Shortly before I became vegan, I made the connection between farm animals and the meat I consumed. There is a woodland walk my family and I often go on that passes pig pens and people like to feed the pigs. Before we leave the house, we gather food scraps, including banana skins, apple cores and carrot peelings. Feeding the pigs is one of the highlights of our walk!
The first time we went on this walk, I was alarmed at how noisy and large the pig was in the first pen and thought he was going to charge through the electric fence! We passed another pen with two pigs and I enjoyed watching how excited they were when they heard us coming. I learned to keep some food back in case we passed more pigs further on because any food you give them is quickly demolished!
Another day, we passed a pen with three pigs and shared the food between them by throwing it different ways. At one point, two of the pigs fought over the same piece of food and the larger pig bit the smaller pig’s face, causing it to shriek in pain and raise its trotter to its bleeding head! I found this upsetting and cared about how the pig was feeling. This was the first time I stopped to think about animals feeling pain and eating meat because I had seen it first-hand.
One time we were lucky enough to see a pen full of tiny piglets! They were adorable and drawing attention from passers by. I felt so much joy feeding them and I remember thinking at the time: “How can I eat you?” From then on, I knew I had a conscience and it didn’t feel right to enjoy feeding pigs, yet eat pork.
I’m grateful for spending time feeding these pigs because they helped me give up eating meat. I have been meat free since May 2017, which I am really proud of. When I go grocery shopping, meat no longer looks like food to me and I automatically walk past it.
Once you face the reality that an animal has to be killed for your food, it changes you. The taste of meat no longer matters when you ‘meat’ your conscience.