FEATURE: Amanda Carney

Carnivore No More

Just six months ago you might have seen me chowing down on a chicken sandwich - my favorite meal at the time. I’m originally from Nebraska. My father is a hunter, my mother likes her steak rare, and my diet growing up was mostly meat and potatoes. Looking back on it now, I was living inside of a meat popsicle, which can be considered the polar opposite to the so called “vegan bubble” that many herbivores find themselves living in today. It’s easy to become what you’re surrounded by. For me, I was and still am surrounded by carnivores, but something has changed in me. Something that’s hard for people in my meat popsicle to understand. I am coming out to the world as a vegan. So how did I get here? What was the turning point, the light bulb, the point of awakening? 

Unlike most life lessons and revelations, I can remember the exact moment when I decided to turn my back on animal byproducts. In the Winter of 2015 I was taking my usual path to work. I got off the D train at West 4th Street in Manhattan and proceeded up the crowded exit ramp. Something caught my attention. Posted on the wall right next to the ad for Gap jeans was a photo of a piglet and a puppy. The caption read “Why choose to love one and kill the other?” This was my light bulb. This is when I made the simple connection between farm animals and companion animals. The guilt began to set in and I wanted to know why I didn’t make the connection sooner. Have I somehow been living in a cult? A meat popsicle cult? Is this what it feels like to wake up from a coma or climb out from under a rock? I needed to know more. 

The first book I read on animal agriculture was Melanie Joy’s, Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows. These are the most basic and fundamental questions that most people living in America don’t know the answers to. It was an obvious choice to start my journey here. I didn’t know why I was obsessed with dogs and cats, but essentially paid someone to murder pigs, cows, and chickens on my behalf. I wanted to meet the animals that I had disregarded for so long. I wanted to introduce myself to the victims, so I packed my bags and headed to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. 

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