Born or Born Again Vegan

This is a bit of a no brainer (to my mind at least), but I firmly believe that all humans are born vegan and then educated or trained to eat animal products. I often quote the example given by Gary Yourofsky which goes something like “If you put a small child in a cot with an apple and a rabbit, which one will it eat and which one will it play with?” Gary follows this with “if you can get the child to eat the rabbit I’ll buy you a house, or a car, or something?” I know if I put my cat in a cot with a mouse and an apple what he would do. This to me says we are not natural carnivores or even naturally omnivores.

Imagine a utopia where children are born into an environment where everyone is vegan and animals are treated with the same respect that we offer each other. I can’t imagine this way of life would even be questioned in the way that we question the current status quo. I can’t quite see groups of carnivore activists protesting outside a greengrocers shop, carnivore outreach on the streets or Carnfest at London Olympia.

A large group of us did outreach in London on Saturday and afterwards all went for a pizza. I knew a few of the people there but not many and these events are always fantastic opportunities to meet new like-minded people. Inevitably when you talk to new people the conversation turns to “how long have you been vegan?” I’m sure you’ve all either asked or been asked the question. I’ve always answered this question honestly but (and I hate to say), I’m beginning to get a little uncomfortable about it and am considering making up a different, possibly more normal story.

Despite being born into a carnivorous family of six, I stopped eating all animal products at the age of four or five. This was my choice and was firmly against the wishes of my parents. I’ve always been very stubborn and I guess with three other children (all younger than me) to look after, eventually they just got on with it. Almost 50 years later, I’m still the same.

The problem is that when I tell people my story, they either think I’m making it up to appear a “better vegan” or they congratulate me on being such a wonderful human being. I am neither; I was simply able (lucky) that something switched in my brain a very young age. The truth is, veganism is the easiest thing in the world to me, I’m just doing what comes naturally, it’s like breathing and speaking English.

It must be so much harder for the majority who lived 15/20/30 or even more years under the conditioning that was forced upon them as children and somehow found the inner strength and courage to beat it. They are the ones who deserve the plaudits, they (you) are the heroes.

Veganism has nothing to do with time; it doesn’t matter if you found it (found yourself) last week or 50 years ago. I am no wiser than the next bloke, like I say, I just got lucky.

Nick Bean

Environmentalist, activist, writer and public speaker. Decided to "Go Vegan" at the age of four.

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