Erin Cecilia Pfeifer
Actress, activist and photographer.
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
EP: Well, when I was 14 I started going vegetarian because I loved animals and it made sense to me not to eat them or want to cause them pain. I wouldn’t eat my dog, so why would I eat a cow or a pig? Because that’s just what our society has trained us to think is acceptable? No thanks, I don’t accept. It wasn’t until 2005, however, when I visited Animal Acres, a farmed animal sanctuary, that I became educated on why veganism is so much more effective - and after I was aware of what animals go through in the egg and dairy industries I could not in good conscience eat those things anymore either. The images I saw in videos like Meet Your Meat, Earthlings and Peaceable Kingdom were not something I could un-see, nor was that brutal information something I wanted to remain ignorant about. If I can cause less pain and suffering in the world I am willing to try. I also can’t help but think that growing up in a house with family members who hunted had a little something to do with it. It always hurt me to see the dead animals and it still upsets me deeply to see deer and antelope heads on the living room walls when I visit them. We also raised rabbits when I was a kid. I’d play with them and name them all… and then they’d be gone and it took me a while to realize that the meat my mom served me for dinner wasn’t always from the supermarket.
SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes, what was difficult and did it get easier?
EP: Making the transition to veganism was slightly difficult in the very beginning because I was the only vegan I knew and I didn’t really have friends or family who were super supportive of my decision. People can react oddly when you tell them you don’t eat certain things anymore, especially moving from ovo-lacto vegetarian to total vegetarian (vegan), and they would sometimes try to talk me out of it or sneak things into my food. I stuck with it, though, and eventually began to find support from other vegans online, and started attending animal rights events and meeting like-minded people that way. After knowing the disturbing reality about where our food comes from, I definitely knew there was no turning back, and once I really dove in it was surprisingly easy to be vegan!
SS: What are some animal rights related things you participate in?
EP: For several years now I’ve been attending animal rights protests and vegan events even when I had to drive an hour and half or more to L.A. to get to them. I also began volunteering at animal rescues whenever I could, and after volunteering at one rescue for about three years I began working there as an employee and it felt really amazing to be able to directly help rescue animals from slaughterhouses and other cruelties. I also try to educate people simply by telling them the facts about where their food comes from. Even if people aren’t immediately open to it, I like to think that at the very least I have planted a seed for thought that may grow and open their hearts and minds later on.
SS: What would you say to encourage someone is considering becoming vegan?
EP: You could not do anything better to help animals, the environment and your own body! It’s not as difficult as you may believe, it’s way healthier, and as much as you think you are going to miss the foods you eat now you will quickly realize that vegan food is AMAZING! I thought I could never give up cheese or ice cream, but with products like Daiya dairy free cheese and Coconut Bliss ice cream (yumm!) it has never been so easy. Plus, the satisfaction of knowing you are no longer contributing to the severe cruelty that billions of “food” animals suffer every single day is an incredible feeling, and the undeniable knowledge of that suffering will help fuel your fire to stick with it.