Talk About a Change of Heart: Four Farmers Say No to Animal Exploitation

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Could you witness the agony and death experienced by animals on meat and dairy farms, day in and day out, and then eat the very animals you had a hand in abusing or killing? No, we didn’t think so. Apparently, neither could Sivalingam Vasanthakumar, Jay Wilde, Bob Comis, or Andrea Davis. These four have more in common than just being farmers—they’ve each made the compassionate decision to do what’s right.

Read on to discover what led these four to their kind decisions and get inspired by the positive changes that they’ve made in their lives.

The Lamb Farmer

In Devon in the U.K., Sivalingam Vasanthakumar raised lambs to be killed for their flesh. He had also worked as a dairy farmer with his parents in Sri Lanka. But this was all prior to his epiphany. One day, he was taking lambs to the slaughterhouse and became “too upset” by the thought of their deaths. So he did what any kind, awesome person would do: He took them to live at a nearby animal sanctuary. But Vasanthakumar didn’t just have a change of heart—he changed his career, too. He now sells homegrown vegetables and homemade Indian dishes at the local market.

The Beef Farmer

In June, Jay Wilde sent 63 cows to an animal sanctuary in England after deciding that he couldn’t continue to send cattle to the slaughterhouse to be killed. Wilde told BBC News that “[c]ows have good memories and a range of emotions. They form relationships. I’ve even seen them cry.” Wilde, who has been a vegetarian for 25 years, believes eating animals is wrong and is “relieved” to have removed himself from the farming industry. As if his story couldn’t get any better, he’s since set his sights on operating an organic vegan market farm, supplying produce grown without the use of animal-derived fertilizers or other products.

The Pig Farmer

In an insightful article for The Dodo, former pig farmer Bob Comis describes the plight of “the last pig” in the slaughterhouse, who discovers that he’s alone and spends his last few moments going ballistic in utter panic and fear. Today, Comis is a vegan animal rights activist, and his story, which has inspired an upcoming documentary called The Last Pig, brings a unique perspective to the issue of killing animals for meat.

The Dairy Farmer

Unlike Wilde and Comis, Andrea Davis didn’t raise animals for slaughter, but that didn’t stop her from realizing that there was cruelty inherent in dairy farming. She told VegNews that she realized that “there was no right way to do a wrong thing.” After learning more about vegan eating and living, the former dairy farmer started an animal rescue. Last month, Davis said, “I have 250 lives depending on me,” referring to the goats, chickens, cats, dogs, and other animals who are finding peace and safety at The Sanctuary School. She hopes to teach children who visit the sanctuary kindness toward animals.

If factory farms, slaughterhouses, and dairy farms had glass walls, everyone would be vegan. But you don’t need glass walls—Vasanthakumar, Wilde, Comis, and Davis are living, breathing proof that it’s easy to see that animals are individuals who exist for their own reasons, not “products” to be exploited for our purposes. If these four farmers can change their habits to do what’s right, so can you.

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