The Turning Point: Why I Went Vegetarian

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On the 23rd of March I sat down in my BCM310 tutorial and watched exactly how Australian cattle in Indonesia are slaughtered (ABC’s “A Bloody Business”). I couldn’t stay for the second hour to watch the Blackfish documentary because it would have hurt me too much. I walked out of there with a promise to give up eating meat and so far, I haven’t broken it. My twin sister has been vegan for almost two years and constantly pressures the rest of my family to go vegan. I’d ignored her because I really like meat. Why would I give that up? But this video changed my mind completely. I was on the brink of tears. And I realised that despite how good meat tastes, I couldn’t be a willing party to the animal cruelty that exists in almost every animal-driven industry. The “open secret” of meat industries became too much to bear for me.

The motivation of giving up meat flagged during the first fortnight. I’d have late-night cravings for burgers, kebabs, chicken; basically all I wanted to eat when I was hungry was meat. Late-night cravings hit me so hard for the first month. My sister constantly shares videos about veganism on my Facebook timeline but all I had to do was think back to the single doco I’d watched to stay away from meat. It was hard though.

This topic ties back to humans in the media. The way we view animal welfare in the media isn’t taken seriously enough. Animals, inherently helpless and voiceless, need us to fight for their rights and lives. We can’t just spend a week outraged at Indonesian cattle abattoirs. We can’t give up bacon for the weekend and then give in to cravings. We need to lend animals our voices and our compassion to end the cruel treatment they endure every day of their lives. The benefits of giving up meat include helping the environment and keeping families together. It’s eye-opening to learn that animals are intelligent and compassionate beings. Their high cognition means that most will die scared. That is not the way I want any animal’s life to end.

6 thoughts on “The Turning Point: Why I Went Vegetarian

  1. rl94 11th May 2015 / 12:31 pm

    This is a great read, thank you for sharing your experiences on such a personal topic and choice. For me this post really highlights the power of the media as a catalyst for change and the opportunities it provides to inform and educate audiences. Well done!

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  2. pigeontoedtypewriter 11th May 2015 / 3:54 pm

    You’ve written a really heartfelt post here about the treatment of animals in the meat industry. I was already vegetarian before the BCM310 lecture on the portrayal of animals in the media, but have since started lessening my intake of dairy and, where possible, trying to source ethical dairy and egg products. The way the four corners episode depicted animal treatment was horrendous, all the more so for it being completely real. You make an excellent point about the ethical treatment of animals being a long-term issue; it needs to be discussed and acted upon by governments rather than just attracting public outrage for a short-period of time. Great post!

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  3. Tyarne Parker 11th May 2015 / 7:55 pm

    Hi Alice,
    I wanted to start by saying that despite the nature of this topic, I really enjoyed reading your post. Even know I myself am not vegetarian, I feel like I connected with your experiences because of your obvious passion for animal rights which I also share.
    ABC’s documentary ‘A Bloody Business’ sickened me beyond measure, and for days after I couldn’t look at meat in the same way without feeling queasy. To be honest, I still really can’t. I really admire you strength and dedication to altering your lifestyle in order to improve the standards of living for animals, and I hope that one day I can also do the same.

    I also wanted to share a little constructive criticism with you that I feel would strengthen your argument for living a cruelty free lifestyle. I related to your post because I am studying the same issues within the course. I think that if an individual outside of the Communication and Media Studies field stumbled upon your blog, they may be intrigued to know more about the documentary itself, and the life changing aspects that were present in the film that ultimately pushed you to become a vegetarian. Because this issue is so powerful, I also think that your overall argument would be enhanced by providing a wider variety of visual stimulants. This is due to the fact that the representation of these graphic images and recordings played some part in your decision to live compassionately and I think by playing on the same idea, your post has a huge potential to encourage your audience to do the same.

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  4. taraoesterheld 12th May 2015 / 8:36 am

    hello, I am so glad I came across your post! I had been thinking about my meat consumption for a while now and that weeks topic really brought those feelings to the surface again. The video does make you think about all the animals that are grown for food, its crazy to think that people work in these places!
    I agree with Tyarne about more images helping your point, but all in all i enjoyed reading and hearing that other people were affected by the topic.
    I am currently cutting down on meat and it is easy sometimes as I think about the animals before I eat without even realising.

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  5. leeshen05 15th May 2015 / 12:55 pm

    I came in because you have a cute pig featured image! Just kidding! Just read your post and was so amazed with your determination! Same like how you were before, I love meat the most like nothing comes between me and meat when i want it! seeing you changing your diet to vegan is very inspiring even though its not enough for me to be a vegan yet because I don’t have anybody in the house who is vegan.

    Your point on speaking on behalf of the animals is actually a very good start. For instance, you brought up the idea of animal suffering from our demand of meat but I have to say animals suffering through research is actually a very serious issue to talk about too. The products we use especially some skin care and cosmetics products have to be tested and guess what? its not tested on human because there’s the human life involved so they end up testing it on animals, does it mean they don’t have life? Is their life not even valued to be consider a life? Animal have their animal rights too. Focusing on utilitarianism is not a fair for animals because they can’t voice out their opinion.

    It was a good read by the way, fostered me with the idea of animals suffering from another aspect.

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  6. daniellepeerscatt 15th May 2015 / 9:26 pm

    Hi there,
    This was an interesting read because of your real life response to something in the media, the fact that the documentary changed your behaviour is interesting because I know most people would be back to eating meat soon after, even if they swore they wouldn’t. It’s funny how one media item can be the turning point, I remember it was some sort of graphic image put out by an animal welfare group (that I can’t find anymore, and when I tried googling ‘piglet in frying pan peta” google suggested I meant “piglet in frying pan pita”, which is their idea of a joke I assume aha) that made me a vegetarian. But yeah, if you’re interested in continuing in being a veggo, it gets easier trust me

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