Why I went vegan, by Keely Thurecht
When we interviewed Brisbane-based model Keely Thurecht recently, she mentioned how she changed from being a BLT, milk and ice cream lover to being a fully committed vegan. We asked her to tell us more:
“Vegans live up to 15 years longer cause we’re not invited to anywhere fun or dangerous. So… we sit at home crying and drinking, careful not to cry into the drink because tears are a product of animal suffering,” Myq Kaplan, Vegan comedian.
I have a problem with animal treatment in the big factory farms. The thing is that, not too long ago – just a few hundred years, factory farms didn’t even exist. It was the Industrial Revolution that kickstarted the whole thing, and capitalism that said, “Let’s make as much money as we possibly can. Chuck as many creatures into the smallest possible space possible. Then shut the door so we don’t have to see how not being able to move and stuff makes them suffer”. That, right there, is why I’m making the shift into veganism.
So many people today are so far removed from the process of where food comes from. I swear people are like, “If it comes from a supermarket, it must be good to eat.” Ha – as if supermarkets care about morals or wellbeing. They’re just trying to make as much money as they can. Um, Rollups anyone? What are they even made of? Sugar and plastic? Back in the day, if you wanted meat you went out with a bow and arrow, hunted it down and hacked it up yourself. In my book if you’re willing to do that (kindly and quickly) then go ahead. However, personally if I’m not willing to kill and dismember a sausage dog I don’t think I could do it to a cow either.
Ok, you might say, ‘I see where you’re coming from Keely, I’ll ditch the meat’. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but you really can’t untangle the meat industry from the dairy industry. Think about how you get milk from an animal. During and post pregnancy. In order to get milk from a cow the cow must be pregnant. As you can imagine it becomes a cycle of insemination, pregnancy, birth, and repeat. When the cow can’t get pregnant anymore it becomes a hamburger. Basically the cow is kept perpetually pregnant so it can keep giving milk. Then there are the calves. What do you think happens to them?
What I’m getting at is that I’m pro-knowledge. I want people to be aware of what goes into their bodies, where food comes from, and what consequences their actions have. This doesn’t just concern animal products either. I could go on and on about genetically modified organisms, chemicals, and how food is produced (think slave labour).
Every step towards awareness is a positive step. Even if you don’t feel like going veg is for you (totally understandable) try and make compassionate decisions some of the time. Instead of eating a bucketload of cheese, eat a teacup load. If you’re looking at a menu and tossing up between steak and and pumpkin gnocchi, go the gnocchi. I’m not saying everyone should overhaul their lives, just make small conscientious choices when you can.
For me, the transition to a vegan lifestyle didn’t happen overnight and even now still hasn’t reached a point where I can say “Ok, I’m done, I am now 110% living a vegan lifestyle”. I began slowly. First went the meat, then the dairy, and then the eggs. As for clothing and beauty products, well, that’s still an ongoing process for me. These days I no longer buy clothes or makeup that aren’t animal friendly, but at the same time I don’t feel it’s right to throw out items I’ve had since pre-vegan days. I feel that would be a waste of the animals’ suffering. After all, what I’m doing by being vegan is eliminating the demand for animal products.
Being vegan is about doing my utmost to respect the lives of other creatures. I do my best, even though it may not be perfect, to avoid doing things that put another creature in harm’s way for my own benefit, whether that means death or suffering or being forced into unnatural conditions.
Some questions I’ve been asked about what I choose to stuff my face with:
Do you mind if people eat meat in front of you?
Not at all! Where you eat your meat doesn’t make any difference to me. Whether you’re eating the meat in front of me, or sneaking bites when you think I’m not looking, it’s having the same effect on the world.
Where do you get your protein? How are you still alive?
Ah the protein query. Carnivores and omnivores always have this smug look when they ask this one – as if they know they’ve got me and I’m going to break down and admit that a vegan diet is impossible. There seems to be a misconception amongst people that meat is the only source of protein. In fact just about every plant-based food has protein. How do you think gorillas got so big and strong? My personal favourites are edamame, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
Will you eat at a non-vegetarian restaurant?
Most definitely. More and more restaurants are providing vegetarian and vegan options. By going along and ordering them I feel that I’m adding to the demand for the options and showing the restaurant that their decision to offer animal-friendly options is appreciated!
Aren’t humans made to eat meat?
Carnivores have natural hunting skills like night vision, speed, and agility to catch a wild animal with their bare hands, hooves, or paws. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m not capable of that.
Do you care about the environment because you’re a vegan?
I eat the environment. It’s made of vegetables.
If all I’ve just said still hasn’t phased you, look at it this way – not eating meat leaves more room for dessert. ‘Nuff said.
Words by Keely Thurecht.