Interview with Elizabeth Collins

1.  What led you to veganism?  (something about your evolution and awakening to what is really going on with the animals)

I became vegan in 2007, having previously been a non vegan who didn’t eat some things, like the flesh of land animals and birds, but ate and used all other types of animal products. It was very superficial, and I was still completely ignorant of the truth about the inconsistency between my personal beliefs and my personal actions.  I saw my very first ever slaughter video in the 1st half of the year 2007, about pigs.  It was completely unplanned, I just turned on MNN one late night and it was on.  Then I a couple of months later I accidentally caught a documentary that aired on another random channel, about the dolphin slaughter in Japan.  I still hadn’t made the connection though, even after these two videos.

While watching them I had experienced true grief, outrage and overwhelming guilt, but had no one to guide me, no one to talk to about it.  Neither video advocated veganism as an option, neither even mentioned veganism.  None of my friends were vegan, none had seen nor would be willing to see these videos.  So I was kind of lost and hurting with no real way of dealing with it at that point. It culminated in me actually coming to a realization that I would no longer eat seafood, and that I would no longer buy leather—but this was months after seeing these things.  I guess it was lying dormant in the back of my unconscious.  So when I realized I needed a new pair of boots for winter I finally clicked that I wanted to buy vegetarian leather, after having just bought about 3 pairs of leather sandals for the current summer.  As I was moving back to NZ I looked at NZ vegetarian leather options and of course this lead to other animal websites, one of which featured a link to the movie Earthlings.

It took me ages to build up the courage to actually watch the film after I had bought it.  I saw the trailers for the film and I was sobbing on the floor just from that, plus since seeing the pig and dolphin slaughter documentaries I knew what I was in for.  During this interim period I went on the Earthlings forum, before even seeing the film, and there are some people on that forum really advocating veganism.  Their solution to this horrible guilt and agony was to go vegan, and remove yourself from the exploitation.  What a concept!  I WISH I had been opened up to that sooner, but never mind.  So I thought, well, I wonder if I can go vegan, but I still hadn’t made the full transition, and I also somehow knew I had to see the film.  For some reason I knew it was something I had to watch, that I owed it to myself and all the animals whose suffering I had been contributing to my whole life, to see it.  In this period between purchasing the film and watching the film I started buying “free range” eggs for myself, through being misguided by the majority of mainstream animal advocates that this was a good thing to do.  I had given up diary products 3 years before because of my skin, otherwise I may very well have gone and bought “organic” milk.