I’m really looking forward to introducing you to Kirsten who I follow on Instagram (@no_blood_no.tears)
Kirsten uses her account as a Vegan Activist and also shares graphic posts to share examples of animal cruelty within industries such as farming and fur.
I would like to advise reader discretion for this blog post. Kirsten shares her personal story with powerful experiences including descriptions of animal cruelty.
Once upon a time I ate meat, looking back (and it’s only been a little over 2 years ago), it seems the weirdest thing ever! How could I say I loved animals whilst eating them? How could I say I loved animals whilst wearing them? How could I say I loved animals whilst paying someone to abuse them? My greatest regret is not having done it sooner, but all vegans say that.
About two years before I went vegan I’d been following Joey Carbstrong, I watched his outreach debates with interest, everything he said made sense to me, but I still ate meat. I even recall using the line, “I could never be vegan meat tastes too good”, I was one of those people that thought they couldn’t live without bacon.. despite the fact I didn’t eat it that often!
Throughout 2019 I started to eat less meat, but it wasn’t really an ethical decision, I was leaning towards cutting out meat to improve health. I’d read How Not to Die by Dr Michael Gregor and started to try and make healthier plant based choices, but I only did it 50% of the time and if I’m honest I found it quite hard.
It was around this time that I learned the truth about dairy, how I made it to 49 years old without realising a cow had to be pregnant to produce milk, I don’t know! This really was a bit of a revelation, I honestly thought cows produced milk because they ate grass! I also learned that male cows born in to the dairy industry were useless and would be culled, however, even learning this truth it didn’t make me vegan.
I learned of all of the films I should watch – Dominion, Earthlings, Cowspiracy and Land of Hope and Glory… but I avoided watching them, I knew that if I watched them I wouldn’t be able to maintain my ignorance, how can you know and acknowledge what is happening and ignore it? So I didn’t watch.
Fast forward to November 2019, I watched Game Changers. Watching Game Changers really struck a chord with me, health wise it is a very powerful film, by the end of the film I was thinking I was going to switch to a plant based diet 80% of the time. This was my approach in planning my new diet for the next couple of days… then the weekend arrived…and I started having second thoughts (in a good way!), I thought why only 80:20.. why not 100%. I knew that focusing on health alone would not keep me focused.
So I put on my big girl pants and pressed play on Dominion. Dominion starts with a close up of a pig’s eye, this was the first time I looked into a pig’s eye and really saw them. Joaquin Phoenix’s haunting voice tells me how these animals are unseen, unheard, only livestock, faceless, their value determined only by their usefulness to humans. I started to cry, I pretty much didn’t stop throughout the whole film.
The film finishes stating, before we kill them, we have to breed them, confine and exploit them, for food, entertainment, clothing and research. Their entire lives from birth to death controlled by industries concerned with only profit. He, She, They, not It – There is no humane way to kill someone who wants to live.
I’d made the decision to be vegan by choosing to watch the film, after seeing how farmed animals are abused, beaten, mocked, kicked, ridiculed & killed I could only be vegan. After looking into a pig’s eyes and witnessing their pain, their fear, their sorrow there was no going back.
I then watched Earthlings, I am still broken by the images of the monkey used for head injury crash testing. Once you witness the terrible injustices we cause to animals you cannot forget and you cannot go on paying for it to happen.
The first thing I learned was that there are vegan margarines. I used to love toast & marmalade for breakfast, I remember my first morning as a vegan, looking at my dry toast and wondering what vegans put on it! I tried some almond butter, which wasn’t very nice… and then decided okay, I can live without toast… a few weeks, yes, weeks, later, I realised there was Flora and Vitalite spread.. and the absolute game changer Vegan Block vegan ‘butter’.
I also had the strange revelation a couple of days into my vegan life, that I couldn’t eat cheese! I honestly became vegan without thinking about cheese. But, I didn’t think to myself, oh this is too hard, cheese was no longer food to me, I discovered vegan cheese, I can now eat it cut straight off the block. Once you make the connection the things you used to eat are no longer considered food.
I realised that there was a huge amount of foods out there that are accidentally vegan, I think this is a big one, I remember picking up a biscuit at my sister’s house and she said you can’t eat that, I said I can, it’s already vegan.
Being vegan takes a little bit of research initially, which is why Veganuary and Challenge 22 are such great ideas, they email you daily tips, covering all aspects of a vegan life and great recipes to try.
Becoming vegan was eye opening in more ways than one, I became an instinctive cook, I followed recipes less, instead I started throwing things in a pan and seeing what happened. I discovered a new love for cooking and for eating. It is amazing how much better you feel once you no longer serve death on a plate.
Finally, the biggest thing I learned was I couldn’t just be vegan, I had to speak out for animals. I never intended to become a vegan activist, but really, how can you not, witnessing the fear & pain in an animals eyes for myself, I knew I couldn’t be silent.
So, are you against animal cruelty? I know it is hard to hear, but whilst you continue to eat meat, dairy and eggs, animal abuse will continue to happen in your name.
You can find Kirsten on Instagram : @no_blood_no.tears
Veganuary – https://veganuary.com/
Challenge 22 – https://challenge22.com/
Cowspiracy – https://www.cowspiracy.com/
Dominion – https://www.dominionmovement.com/watch
The Land Of Hope And Glory – https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/
Earthlings – https://www.nationearth.com/
The Game Changers (Netflix) – https://www.netflix.com/title/81157840
How Not To Die Book – https://drgreger.org/
Joey Carbstrong – https://www.joeycarbstrong.com/