Why did Brenda Davis become vegan?

Many factors affected my decision to become vegan, but none more compelling than my interaction with a friend back in 1989. On a rather ordinary day, my friend called to see if he could drop by for coffee on his way deer hunting. Although my response was positive, I immediately began thinking about what I could say to make him feel guilty. After dispensing with the usual trivialities, I asked him what it was that made him want to kill such a beautiful, innocent creature. I pointed out that it didn’t seem like much of a “sport” to me – after all, in “sports,” both teams have the same equipment. Then I asked him if it made him feel like more of a man. His response changed the course of my life. He responded, “You have no right to criticize me. Just because you don’t have the guts to pull the trigger does not mean you are not responsible for the trigger being pulled every time you buy a piece of meat in the grocery store. You are simply paying someone to do the dirty work for you. At least the deer I eat has had a life. I doubt very much you can say the same for the animals sitting on your plate.” I was silenced, because I knew deep down inside he was absolutely right. At that moment I vowed to take responsibility for the food I was purchasing, and to find out about the lives of the animals I was eating. What I learned made me take a stand against the system of cruelty that I had unknowingly supported. At that time, I didn’t actually know any real, live vegetarians, and I was a public health nutritionist in Northern Ontario, encouraging the consumption of a “balanced” diet, including the four food groups. Eliminating animal products was quite a leap. Interestingly, when I asked my husband (the hunter’s best friend!) if he would become vegetarian with me, he answered, “I thought you would never ask.” He was always a step ahead of me!


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