Hello Norwich Vegans,

I’m Carol-Mary, a relatively recent convert to Veganism may I tell you how it happened ?

I knew nothing of the livestock industry (none of my family had any connection with farming and my husband was a ” city boy.”) He was, however an animal lover, and so we went to see a movie called Babe about a wee pig- this was back in the nineties.

We had never been huge consumers of meat, but remembering Babe the pig who had thoughts and feelings, we were determined in future not to have any meat that wasn’t free-range: we thought by making this move we were doing the right thing. We were still ignorant of the real horrors of meat production and dairy farming.

Like many people I suppose we saw cattle in the field, and imagined they would eventually go to a clean and efficient abattoir where they would be quickly and humanely killed.

Fast forward ten years.

It was not until I started doing Philosophy that I had what you might call my Damascene Moment. I had my first exposure to the ideas of Peter Singer and Tom Regan, and from then on began to see things in a very different light.

Once I started to regard animals as being sentient creatures worthy of moral consideration in the same way we might regard humans with varying physical and cognitive attributes, I no longer wanted to eat them.

However, it did not occur to me that by consuming milk, cheese and eggs, I was still perpetuating harm to animals.

Then I delved more deeply into animal rights and discovered Gary Francione and Joel Marks. I began to uncover the whole picture. I got seriously into animal ethics, human-non-human interaction, the environmental impact of animal husbandry, and the fight against speciesim.

Veganism now informs every aspect of my lifestyle and , rather like born-again Christians, or holier-than-thou ex smokers ( ok I’m one of those, too-but I did give up 30 years ago), I wonder why everybody else hasn’t got the message too !

But here’s the thing it takes time, and it’s necessary for people to think about things they would rather not think about. I believe it would be a step in the right direction for schools to organise learning days at an animal sanctuary like Hillside, rather than outings to see some sanitised, carefully chosen “working farm” that gives a false impression of what really goes on in these animal death camps.

My husband died ten years ago; I like to think he would have accompanied me on this vegan journey. He was a great cook, and I’m sure would have come up with some fantastic vegan dishes.

I am a retired musician and composer, and in an even earlier life was a dancer. I am now concentrating on writing ( and putting the world to rights). You know what I look like but here are some pictures of my canine companions, Neansai and Oscar, who possess an elegance I do not.

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