I first learnt what it was to be a vegetarian the same way I’ve learnt so many valuable life lessons – via an episode of The Simpsons.
You know the one: ‘Lisa The Vegetarian’, where Lisa visits a petting zoo, and falls in love with a little lamb.
Later that evening she can’t shake the feeling that maybe the meat their family consumed that night wasn’t that far removed from that sweet baby lamb, and she vows to stop eating meat (and hangs out with Paul and Linda McCartney on the way. Relatable).
Her revelation was an important one to me and many others, because it’s hard to argue that she’s not right; what was the difference in my own mind between a frolicking sheep, cow or pig in a petting zoo, and the ones I was happy to eat in a burger?
The more I mulled over it as a child, the more it seemed that if I was going to enjoy the company of cats and dogs, admire gorgeous native animals in the wild, and watch cute videos of monkeys on the internet, I wanted to extend that respect to all creatures no matter what their species.
When I turned 17 and was in my final year of high school, something clicked.
‘I’m autonomous now, I can cook my own food, and I don’t want to eat animals any more’. That was 13 years ago. I’m proud of being a vegetarian (as someone who liked eating meat, I felt like I’ve made a few sacrifices over the years) and have learnt so much along the way.
It’s something that Animals Australia believes too; that all animals are worthy of kindness and compassion, encouraging us to think differently about the beauty and sentience of farmed animals.
Here are 4 lessons I’ve learnt being a vegetarian, which I think is the best personal choice I’ve ever made.