Christmas as a young non-vegan
This is an excerpt from my book Fat Gay Vegan: Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give a Sh!t.
Christmas in my hometown was always brutal. First of all, it was always sweltering hot and furthermore we had the joy of sitting around with relatives ranging from mildly to wildly racist.
Animals featured heavily Christmas day, from the pig-now-called-ham wrapped in a water- soaked pillow case to keep it fresh to the family dog sitting under the table hoping for scraps. Prawns, crabs, chickens and turkeys who used to all be alive at some point were scattered around the buffet in order for me and the people I didn’t like all that much to experience festive cheer.
So, animals were absolutely everywhere in my life as a child in Australia, but I honestly didn’t give them much more thought than what I have described above. Not one adult explained to me the difference between prawns on the table and the dog under it. Understanding how animals lived and died was not my concern. I was socialised into thinking animals were available to eat, wear and prod with sticks unquestionably.
That’s what I think I have in common with a lot of you turning these pages (or reading this blog post) right this moment.
Reflect for a moment on just how much animals were used in your young life, but how little thought was given to the how, what, when and why. Did adults and people responsible for your emotional growth explain the process of factory farm to dining table? The shark took a chunk from the turtle (early story in book) just as I watched crabs being boiled alive in my kitchen at Christmas time, but they were all just ‘things’ in my mind. Objects. Just like the pine cones and the cliffs and the polished glass fragments at the seaside.
I didn’t understand that these animals were capable of fear and pain because nobody told me, and I would bet my last block of tofu they didn’t tell you either.