So yes, I took the not uncommon path of being a vegetarian before a vegan. Actually, I will freely admit, I used to make fun of vegans. When explaining my new dietary choices to friends and relatives, I would often have to make a distinction between vegetarianism and veganism, often by saying something along the lines of, "Yes, I still eat cheese. I'm not a bloody hippie/crazy vegan/one of those people." I thought vegans were weird, over the top, fanatical. What the hell was wrong with eating honey? Cows need to be milked or their udders will get sore, etc. etc. I had no intention of cutting the deliciousness that is dairy products out of my diet. Those that know me best know I would happily survive on a diet of cheese, chocolate, icecream, pasta, bread, chocolate and cheese. Oh and some more cheese.
It wasn't until one day I was explaining myself yet again ("No, I'm not a crazy vegan, yes, I still have dairy") that my brother asked me if I was aware of bobby calves and the role they play in the dairy industry. "Look it up," he told me. I still remember discussing it with my partner before we did any research. We were holding off because we didn't know if we would like what we'd find. I knew one thing: I did not want to be a vegan. I just liked dairy way too much. But we knew that we were choosing to live in denial if we didn't enlighten ourselves. So, one day, I sat down at the computer and I typed 'bobby calves' into the search engine... and that was the beginning of the end of my vegetarianism. As much as I didn't want to cut food that tasted good out of my life, the truth was staring me in the face: there were so many more harmful processes that I was buying into.
In all honesty, becoming vegan was a gradual process for me, even after I knew everything I did about bees, chickens, cows and the industries related to their produce. My resolve grew as time passed... I know I would have become as strict as I am now (in other words, just plain vegan) eventually. But the two things that pushed me across the threshold? The China Study, and Earthlings.