A few days ago, I had the honor of speaking at the "PETA2 Experience" conference in Los Angeles. The day started early at the new PETA Los Angeles headquarters, with hundreds of kids and young adults filling the first floor of the building. I was so excited that I had been asked to speak about why and how I got involved with PETA and when I made the choice to go vegetarian (and eventually, vegan).
When I was 12, I first made the decision to go vegetarian after a co-star's line "I don't eat anything with a face" suddenly shocked me into reality. I had never thought about it like that before. Up until then, meat had always been something that came from a plastic package at the grocery store, not from a living, breathing animal with a face and a mom. My mother, on the other hand, was resistant. She didn't like the idea of me not eating meat at first. I promised, however, to take my vitamins and to make sure I was eating a nutritious diet -- not just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Now, almost one year later, we're BOTH still vegan, after we figured out how easy it was and how much healthier we felt after we made the change. I was so excited when it was finally my turn to speak and I told my story. The day had already had a lot of highlights, like MTV's Steve-O talking about his journey into veganism and fight for animal rights. I was really impressed. I was even more impressed with how the days ended, when I got to participate in one of the largest "McCruelty" protests EVER! I've always believed in standing up for what you believe in, and getting a chance to share my voice along with hundreds of others against the cruelty of factory-farm conditions was an absolute honor. If you're a young person and interested in learning more about going vegan, check out PETA2.com to order a free vegetarian starter kit!