One aspect of choosing a plant-based life – something I had not even considered – was the Delayed Onset of Guilt (D.O.G.) that I felt shortly after. Let me explain.
For years, I had eaten meat. If we can assume that I have consumed the equivalent of half a chicken a day, every day for 43 years, that is a lot of chicken. Nearly 7,500, infact. (Of course, all of my meat consumption was not just chicken – over the years I have eaten beef, pork, turkey, duck, lamb, fish and so on – but I have chosen chicken to represent all consumption for mathematical ease). That is an awful lot of death and pain I have been responsible for and ingested.
Now I was free from the “background guilt” I had felt over the years through being fully cognisnant of what my carniverous actions ultimately meant, those latent feelings surfaced in a way I was not expecting. The guilt of all the suffering I had indirectly caused bubbled to the surface and I found myself upset for quite some time.
This is problematic. The more I thought about it, the more I ran through the thought processes I had in the past. The self-justifying I allowed for my continuation of meat-eating; the cognitive dissinence. Guilt is a very strong emotion and a lot of people won’t want to deal with it and this could prevent them from making a change, even if they feel they might want to for moral, ethical or health reasons. After all, they were knee deep in the shit by now and it is easier to carry on wading through it than to climb out.
I guess, for me, I reached a tipping point where the guilt of not changing became greater than the guilt of continued participation.
I wish I had made the change earlier, but I have learned not to beat myself up over it. It is better for me to have made the change back in February, rather than in March, or April, or next February.