My name is Natalia and I half Peruvian/German and Czech. I am a 21 year old from Sydney doing a bachelor of International and Global Studies, majoring in sociology. A bit ironic studying humans when I am more interested in studying animals but anyway. I became a vegetarian when I was 16, it was a very stereotypical epiphany I had. I became aware of animal testing for cosmetics and as much as I had loved wearing Chanel lipsticks and YSL concealer, I simply could not understand why on earth they would use animals for something as trivial and superficial as make-up and why on earth nobody knew about it. I immediately started boycotting brands that used animal testing and animal products. But the thought of animal exploitation couldn’t leave my head, and I made the decision to stop eating meat.
Fast track 4 and a half years and I made a decision to start learning about animal agriculture, the meat and livestock industry, and the agricultural policies in Australia and around the world. I have to say it is the most depressing and frustrating topic I have come across yet because-in the most simple terms-it is truly horrific, scarring and barbaric in its purest form. I then watched the award-winning documentary Earthlings, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, and that was it! I decided to be a vegan. I am well aware of the fact that veganism is a non-violent and passive choice that does not have a very profound effect on the animal liberation movement, but that is only because the vegan population only make up 1-2% of the population in most countries and governments subsidise any deficits in animal agriculture.
I’ve realised every vegan is different and you now have to make your views very clear because social dogma depicts vegans as fanatic PETA activists, tree huggers and irrational hippies.
So, to sum up my views:
- No I do not think it is unnatural for humans to eat, but I think mass-confinement facilities, factory farms, mega-industrial plants etc are unnatural and morally wrong on an ethical, environmental, and political level.
- I do not think animals are more important than humans or the other way around. I see animal exploitation as an injustice, and justice is not a finite commodity. We should rectify injustices where we can, as Matthew Scully states, “it is no excuse to say that more important wrongs are done to human beings, and let us concentrate on those. A wrong is a wrong, and often the little ones, when they are shrugged off as nothing, spread and do the gravest harm to ourselves and others”.
- I do not believe in genuine free range farming for meat, firstly, because all animals end up in the same slaughterhouse, and secondly, I do not believe that it is ethical to commodify a life.
- I do not think I am better than other people because I am a vegan. I think I am more educated about animal and environmental politics and climate change. That does not make me special, because if you reading this right now you have a computer and access to the internet, and you can find the same information I have.
- No I do not believe everybody can be vegan because there are important issues to consider like food deserts, poverty, medical conditions etc. But I do believe that one day you might not have the choice as the cost of grains like soy and corn is dramatically increasing for biofuels, feed for livestock and human consumption. This means that the cost of meat will increase in order to balance the supply/demand because the earth simply does not have the resources to feed the world a Western diet. As even Dennis Avery, a factory farm enthusiast, states the industry cannot meet future demands because of environment shortcomings.
- I am very militant when it comes to fur, it is an absolute no no from me. Fashion and iconography are not practical reasons to perpetuate the fur trade. I do not believe in wearing leather for environmental reasons, I will also add that plastic leather is also detrimental to the environment. In saying that, I believe in recycling and therefore wearing vintage shoes (leather or pleather) is the more ethical option. I do not wear wool because the standards for the trade in Australia are appalling.
- And finally I believe that if you are going to eat meat, you are obligated to know where it came from and how it came to you. Because if it is not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach?
Other than that I am not unlike most youth: I like music from the past, I also like some crappy music now, I like travelling to third world countries, my favourite food is Peruvian, I love pistachios, I like to buy vintage clothes or bohemian style clothing, I am a bit antisocial but tend to be a bit weird and crazy when I’m comfortable around people, and I couldn’t live without my my dogs!