Guest post by Angie Lake
I have always been an animal lover and was, on and off, a vegetarian for many years. This was due more to health reasons and the fact that I had always had issues touching or preparing raw meat.
It was shortly after I had committed to purchase only organic and humanely raised foods that I discovered The Humane Eating Project app. I went online to research humane restaurant options since they were nearly impossible to find. Most places didn’t advertise it and there were few of which I was aware. At first The Humane Eating Project was a great tool to find local restaurants, and it was even more helpful when I was traveling for work. I could easily locate out-of-state options in cities that I was unfamiliar with.
But the biggest impact the app had on me began when I started using the additional tools it offered. The “watchlist” tool led me to further investigate some of the food issues I had not been aware of, mainly foie gras. This then led me to the “info” tab where I could research all the different issues from humane treatment, cage free vs. free range, dairy, hormones, branding, casting, slaughter, etc. Sadly, the list goes on. This opened my eyes to a whole new world I had not thought much about but immediately tapped into my compassion for other living beings.
I really appreciated that there were no graphic images. The information in the app allowed me to slowly take in what I was learning without upsetting me so much that I wouldn’t continue. I was able to lean into this at my own pace.
I started researching more about certifications that verified humane treatment which led me to learning that even certified options are not often regulated. When I realized that the only way to prevent the cruelty in a manner with which I felt at peace was to become vegan, I made the decision immediately. Shortly after I was able to convince my family to also accept being vegan in our home. From there I became involved directly with AFA as a volunteer which greatly strengthened my commitment to myself and the animals. I learned so much working with the organization and its leadership. It is an experience that I will forever hold near.
I am happy to say that I have been vegan ever since, which has been a year and a half as of November. The impact that The Humane Eating Project has had on my life is difficult to put into words. My family and I are better for it, I have become very involved with several animal rights and welfare projects, I have met amazing people, and most importantly, I am impacting the lives of animals in a positive way. My family and I have spared hundreds of lives from misery, and that is something I can smile about.
One thing that I have learned through this process is that there needs to be many different types of approaches to communicating the same message to really make a difference. Because The Humane Eating Project supported me in learning at my own pace, I made a decision that I can feel great about.