Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Tell-All Contest: What Inspired You to Go Vegetarian?

Written by PETA | October 4, 2010

It was a gesture that was definitely more long-lasting and meaningful than a bouquet of flowers: Fran Healy of the band Travis thought of the perfect way to thank Sir Paul McCartney for contributing bass lines to a track on Healy’s just-released solo debut album, Wreckorder. He—and his family—went vegetarian.

Healy recalls, “I thought, Paul’s a big veggie, my son’s already vegetarian, it’d be nice to maybe have the whole family do it, so I asked my wife and she said, ‘That’s a great idea, and what a way to say thank you.’” Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!           

There are billions of reasons to go vegan—now PETA wants to know why you stopped eating animals. What was your incredible inspiration?

The person whose story moves us the most will win the grand prize, which includes Wreckorder CDs (both the wide-release and limited editions) and the vinyl version of the album—signed by Fran Healy—as well as a collectible T-shirt and tote bag. One runner-up will win an autographed copy of Wreckorder. The contest ends on October 8, 2010, and the winner will be chosen the same day. Be sure to read our privacy policy and terms and conditions, as you’re agreeing to both by commenting.

Thank you—and good luck!

Written by Karin Bennett

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  • severina418 says:

    “Meet Your Meat.” I wish this video was mandatory for each and every person to watch. I had absolutely no clue that most farming practices were inhumane until I watched it. And even for the humane acts, seeing the looks on those poor animals’ faces, and realizing they do think and feel and have emotions, made me see that I do not deserve to receive pleasure (consumption) from something that either causes them pain or ends their lives.

  • Emily says:

    I became vegetarian after I adopted my guinea pig, Maggie, from a shelter (which is a story in and of itself…thank you Oprah for running that story on why we should adopt animals!) I just couldn’t make the connection anymore between spending lots of time and money on this one little guinea pig to make sure she had a happy life, while turning around and eating cows, pigs and chickens that had been raised in horrendous factory-farm conditions. It just didn’t make sense to me anymore. Maggie and I were veggie buddies – I would eat the tops of the broccoli, she would eat the bottoms! Little Maggie was only in my life for about a year before she passed away, but she taught me such an important lesson. I think that her short life has saved the lives of many other animals, as I stopped eating them once she came into my life.

  • Whitney Illsley says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 months now and this is why… My entire life I had been a big meat eater. I come from a very small, rural town where being a vegetarian is not only unheard of, but not so kindly accepted. I never took to the common ways to pass time in my small town, like hunting, and it always upset me that people killed the adorable animals, the same ones that would come up to my Grandmothers house and we could feed them apples out of the palms of our hands. I have also suffered from health problems my entire life, and about 2 years ago, I began getting severe migraines. Within the last year I hit a point where I had migraines every single day. Some days they were so bad I was unable to leave my room. I tried everything, I had CT Scan, MRI’s, and saw a neurologist 8 times in the course of 3 months. After countless medications (about 25) nothing seemed to be working. I was told I could no longer have caffeine, no chocolate, no cheese, no processed meats. That’s how it started. After I gave up processed meats I realized how much better I felt already. Then I began to become disgusted by meat, “We are eating an animals flesh” is the thought that kept running through my mind. So I made the decision to stop eating meat and see how that made me feel. Within a week of giving up meat, my migraines stopped. I have only had about 5 migraines in the last 5 months, and going from having one everyday for over a year, that’s pretty incredible. I started to spread the word to everyone I knew, including my neurologist who just couldn’t believe that becoming vegetarian would help my migraines. I now strongly believe 2 things: 1.) that eating meat is incredibly bad for our bodies health wise. We are not meant to digest other living creatures. We are not meant to be full of hormones and flesh, it is hard on our system and bad for our health and… 2.) Eating animals is WRONG. They are living creatures who deserve a full, fun, FREE life without being slaughtered because they “taste good”. We can live completely healthy and normal lives living off plant proteins and in the long run it can do wonderful things for your health. I will never go back to eating meat, and I am proud to say that to all of the small minded people that I AM A VEGETARIAN.

  • MMarsh says:

    Funny, I actually became a vegetarian in 1992 after attending a Paul McCartney concert! He had some videos and information that he showed before his show that really helped confirm it was what I wanted to do. I never ate a lot of meat before, so it was a fairly easy transition. Go Fran!!

  • Wendy says:

    I was about 12 years old, and was helping my Dad make dinner. He gave me the job of making meatballs for our spaghetti. I was pulling off clumps of meat, and suddenly I realized I was putting my hand into a dead cow. I never ate meat again, and most of my family eventually followed. Today, 25 years later, my Mother, two sisters, brother, and 10-year-old daughter are all happy vegetarians.

  • Giovanna says:

    A cow. A single, lonely cow. I was 13 and she was standing by the fence besides my tennis club. I love animals, couldnt resist patching her. She twisted her tong around my hand, she rested her head in my shoulder and rubbed her neck at my belly. For me, that lonely animal wasnt food animore. Unfortunately, she was for someone else. I became vegetarian as soon i realized that. At my 15′s birthday, an important age for many people, i decided the present would go for animals: i became vegan. And here am I, strong, live, fighting for cows like that lonely one. My worst nightmare is going back that day and felling i could have done something, but didnt. I promissed her, in my toughts, never to let it hapen again.

  • Brittany Ford says:

    I went veg because of Paul McCartney too! I saw an interview with him and his wife Linda and they were talking about how they had a sheep famr (for pets not fodo) and were looking out over their property one day while eating lamb! They there and then decided to give it up. I found that so inspiring, I did the same

  • Tamra says:

    I was not raised a vegetarian. But from a young age I felt it was mean to eat animals. I remember saying, “mommy daddy why do we call this meat chicken.” And when they told thats because it is a dead, cooked chicken. I could understand why someone would kill it and then eat it. I remember before dinner one night, before Iwas of school age. I was hunger and asking dada when will dinner be done? He gave me a piece of sandwish ham. He said, “eat this and dinner will be ready in a few minutes.” As I started to eat it,I looked over at my pet hampster. My first thought mabey shes hungery too. So I tried to give her a piece of the ham.She wouldn`t eat it. I then thought about the chicken conversation.My todler mind thought HAM HAMPSTER and I put it in the trash. I also remember my parents buying lopsters and watching the wiggle the whole way home. And watching them try and wiggle their way away,as dad through them in the boiling pot.I also remember watching Charletes web and little wilber the pig. And the movie Babe. And that also had a big impact on me as a child. I remember at times I use to throw away or hide my meat in a napkin and throw it away.When ever I thought about what it was. Then by age 11 ish I gradually stopped eating all meat.By my teen years I was a full strict vegetarian. That inclues avoidance of certian clothing,bath products geletian in foods, and ect.

  • spiderwoman says:

    this was about 45 years ago in zurich where i met the geiser sisters – daughters of the owner of the famous geiser slaughterhouses. they went both vegetarian because of the horror they lived in their youth. isabella geiser was the secretary of hans ruesch at that time and she introduced me to him and animal protection and it’s lasting a lifelong!

  • Ky says:

    I wanted to go vegetarian for a while, but I never had the courage to say to my mom that i didn’t want to eat meat anymore. I was always against eating any animal that was the product of “hunting”. I was at my dad’s one day and he made sloppy joe’s. I asked him if it was hamburger and not moose, since I knew that he just got back from a hunting trip. He assured me that it was indeed dead cow. So, I went on happily eating it. After I we were finished he confessed that it really was moose meat. I was so mad that I gave up meat right then and there. I told my friends and word got out at school. Everyone thought I was the weird hippie chick and none of them believed that I would be able to keep this up. Their disapproval only made me want to do it more. I had to prove to everyone that I could do it. Two years later and I am now vegan!

  • Hetal Patel says:

    I grew up in a Hindu religion and in this religion we do not in Cow as a result that cows are sacred. I did grow up eating hot dogs and chicken. I was in college when i made the change over to vegetarianism because of all the videos i’ve seen on peta and other internet sites on how they torture and abuse the animals that are left for slaughter. Even though I am a bit squeemie inside when i watched these videos I made myself sit there and watch them so I knew what exactly happened to these animals. I was horrified and I did not want to bring more suffering to the animals that the population of the earth eats. If i could be a vegetarian that would mean I would not consume any animal meat and i would not be buying the meat and not supporting the slaughtering industry. As a result of not eating meat I feel great, and I make other healthy choices for myself. I also do not wear fur anymore, and hope become a vegan someday. I tell everyone about my vegetarianism and hope to turn my friends in vegetarians. As for my legacy, I do not want to be apart of a race of people who torture the beautiful creatures on our earth. Cows, Pigs, and Chickens are vibrant, smart creatures and they deserve the same respect as we give to our fellow human beings. I urge everyone to become vegetarian, not only for your health, but for the beautiful creatures on this earth who cannot speak for themselves like we can, because in the end the human race is not superior than anything on this earth. We are also just creatures trying to exist but we do not make the greatest choices and we must help each other do whats right an fare in the world.

  • Emma says:

    I became vegetarian when I was 8 when i found out exactly how my meat got to my plate. Before I was 8 I never relised that animals were killed yet alone cruely treated for humans to eat. My little sister followed my lead as a vegetairian as she too was shocked at how animals were being treated. As i got older I leared more about just how cruely hundreds of animals are getting treated everyday and it makes me feel sick. I dont know how people can be so inhuman to the worlds beuatiful creatures. I keep 3 chickens in my back garden as pets and also to eat there eggs. It gives me much pleasure to know that the eggs I eat are coming from healthy happy chickens who get to run and dig about outside all day instead of being stuck in a confined cage, ill and never having saw the sky or run about.

  • Samantha says:

    Looking back, deciding to go vegetarian was one of the best things I could have done. When I was in the 4th grade, it was a classroom dissection that changed my mind. I was forced to participate in the dissection of a cow heart, and I remember having to touch it and the smell and everything was horrible. I thought so much about the animals that are raised just for this purpose. I was so upset about this, but had never given the idea of being vegetarian any real thought, after all I was about 11 and everyone in my large Italian family ate meat. Well, I went home that day and told my parents that I refused to eat any more meat or fish. As a result, I had to learn to cook veggie meals for myself, and learn the best ways to stay healthy. Its been almost 13 years, and I haven’t looked back since : )

  • Casandra says:

    Since I was like 5 years, I loved animals. I had a cat, a fish, two parrots and a dog. I liked to feed them, and to hug them and to look into that little sparkle from their eyes. I grew up but I kept being interested into this cute and fascinating creatures (animals in general!). When my mom prepared meat,fish or chicken, I didn’t want to eat, but my father didn’t agree with me. I felt guilty everytime I realized that I was eating the pain and the murder of a living creature. One day, in school they took us to the place where they pack the meat. Everyone was laughing or being completely indifferent. I was horrorified. I started to cry and everyone was looking at me like if I was a weird thing. After that day, I refused to eat meat every single day. I didn’t care if someone told me it was delicious or if they were almost forcing me to do it. I’m not going to be part of the genocide. (Sorry if I said something wrong, i’m from Mexico)

  • SYL says:

    I’ve always been a big animal lover ever since I was a kid I’d bring home animals, or they’d just somehow come hang out on our porch.I was always the one to sneak them food and pet and walk them. But growing up in a Latino family, mom would make meat almost everyday so I didn’t ever think where it came from. It was jsut the way it was. But one day, my 16 year old daughter came home from a No Doubt concert and she gave me a PETA pamphlet. I read it and immediately looked up the PETA website ! I was disgusted on how they treated the animals! The very next day I went to the OC fair and fell in love with this Yucatan Pink Pig named Jorge.. I rubbed his belly and he shook his foot just like my dogs at home do when they are loving the rubdown.. FROM that DAY ON I said NO WAY! no MORE MEAT EVER.. I thank my daughter, and I thank No Doubt for handing out those flyers but most of all I thank PETA for helping me with my transition! I did the 30 day Vegetarian trial to start with and now 1.5 years later I’m a VEGAN.. Thank you !

  • pilypetuna says:

    It will come a day, when humans become vegetarian, and it´ll be a crime to eat animals. For sure, man is the king of beasts, for his brutality is bigger than its.We live for the death of others. We are all cementeries. Vegetarianism, gives me happiness everyday :) (Sorry for my english mistakes!) Pilar, Buenos Aires. Argentina

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I am not entirely vegetarian, but I will not eat meat before 6:00 P.M. and even then I avoid meat and most dairy when I have the chance. The reason is partly that I am against animal cruelty and partly that when I eat less meat I find I have more energy to get through the day. The other day I was watching a commercial for an energy shot product that talked about the 2:30 slump, and I realized I had not had one for quite a while….probably because I don’t eat meat at lunch! I realized then that all those times I’d eaten a hamburger or a sandwich with lunchmeat in it by 2:30 or 3:00 P.M. I had an overwhelming urge to drop in my tracks and hibernate. When I have a salad or a vegetarian meal this does not happen.

  • Gisela says:

    When I read the book, Skinny Bitch, I had no idea it was about animal cruelty and to become a vegan, I was amazed and literally in shock what people do to God’s creatures! All animals are precious as we are as humans. My heart, my soul goes out to all innocent animals. I have five pets at home and it touches my heart even more whenever I look at them. I am soo proud to be part of a PETA member and will do my very best to spread the word and try to change and make a difference in this world.

  • holly cooper says:

    Visting a farm on an elementary school field trip inspired me to become a vegetarian. Seeing the cows and pigs up close made me realize that they had feelings just like my pets at home and that their lives were just as valuable.

  • Ana A. Garcia says:

    My adorable late cat Cleocatra inspired me to go vegan. Looking at her face made me want to go all the way vegan. She was truly special.

  • spiderwoman says:

    this was about 45 years ago in zurich when i met the geiser sisters! they were daughters of the famous owner of the geiser butcheries but went vegetarian because of all the horror they lived in their youth! isabella geiser was the secretary of hans ruesch and like this i was introduced to the animal rights movement and here i am!!!

  • ditto says:

    Quite a few years ago as I browsed the peta site I came upon an article about a truck hauling pigs that had overturned. One pig ran so fast that by the time they got him back he was physically exhausted. They kicked and pushed him back on that truck to his death. I can never put into words what the horror of this story did to me. I cried so hard that I made myself sick. I called peta and spoke to a staff member.I was beyond being comforted. See, I once had a pot belly pig named Harley. He was smart and gentle. He would come when called. When he was about 12 he got arthritis and could no longer stand without crying out in pain.I took him to my vet where they told me its hard to tell when a pig is old because they are killed at a young age. I had my precious guy put to sleep that day amid tears and sadness. So that story was not only about some pig running terrified,it was my Harley that I was thinking about.I wish that this abuse would stop forever. This is why I will point to pork in the store and loudly say “how can you do this to this poor animal?” Rest in peace Harley and all the other pigs who have to die for their meat.

  • Cathy Worley says:

    The first time I saw a video of a factory farm, I was shocked. I had always believed the hype of cows living in pastures and then just one day taken to a place where they were humanely killed. I thought that America being a civilized and progressive nation had laws that kept these animals from being abused. Then I saw the movie Food, Inc. and I also saw Earthlings. I knew then that my conscience could not allow me to add to one more animal’s suffering. At that point, I knew I had to make a difference. I came home and showed my husband these movies and he agreed with me. Since that day about 8 months ago, neither of us has touched meat. We became members of PETA and took up an active role in letter writing and the campaigns. I try to convince everyone I know to go vegetarian. We both feel 100% better. I will never go back to eating meat. We don’t miss it. Knowing that we make a difference in something living or dying is a huge reward. When we sit down to a meal, nothing has to suffer or die for us. That is a good feeling. I highly recommend making the change. You feel better, you run less health risks by avoiding meat. You keep a living being from harm or pain and you go a long way in saving the planet. We are determined to live a cruelty free life.

  • Racquel says:

    The idea of converting to vegetarianism has always been at the back of my mind since i was about six or seven years old. Finally in august of this year, a couple of days after my 21st birthday, i decided to forgo meat. Its been two months and im still going srong. The decision to become a vegetarian was all due to my 2 year old son. By looking at him i not only realised what an unhealthy lifestyle i was lving but also what a cruelty induced lifestyle i was living as well. I want to be there for my son as long as i possibly can. I also want him to learn the importance of looking after the planet. That cruelty and killing not only destroys the animals that inhabit this earth with us but that if it carries on it will soon destroy us as well. We as human beings need to see ourselves as being part of nature not as rulers over it.

  • Zenna says:

    I don’t have a long story, basically what made me go vegan was seeing your undercover videos at slaughterhouses.

  • ceilas says:

    I gave up meat due the way people treat animals, how they torture them in so many ways. it’s just disgusting and i want no part of that. Tofu doesn’t scream!

  • Julia says:

    I grew up in an animal-conscious household: We ate meat rarely, we treated our companion animals better than spoiled children, and we gave exclusively to animal charities. While I became a vegetarian at a very young age, my dad wavered back and forth, always knowing that it was the most ethical lifestyle but occasionally succumbing to temptation. One day he got a PETA card in the mail, a thank you for renewing his membership, I think. On the card was a portrait of a pig – a close-up of his smiling face as he basked in the sun under the clear blue sky. My dad declared that he was once again going vegetarian, but this time for good. His reason: He couldn’t eat anything so beautiful. He has been a vegetarian ever since. Fifteen years later, I put a similar photo of a pig up on his computer desktop. He took it down, however, because he said it made him too sad to look at it and be reminded of how much farm animals suffer.

  • Aneliese says:

    For me, it was because I don’t understand why it’s okay to eat some animals and not others. Cows, cats, whatever, meat is meat and to me, all animals deserve to live. This quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm got me really thinking about it: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

  • Patti says:

    When I was 10 I witnessed someone coming back from hunting with a deer mounted on the car. I asked my parents about it and quit eating venison. As I aged and learned what the living animal looked like, I quit eating that meat until I no longer ate any meat at all.

  • raquel says:

    There was a story on the news about an animal that had been tortured. I was sick of hearing about those things, so i went online to see what I could do. I ran into the PETA website & saw a video called “Meet Your Meat”. I don’t know how long I cried for, but the images stuck in my mind. I went vegetarian the moment I saw that video.

  • Glenda Butler says:

    I ate meat my whole life but I never felt comfortable about it but I didn’t know why. I guess I was conditioned to accept that life sustaining protein only came from meat..I never thought to question it. Until a trip to New Zealand several years ago where a passing truck loaded with cows on their way to slaughter stopped my breath..My eyes met theirs, sad and helpless, desperate for a way out. I gave up meat that day. I am a happy and healthy vegan today.

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