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A former hunter and farmworker who shot his first animal aged seven has revealed why he went vegan in a moving video shared by Million Dollar Vegan (MDV).

MDV is an advocacy organization which encourages and supports people to sign its 31-day pledge and give a plant-based diet a go. In the past, MDV has offered to make $1,000,000 dollar charity donations if Pope Francis and Donald Trump signed the pledge.

Those who take part will be offered recipes, health and nutrition advice, and a free Vegan Starter Kit featuring meal plans, tips on where to eat out, and answers to tricky questions.

‘As soon as I could hold a gun’

Canadian former hunter and family farm owner Chris revealed that he started hunting ‘pretty much as soon as [he] could hold a gun’, which was around the age of seven. The first animal he killed was a rabbit. He went on to become a trapper and fisherman, following in the footsteps of family members.

“I went a little bit vegetarian just before going vegan, and I remember the last animal I shot was a duck. I shot it, I was out hunting by myself, and as soon as it hit the ground I was ‘why am I doing this?’,” he says in the video.

‘What made me go vegan’

Chris has strong memories of the single event that turned him vegan in an instant. He was taking a break while working on a highway bridge job in Kingston. It was winter, and it was below freezing.

He says: “It was -36 out and snowing, the roads were bad. I was in a machine, I had the heat cranked, I was bundled up, and I was still cold. An accident had happened just down the road past me, it started to slow up traffic, and I was sitting there eating a sandwich, I think it was a ham sandwich.

“Then traffic slowed and I saw this transport come up, and just stop right by me, and it was hauling pigs. Because of the traffic, it just stopped dead. I was so close to the barrier wall, I probably could have reached out and touched the truck.

“Then I kind of looked at it, I’ve seen them up and down the highway, they take them all day long, every day. And I looked, and all I could see were the tears, and then I saw one little pig in there and it was cut across and stuck to the aluminum. I’m not sure if it was just cut across but it was stuck and trying to pull off from…it’s like sticking your tongue to something metal, right?”

‘Get rid of them all’

Chris recounts that the pig was trying to get free, and was ‘getting stomped on at the same time’. He says: “I looked in its eyes and threw my sandwich out the door. I called up my wife at the time, and I said, ‘whatever animal products we have in the house, get rid of them all. I don’t want to see them when I come home’.

“And she was floored. She was like, ‘absolutely, no problem’.

I got home that night and explained what happened to her and had a good little cry, and never looked back. That’s what set me off, and it was just like, you could see the tears in their eyes and hear the squealing, and that was it for me.

“I tell people, ‘you don’t understand until you make that connection’.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.