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  • Chrissy Leyland

As a child I’d always loved animals. Therefore, it seemed a logical to become vegetarian. I realised consuming animals did not align with my values. However, I then began to question the ethics of eating any animal products. I felt a deep sadness for the plight of dairy cows. Separating these loving mothers from their calves is unthinkably cruel. I didn’t want contribute to this animal suffering. But going vegan seemed like a big step. Especially for a teenager in the 1980’s. So I decided to try vegan for a month. It seem more achievable to have this goal.

This turned out to be pretty easy. So I’m still vegan over 37 years later. I often get asked if it was difficult back then. Without the variety of vegan products now available in supermarkets. Not to mention the plentiful options for eating out. It certainly wasn’t as convenient. It was also seen as unusual or frankly weird. I spent lots of time answering questions. Also defending my choice!

But, I see this as the best decision I have ever made. Now my eyes were open I had no desire to consume animal products. Having that motivation made it easy. As did finding a liked-minded community. This helped me to navigate a non vegan world, and to spread the message to others. I’ve been involved in vegan campaigning, animal activism and animal rescue work. My successful experience of trying vegan for a month led me to support others in this way. I organised the first vegan pledge in London. Participants tried vegan for a month. Significantly, many of them stayed vegan.