Why I Became a Vegetarian

Animals have always been a soft spot for me. I am that person that cries when an animal dies in a movie. I even avoid movies with a family pet or animal because I’m afraid they’re going to kill it off. My only exception is John Wick, because he avenges his dog! Sorry if I spoiled the movie for you. 🙂

I’ve always felt that my calling in this world was to help animals. The ENTIRE animal kingdom. I want to help our local cats and dogs that need homes, as well as the wild animals in Africa and elsewhere in the world being killed by poachers.

But why did I continue to eat burgers and chicken wings? Why didn’t I have the same compassion towards farm animals?

The truth is that I do have compassion for them, but at the time I just turned a blind eye to it as most of us do. Why? Because (insert your favorite meat here) is delicious and we can’t imagine not ever eating it again. We won’t have the will power to beat bacon. “I love bacon that’s why I can never be a vegetarian.” How many times have we said or heard someone say that?

We know the atrocities that happen to these poor animals before they end up on our plates. We’ve read the headlines, but never read the stories or watched the hidden camera videos because it’s too disturbing.

Until one night… I was up late surfing the net. I read the headline, “9,000 Animals Rescued From ‘Worst Torture Operation’ In The U.S.” I chose to ignore it and kept scrolling down. Nothing else peeked my interest so I scrolled back up. There was the headline again, staring right back at me. I clicked it.

I put my hand over the screen to not see any disturbing images. There was a video that I didn’t dare watch. I didn’t have to watch it because just reading a few lines of the article was enough to keep me up all night. I won’t describe what I read; I am sure you can imagine it. But what sticks out in my memory is that these “humans” were boiling pigs alive.

I spent the rest of the night praying for these poor animals, and I’m not a religious person. I told myself that all animals go to heaven. I even Googled, “do animals go to heaven?” I imagined them running and playing in a grassy field in heaven. I know it’s silly, but this is the extent of my love for animals. By the way, no one really knows if animals go to heaven, but I choose to believe that they do.

I’ve read stories about illegal slaughterhouses before, but there’s a reason why THIS article got to me how it did. This story was from my local news. This was happening in my backyard. Not literally, but it was happening in my city, in sunny Miami. I wondered how many local restaurants bought meat from this slaughterhouse. What if I ate at one of these restaurants? What if I unknowingly supported this “business?”

The next day I went to my parent’s house for dinner. My dad made white rice, salad, and chicken breast. I considered not eating it, but coming from a Latino household it is difficult turning down my parents’ food.

It is with great shame that I admit that after a sleepless night praying for animals, I ate chicken right the next day. I spent the rest of the day beating myself up over eating the chicken. I felt like a hypocrite.

Later that night I abruptly decided that I’ll never eat meat again. I remember I was at home sitting in the living room and I started feeling hungry. On the short walk from the living room to the kitchen I decided to become a vegetarian, cold turkey. I stood in front of the opened refrigerator, and although the refrigerator was full, I had absolutely nothing that I could eat. That was my first challenge.

I became a vegetarian in March 2015 and I have never looked back or even had a taste of meat again. Maybe except for the time that my mom accidentally gave me a potato salad with chicken in it. She says it was accidentally, but I think it was accidentally on purpose. 🙂

What motivated you to become a vegetarian? Did you watch a sad video that made you cry all night? Did you do it for health reasons? Did you ease into it or did you do it cold turkey? Please share your story below, it may serve as inspiration to another.

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