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'I'll stop saying I don't eat meat - and I'll tell people I don't eat animals': what I'll do differently in 2023 | Veganism

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I think I never made a New Year’s resolution. But this year, I’m going to stop telling people that I don’t eat meat. It’s not that I eat meat – I don’t. The thing is, when I tell people I don’t eat meat, I say it out of politeness. I use this form of words because I don’t want to offend people. So from now on, I’m going to be more honest. I’m just gonna tell people I don’t eat animals.

I was nine years old when I decided to stop eating animals. My twin sister and I were the only black kids in school. I experienced racism inside and outside of the classroom, so in the playground I often found myself sitting in the corner talking to the local cats. When the cats were gone, I talked to the birds and the bees. Surprisingly, I have never encountered a racist animal. Some were nervous when they first approached me, some made a few visits before getting closer, but it never took long for us to establish a connection. Then we would just hang out together.

Although I wanted to stop eating animals at the time, I was “fed up” with chunks (which I ate with great reluctance) until I was 11 years old. vegetarian. That’s when I felt like I could put my foot down and express myself. My mom thought it was just a phase I was going through, until I became a vegan at 13, and I have never looked back since. So I really don’t remember the taste of the meat.

The meat itself is not my main concern. I think going vegan for health reasons is great. There are also valid and pressing environmental reasons for going vegan. A plant-based diet can reduce these dreaded emissions by up to 70%, and it’s not just greenhouse gas emissions. I’m talking about other bad guys, like those horrible acidifiers and eutrophying emissions that we get from intensive farming practices. Worldwide, more and more people are going vegan, and if everyone decided to adopt a plant-based diet, we could save about 75% of the world’s agricultural land.

But for me, it’s simpler than that. I’m vegan because I love animals. I feel like I’m not telling everything by saying that I don’t eat meat. I have issues with the smell of this one. This may be due to personal trauma. One night in the late 1980s, as I was walking through Beirut, then said to be the most dangerous city in the world, I came across a pile of burning bodies. I will never forget the stench. Now, every time I smell animals being cooked, I get flashbacks to that terrifying night.

When I stopped eating animals, I told my mother that I didn’t eat my friends. When I was growing up, someone told me that George Bernard Shaw said that long before me. A wise woman once said, “I don’t eat anything with a face” and a Jamaican friend of mine recently said, “I don’t eat anything with a donkey”. I really don’t mean to offend animal eaters for fun. I just want to be more honest about how I use words. I am not an animal lover. I am an animal lover. I don’t choose certain animals that I find cute and lovable so I can pet them while watching TV on the couch.

I don’t even really have a favorite animal. I don’t think animals are there for my entertainment or to make me feel better. When I look into an animal’s eyes, I don’t just see its soul, I also see a sentient being that might have similar concerns to mine. Like the need for food, shelter and comfort, not to mention love. So even though the meat industry had no impact on the environment, and my health was guaranteed no matter what I ate, I still couldn’t eat animals.

I decided once that I would never ask people if they were okay unless I really meant it, and I was willing to listen and help if they weren’t. A long time ago, I decided never to tell people to keep in touch if I didn’t really mean it. I won’t even tell people it’s good to see them, if I don’t mean it. I just want my interactions with people to be authentic. I don’t know anything about meat. I don’t stay in bed at night thinking about meat. So, from next year, I will tell people the truth. I don’t eat animals. But I won’t tell you, because now you know.

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