Background: My Zoological History
The most central and long-standing theme of my life has been the question of how we as human beings relate to other animals. I have been struggling with this question for as long as I can remember.
The roots of my concerns about animals can be traced all the way back to the time when I was an infant. Even before I had learned to walk or talk, I became extremely excited whenever I saw a dog, even if it was only a little speck in the distance. With most children, the parents vie for being the subject of their child’s first word, but neither of my parents stood a chance. My first word, of course, was not “ma-ma” or “da-da,” but “GOG!”, which in my mind stood for “dog.”
A turning point in the history of my relationship with other animals occurred when I was seven or eight years old and I chose to become vegetarian. I was suddenly aware of the fact that “meat” did not grow on trees, like apples. I realized that obtaining meat required the killing of an animal, one of the beings I loved so dearly. The decision I made that day, not to eat animals anymore, has transformed itself into one of the guiding forces of my life.
In Grade Eight, I decided that I wanted to do my Grade Twelve Project about vegetarianism. Around that time I began to read more vegetarian literature. Among other things, I read about the conditions in which dairy cows and battery-cage chickens are forced to live. It was then that I decided to become a “vegan” – someone who avoids using or consuming any animal products, and strives to live compassionately and justly with all creatures. Since then my interest and dedication to the cause of animal protection and vegetarianism have grown and deepened.
On December 10, 1996, when I was in Grade Nine, I put some of my thoughts on veganism together into what I called my “Vegan Manifesto.” It expressed my sorrow at the way we treat the animals we raise for food, and stated the need to share my message of boundless compassion with the world. I have dedicated myself to the cause of sharing this message and striving for justice, and shall continue to serve this cause faithfully. I hope that my message may reach the hearts and minds of my readers, so that they may take it up and make peace with it for themselves.