A vegetarian testimony

Rens Huisman

My name is , 28 years old and male. I've been a vegetarian for about six years now, without one moment's regret by the way. As a child I loved furry animals. My puppy was my most precious possession. So far that's nothing special; half of Holland after all loves furry animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. But I also had an eye for animals that were not so cuddly; I was always looking out for buckets to save flies from drowning, I threw my mother's fly swatters and mouse traps into the dustbin (where they belong), etc..
That's a little stranger, but the strangest thing is that at the same time I loved meat. I watched closely that my piece of meat was bigger than my brother's, and in the football cafeteria I shoveled down many a hot dog or meatball. Some way I was able to ignore this contradiction in my life. The most striking example of this, I think, is that one moment I gave the driver of a cattle truck false directions when he was on his way to our local butcher shop, while a day later I went shopping at that same butcher shop.
Some way I didn't want to (or couldn't) make the connection between meat and where meat came from. There are a lot more people in Holland who live as unconsciously as I did then. That's why the meat sector is doing so much to hide all their wrongs and daily practices (too little space, no daylight, lonely and boring surroundings, antibiotics, food that is bad for animal welfare, slaughtering young animals, worthless transports, suffering during slaughter, diseases such as swine fever, fraudulent cattle farmers, growth hormones, etc.).

At a certain point in time, I 'saw the light'. At school I encountered vegetarianism and I had a chance to look around a mink farm, an intensive pig farm and a battery cage shed. I decided that I didn't want to be responsible for all this animal suffering any longer, and I couldn't think what would give me the right to eat animals when there are so many alternatives. I hope that people will think more on the daily suffering connected to meat, and that they will stop eating meat, eat less meat or start eating free-range meat. Taking meat out of my diet has given me hardly any trouble at all and if I can do it (as an ex-meat-lover), anyone can.

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