Mario Villalobos

Nate Chittenden, a farmer from Schodack Landing, N.Y., quoted by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times:

“I’m in charge of this entire life from cradle to grave, and it’s important for me to know this animal went through its life without suffering,” he said, stroking the head of one especially insistent cow. “I’m a bad person if I let it suffer.”

In 2011, I chose to stop consuming dairy products after I determined, and later confirmed, I was lactose intolerant. In 2017, I decided to be vegan. I didn’t do it because I thought eating animals was “wrong.” I did it because I felt I was eating too much meat and not enough vegetables.

Over time, though, as this lifestyle sustained me and made me feel better than I ever have in my life, I underwent a sort of spiritual transformation. After a year without consuming any animal products, I realized how unnecessary animal suffering was to sustain a human life.

I’m glad farmers like Mr. Chittenden exist, and I’m grateful that farmers and scientists are trying to figure out how to farm animals ethically, but I’m done consuming animal products. I don’t need to eat them to be healthy, and I’m confident most people don’t, either.