No appetite for suffering lead to vegetarian diet

By: Lexi Sheeley

So, why am I a vegetarian? It’s pretty obvious as to why I am, but where did this all begin? When did I realize my appetite for meat wasn’t more important than an animal’s suffering? It all started as a child, and it led me into a lifestyle trying to limit animal abuse.

Living in a home with plenty of animals to keep me company, I developed such great feelings for any creature with fur and a set of lungs. Growing up, I had two dogs, four cats, a bunny, two guinea pigs and so many fish I’ve lost count. Sure, they’re a handful, but with the ones still alive to this day, I’ve set my heart on loving them and rescuing many others.

My dad’s a hunter, and I never really understood all the aspects of it. He’d come home with bags of meat, and for all I knew, he had gone to the meat packing plants and bought it all. I didn’t realize he paid for the slaughter of a cow. I also didn’t realize the deer meat he brought home was due to the retched smell of death lingering on his clothing.

He also likes to fish, and he’d bring home buckets of fish, which he cleaned in the basement until one day I walked in on him bringing a blade down against the fish’s flesh. Fish are different than mammals, that’s true. Yet, from a young age, I treasured all life.

I remember running down the stairs to see him after he was gone for the whole day on a fishing trip. I’d gone with him before plenty of times, but we always let the fish go back into the lake. The smell was horrendous, and the visual of seeing fish skin and blood covering tables in the basement made me sick to my stomach. Screaming, I was worried about the fish laid out on the table in front of my dad, and I threw a fit.

For what it’s worth, my dad had to explain to me the fish were already dead because I thought he was hurting them. To this day, I haven’t gone fishing, and I still get upset with him bringing dead fish home. I see this as playing God among these creatures, and at a young age it never sat right with me.

Along with this fish incident, I remember a time when my dad and I were following one of his friends out to his farm so they could skin a deer. I was still relatively young, so I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but I knew there would be farm animals out there, and I completely forgot about the deer. I had fallen asleep in the backseat due to the never ending drive from the woods back into town, and I remember sitting up and seeing a dead deer tied to the back of a pick up.

Long story short, I screamed and screamed until I had cried myself to sleep. I woke up that afternoon terrified that my pets’ lives were at risk. At this point, I learned my dad killed innocent animals, and I took all my pets and locked them in my room with me. I promised to keep them safe from the scary man, and since then I’ve loved animals unconditionally. To this day, I hate hunting. And although there are plenty of reasons as to why it’s a positive thing, it weighs my heart down.

As I got older, I realized no one eats house pets. So why do we eat other animals? Why do we get to end their lives, while other four-legged creatures live within safety of our homes?

I tried being a vegetarian plenty of times, but I could never make it past a week. Yet, seven months ago I found the will to forever stop eating meat. My mindset might be weird, but it’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing.

Now that I see things through a perspective I never had, in my opinion, killing a once lively animal for our consumption churns my stomach, and knowing that the slab of meat sitting in front of me was once a beautiful creature breaks my heart.

I don’t like knowing their sole existence leads up to a slaughter. From the time many of those animals are born until the end, they never got a chance to live. Like us, I believe animals feel and love the way we do, and it’s breaks my heart knowing we’re responsible for their suffering.

I know many people can argue they don’t feel like we do or that slaughterhouses are a way to limit overpopulation, but that doesn’t make any of it right. No, I’m not judging or degrading people who eat meat, or those involved in the killings, but I want to be a voice for these animals.

This is something so important to me, and it’s never been right to subject animals to pain in any setting. To me, cruelty is cruelty, and there’s no explanation that will ever make it right.

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