I was in Brooklyn performing for a restaurant for an outdoor event. After my gig I went inside to pack up. The next band started playing outside and as I looked out the window I saw a truck parking on the street. A man opened the truck door and started throwing full-bodied slaughtered lambs into a shopping cart. There must have been a 100 skinned lambs being taken out of the truck. The man casually wheeled the shopping cart into a Halal meat market. This was in broad daylight. People were walking by, walking their dogs, mothers with their children, stopping to listen to the music and glance at the lambs. Some people walking by stopped in disbelief but continued to walk on.
As I looked at these lambs I was able to see their eyes and I knew that no one heard their last cries. I immediately began filming what I saw. The owner of the store tried to stop me. I asked him how he could do this? These lambs are brothers, sisters, fathers, daughters, and mothers just like you and me. He proclaimed that “God put these animals on the earth for us to eat.” I am not a religious person but I explained my views that all salient beings are equal and should be treated with respect and autonomy—just as he would want to be treated. My heart was very heavy for those lambs that day and I had no illusions that my words could change the situation. But I spoke up for what I believed was right.
I cannot convince people know to stop eating animal flesh and animal excretions and live a plant-based life for moral and ethical reasons but I can plant the seed—no pun intended—by sharing my viewpoint. Fortunately, many of my friends and family have an open mind and have been curious about my change to veganism. For me, my path is to reach people anyway I can if they are willing to listen, from the nutritional, environmental, or humanitarian angle. It’s a start.
This event with the lambs, like many other atrocities I have viewed by the media, has furthered my commitment to helping animals. Being vegan was just the first step. I had no idea how I was going to do it but I had a willingness to. At first I thought it would be too hard to give up the diet I had been eating my entire life. How would I go to restaurants, friends’ houses for dinner, and travel? Where would I buy these products? But it was after watching Cowspiracy and then being introduced to Colleen Patrick Goudreau‘s 30 Day Vegan Challenge that I became educated.
Being vegan has actually opened up my food options and alleviated my digestive symptoms. I feel more balanced and whole and I am highly active. I get all the nutrition and energy I need from eating grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, seiten, vegetables and fruit. When I go to non-vegan restaurants they are willing to accommodate my requests and there are plenty of vegan options at Trader Joes, Fairway and Whole Foods.
I read that vegans save 198 animals per year. Today there is no going back and I cannot disassociate the living beings from the food on my plate. I stand up for what I believe in and I show my commitment on a daily basis by the choices of food that I eat.