Veggie tales: Student struggles to deal with criticism of personal choice

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014 I made the decision that would change my life forever. I became a vegetarian, and in that moment the harassment and the ignorance started from my friends and peers. I made a personal decision that day without knowing what kind of reaction I would receive. I watched a video on Youtube that I was recommended called “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls”, and it was life changing. It showed graphic images that no 12-year-old should see, like pigs being beaten with their babies and cows being hung upside down and having their necks slit. It was horrific and educational at the same time.

Becoming a vegetarian was a personal choice. I watched videos and news reports that highlighted the disgusting abuse and mistreatment of animals bred only for consumption. I’ve never asked, coerced, or forced anyone else to abstain from eating meat. I have no issues or problems with others eating meat in front of me because this journey away from animal cruelty has always been a personal one. My family eats meat and my friends eat meat, however, the most challenging part for me has been the teasing and obnoxious remarks from those who are uneducated of my own personal choice. They’re not just joking around in, a friendly way but are being extremely disrespectful. If I make a decision that is not the normal one, I get ridiculed for it. Something as little as choosing the way I eat has changed my life and how others view me. I have been called unhealthy and a plant killer, and I even had my own friends turn against me

Eating at restaurants and fast food places often poses difficulties for vegetarians like me. Ordering something at Taco bell without meat can be challenging. Usually something goes wrong and after I’ve received my order and am in the car, I realize it has meat in it. So now I’ve gotten into the habit of telling the cashier or waitress that I’m a vegetarian to avoid any meat mishaps.

Although I’ve been harassed and teased for being a vegetarian, I am proud of what I have done and how long I’ve kept this up. For two years I have been happier knowing that I am not consuming an animal that was once alive and knowing that I’m not consuming something that was bred only to be killed for human consumption. Everyone is their own individual. If I can survive the ridicule and ignorance of it in middle school and still hold firm, I know I can continue stay strong in the future.