This I Believe

Callie - Wylie, Texas
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Never allow anyone to tell you that your belief is wrong. Blind yourself to those who ridicule; whether they denote your belief to naivety or plain stupidity; never let anyone change your mind. Hold onto your beliefs and morals with pride.

I was raised to dictate my own beliefs and not let society choose them for me. From my youngest memories, I have been a “lover”. I can recall coming home from kindergarten in a fit of tears, devastated because a classmate was being made fun of. Cruelty – to people and animals alike, was something I never understood. I didn’t understand why the children were scorned; why the woman kicked the dog. I vowed that I would never let myself be the cause of someone else’s pain.

Cruelty to animals was an issue that always haunted my brain. A few years ago, I was first introduced to the gruesome reality of the meat and dairy industry. At first it was an idea I dismissed, but eventually I was overcome with guilt. Too young to choose my own meals in a meat-eating family, I shoved the ideas to the back of my brain

About six months ago, such guilt burst through. I made the decision to become a vegan. I gave up all animal products. This included all meat, dairy products, eggs, leather, and any animal derived products, like gelatin. Though my own guilt is undermined, I will never understand how people could say that my belief is wrong. I do not understand how someone could distribute growth hormones to chickens and pigs, knowing it would cause them to grow too fast and lose their ability to walk, forcing them to live a short stationary life until they are killed and packaged as “natural meat.” How can we castrate and brand cows, without pain medication, and then force them to live in a cage so small that they are unable to even sit down? How could someone hook dairy cows up to oversized machines, often in a hurry, injuring the cows and even breaking their legs, to obtain milk – that was meant for the cow’s babies in the first place? Why is it some animals are pets, while others are luxury clothing? I believe that extreme changes should occur in our dairy industry. I believe that animals should be treated with the respect of any another living, breathing thing. I believe that no one can tell me this is wrong.

Unfortunately, more often than not, my ideas and passions about what I am doing are scorned. Constantly, I am ridiculed for my beliefs, with people claiming that my extreme dedication to such a matter is irrelevant and insignificant to society.

Such people are the reason I have promised myself to never allow any of my beliefs to be swayed by those who oppose. Just because your belief is not the popular idea, don’t compensate your morals for others. I think the most important beliefs to hold onto are those of your own.