The Vegetarian Resource Group 2021 Essay Contest for Kids Winner

Go Vegan! by Liv Byham

You’re in the same dark and crowded
room you’ve been in since you were born, 6 years ago. You’re being pushed into
a truck. You see sunlight for the first time, through the windows of the truck.
Are you being freed? You find out the ugly truth when you are forced out of the
truck and into… the slaughterhouse. You are beaten into a small cage. Watching
your friends be beaten, thrown, or stabbed to death. You choke on toxic air as
you kick and scream until death. Sadly, this is what happens every time you
have bacon, ham, pork, or ribs. Each time you are causing the suffering of an
innocent animal. And that’s only what happens to pigs. Going vegan is easy and
worth it for the suffering you don’t cause.

I learned the truth three years ago when I went vegan. I was a big meat
eater but also considered myself an animal lover. My older sister and mom went
vegan and tried to force me to watch documentaries of the slaughtering of
animals. I refused. One night, after a dinner through them talking about
suffering, I had a dream. I had to face each animal I had eaten. I heard the
screams of “why?” “Why would you put us through that?” They wanted to kill me.
They wanted to show me how much suffering I had really caused. 

That morning I went from your regular chicken nugget lover, to a full
vegan. The transition can be weird but pretty soon I no longer looked at the
animal products as food I was missing out on but instead an animal who has to
suffer for that bite. I was picky too. I didn’t even like French fries! And for
pizza I had to get it with no sauce. But when I went vegan I ended up not
limiting the foods I liked to eat but I expanded. I tried new things and really
liked them. 

If ten-year-old me can go vegan so can you! Some may say that a vegan
diet is expensive but it doesn’t have to be. A can of chickpeas can cost a
dollar while a dead chicken can cost 4-20 dollars! Even restaurants are moving
towards cheaper vegan meals. At Chipotle the sofritas cost the same as chicken
and are cheaper than steak. Also tofu and beans can last longer than meat so
you can worry less about it going bad. So why are you still eating expensive
animal corpses when you can be eating cheaper, healthier food that comes from
plants? Now is the best time too! With the pandemic you don’t have to worry as
much about people judging you and there’s a vegan version of everything so you
don’t even have to give up some of your favorite foods.

Being vegan has tons of benefits other than cost. Animal agriculture
produces more greenhouse gasses than all travel put together. The decision to
go vegan could be the decision of the next generation having a future or not.
And as for the animals their decision is already made. They don’t get a say if
they want to be food or not. If COVID has taught us anything it’s how it feels
to be locked up or have loved ones taking away. The animals live this way their
whole lives only to be brutally killed. Cows have best friends too that are
stressed when apart. Pigs are just as smart as dogs and would respond to their
name being called. Cows are forced into pregnancy and then have their child
ripped away from them right after birth. Only so we can drink the milk that was
meant for the baby. Male chicks are grinded alive because they are useless to
the industry. The animals suffer and the planet is dying all so you can have
that one bite.

So why are you paying money to kill our planet and make animals suffer?
Does it really taste that different from the alternatives? Is all the cruelty
that you cause that worth it? That’s your decision. You can keep eating that
overpriced animal corpse cause it’s only going to cost us the future of the
planet, a life of suffering and a brutal murder. Or you could just go vegan.