I became vegan over two years ago after finally realising the truth about “free range” eggs. Up to that point I had an obsession about eating enough protein as I was training in sports regulary and believed that I would waste away if I didn’t eat a “complete protein”. Of course, this was nonsense as one can easily get all of their protein requirements from a vegan diet. There are many world class, professional athletes and bodybuilders who are vegan.

It was yet another disengagement from the social conditioning we are indoctrinated into since childhood (remember the free milk delivered each morning to infant schools from the local creamery?) I had given up dairy products about eight years previously and had been a vegetarian since 1988. After giving up dairy my stomach cramps, dry skin and sinus problems disappeared soon after and I felt much healthier. Also I remember buying my first pair of hiking boots and a belt from Vegetarian Shoes in 1994 which was a real novelty back then.

My reasons for becoming vegan were simple : I did not wish to contribute in any way to the suffering and misery of non human animals who are enslaved and slaughtered in their billions annually for human consumption. Health and environmental benefits would be secondary. Coincidentally, I have never felt as healthy and energetic since becoming vegan.

As a teenager, I spent years eating the Irish “family meal” which consisted of potatoes and over-cooked vegetables minus the meat. The Linda McCartney range of vegetarian food definitely spiced up dinner time in the 1990s.

I grew up with canine companions who were always regarded as one of the family even though the rest of my family are all meat eaters. I lived near a farm and witnessed first hand the dehorning of male bovines which was brutal. I could never understand how humans could not identify with the emotions of non human animals. They feel pain just like us and do not want to be enslaved.

It is true that veganism is a lifestyle choice and not just a diet change. It is a very strong statement to the world that one does not accept the exploitation of non humans and refuses to support the industries that profit from it.