I’ve been a vegan for five years and an activist for animal rights for four years and a half. On March 21st 2013 I have participated in the branding of the Movement 269. The number 269 was branded on my arm, same as they do to animals in farms. They do not have a name, they have their ID number attached to the ear and it is burned into their flesh. I decided to brand myself as a sign of solidarity with their suffering and to increase the awareness of what the animals are experiencing. I of course sympathize with the movement: there is no room for compromise on freeing animals and there is no such a thing as a “moral way” to exploit, enslave and murder innocents. Everyone is so shocked with my branding. I remind them that what they eat comes from such a place where animals are treated like that but with a huge difference – this is their whole life, not just a small part of it. They did not have a choice. They were born only because someone was interested in their meat, milk and eggs. I was branded so people won’t be able to continue to ignore animals’ suffering, and it is really not possible to remain indifferent to such an act. As a vegan chef, pastry maker and student for nutrition, I constantly encounter situations where there is a need to choose between taste, texture and healthier recipe. Sometimes combining them is very simple and can upgrade the taste of the dishes, but sometimes it is a difficult challenge.
Avi / Cauliflower
The most difficult conflict about being vegan is to see people you cherish and love with their eyes closed, refusing to acknowledge what is a huge scream for you, and to continue to act normal with them.
Dana / Pumpkin
For me, the real issue about being a vegan is not the food. There is everything from plants and nothing is missing. The real difficulty in being a vegan is to discover the harsh reality and to deal with indifference and cruelty of the mankind. You feel like you are living in a nightmare, in a horror movie, when people around you are stroking an animal while eating another one from their plate.
Rani / Watermelon
I have no conflict.
Nadav / Carrot
Death is in a dish across the table, among my friends, my family, and the love of my life. Who are you, my beloved? How come you do not mind the suffering, even now when your heads are no longer stuck in the sands?
Maria / Ginger
Over the years I have surrounded myself with vegan friends, with community, and I have started to be active. But when I leave the “vegan bubble” and meet with people who seem to be caring, loving and smart, when we embrace, laugh and talk – that is when I’m experiencing the contradiction of the hard reality: those people, people I love, take money out of their own pockets to pay for the holocaust of animals. I don´t know how to deal with it, especially when it comes to my mother. I feel like shouting: why?! I’ve heard all the answers, without logic or compassion. That is why the transition to veganism and struggle against exploitation and enslavement of animals are the most significant values in my life. I thank everyday that my eyes have opened.
Daniel / Onion
Transition to veganism is a personal act and a statement about our society. Being vegan says something to others even when I don’t speak. When I don´t eat animals, others feel criticized for eating animals.. I took responsibility for my actions and I stopped eating animals. I also took on a struggle. With words and deeds and even silence. For me, veganism is a personal decision and struggle. In the fight against conventions and old habits there is a conflict with the environment. I live in this conflict in love. This fight will win. It’s already starting to win.
I find difficult that everyone but me is eating meat and that there is not much to eat at parties and events.
My conflict is with my surrounding, my friends, and people I work with… I cannot explain them why I have chosen to be a vegan. In their eyes, it is not a logical or a normal choice. “What’s left for you to eat?” they ask … It’s hard for my friends to understand that a “Moroccan” choose to be vegan. It doesn´t make a sense to them. For me it is a natural and wonderful choice. I love being vegan and I completely stand behind my decision.
I have always loved animals but I never made connection between what appears on my plate and what needs to happen to in order to make it. Gary Yourofsky’s lecture helped me to open my eyes and I started to go deeper into the subject and explored more. I decided to dedicate myself every second of every minute of every hour to help these poor creatures who cannot defend themselves. I believe that together can we make a difference.
I do not want to eat animal products because it appalls me when people refer to animals as products. Food for me is a social and culture thing. It is sometimes difficult to deal with the separateness or distance caused by veganism. And it is most difficult to get into a discussion with someone and experience absolute indifference, sometimes even rudeness. So although I want to make people to be aware, sometimes I rather do not talk about it at all.
As a vegan and a religious the main conflict for me was whether to eat meat on Shabbat or not. Jewish law has no problem with being a vegan, but after an investigation and understanding of the subject I decided to still eat a little meat on Shabbat dinner.