs, and encouraged me to have regular blood tests.
I think what impacted me the most was learning about the fundamentals of animal rights and the property status that is on all animals. Reading about the abolitionist approach to animal rights was definitely a big factor in going vegan and changing my mindset. This moral shift meant that going vegan was my only option.
It's been over four years now, and during that time, veganism has been a core value in my life and has been pivotal in developing my personal and cultural awareness. I enjoy face-to-face conversing as activism, things like holding an animal rights discussion group in high school and doing vegan education stalls in the city. I enjoy being able to talk freely to others and letting them guide the conversation and questions asked. I'm excited to be part of The Raven Corps, to increase my scope of peaceful activism, and work with a passionate team to do this.