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  • Marissa Garst

I went vegetarian at the age of 13 after accidentally selecting Morningstar “chicken” from the grocery store for my school lunches at the store with my mom. As I was eating it later that night, I noticed the label said “100% vegetarian” and I was shocked! I thought it tasted great and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t real chicken, as I thought I’d selected. I thought back to the one and only time my dad took us fishing and I locked eyes with the poor fish we caught, thrashing around and clearly suffering. I screamed for my dad to put him back in and after many attempts to get the hook loose, he did. I had always felt weird about eating animals but was always able to push it out of my mind. Then at 13, a peer in class was bragging about going hunting. I said something to him about how cruel it was, and he turned to me and said “we’ll do you eat meat? Because if so, you can’t talk.” I wanted to disappear into my chair, because I didn’t really have a good response. He was right! I thought of that fish and it hit me that I was causing that same suffering to so many beings behind closed doors. I went vegetarian soon after, and vegan later in college when I finally learned about how much suffering is in the egg and dairy industry.