When I'm bored on Reddit, I'll sometimes click RANDOM to discover a new subreddit, then I'll sort by top of all time. I generally look at the top 5 links or so before moving on. Yesterday, I was eating a ham and Swiss sandwich for lunch when I discovered r/vegan. To paraphrase some of the comments I saw, “The meat you buy from the store comes from an animal that lived in squalor and died in terror.” “If watching the videos disgusts you, how do you think the animals felt?” “The meat you're eating comes from a long line of rape, forced impregnation, and death.” “You should see where your food comes from.” This last argument is the one that swayed me to watch the videos. It's such a reasonable assertion that I felt compelled to accept the challenge.
The first video I saw showed hundreds of pigs in an enclosed warehouse screaming in agony as the ventilation was turned off and heated steam was pumped in. The similarities to the gas chambers inside of concentration camps was glaringly obvious. The pain and terror in their screams was undeniable, and it sounded damn near human. “These animals are screaming because it hurts, and they're afraid to die.” This thought percolated unbidden to the front of my psyche, and I felt a change within myself as my perspective shifted. I saw the animals not as excess livestock being culled, but rather as living beings – suffering, screaming, and dying by the hundreds as they fought desperately to stay alive. I cannot express to you just how much I did not want this abrupt perspective change to happen. I had been perfectly happy with my dietary choices mere minutes ago, but now, there was a Big Problem.
I put my sandwich down as I felt a wave a nausea roil my stomach. One thought continued to repeat inside my mind as the seconds ticked by. “This is wrong.” The simplicity and truth of the statement was utterly devastating. It left no wiggle room nor opportunity for debate. This is wrong. Three simple words, yet so powerful. How could the mass torture and execution of living animals be anything but wrong?
When I woke up yesterday, I did not want to be vegetarian or vegan. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind. By the time the second video ended, I wanted to vomit because I had meat and cheese inside my stomach. I don't feel as if I've chosen veganism so much as the alternative became almost instantaneously revolting, nauseating, disgusting, and wildly unpalatable.
In summation, for anyone considering veganism, I suggest that you avoid converting mid-sandwich.