Sivalingam Vasanthakumar, 60, grew up raising cattle on his parent’s dairy farm in Sri Lanka.
There, the cows were treated as pets, and the milk they produced became the family’s main source of income.
Vasanthakumar moved to England and worked as a farmer, earning his livelihood for 47 years by raising livestock for food.
But on a recent trip to the slaughterhouse, Vasanthakumar looked back at the lambs in his trailer, and decided he just couldn’t do it anymore.
Instead, Vasanthakumar said goodbye to the £10k (approximately $13,000 U.S. dollars) coming his way, and drove 200 miles out of his way to Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries.
He dropped his lambs off at the sanctuary, satisfied that he’d made the right decision. Now, he’s a vegetarian and farms only vegetables.
“The main reason was because I didn’t like them being killed,” Vasanthakumar told iNews.
“It was a very emotional time, I would have to watch all the animals I raised be lined up for slaughter.”
“I’ve always taken my animals to slaughter and killed the pork myself, I’m not ignorant to how farming works but it always made me stressed,” he said.
“It would stress the animals out too – they knew their fate.”
Vasanthakumar hated the last day he spent with his animals, but knew it was a necessary part of the trade.
“They would try to hide in the back of the trailer and wouldn’t want to come out,” he said. “I would have to push them out, it was very stressful for me and the animals.”
Over the years, repeated trips to the slaughterhouse began to weigh heavily on his heart.
“It’s been difficult for me for many years and having always worked on farms this has been in the back of my mind,” he said.
“For the last three months I was getting a batch ready to go and I decided I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Saying goodbye to a steady income and making a career change was not a decision that Vasanthakumar made lightly.
“It took me a while to make this decision, there was nothing special about this batch. I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.
While his decision and new way of eating might not be for everyone, Vasanthakumar is confident he’s on the right path.
“I used to eat lamb but not anymore, I’m a vegetarian now,” he said. “I’ll still be farming and I’ll grow vegetables.”
“It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one.”
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