High school was the best time of my life—I met my best friends, learned how to shave, and found out that deodorant after gym class is probably a smart decision. I discovered my favorite band in the whole world (AFI) and also learned about what happens to the animals in our world. Check out my story about going vegan, complete with bad haircuts and awkward #selfies.
As a child, I grew up surrounded by animals. I shared my childhood with animal companions you would not believe—even a hedgehog! Like most people in the world, I always said that I was an animal lover, and whenever people told me that they didn’t eat meat, I would praise them like no other as I took a bite of my McDonald’s (ew).
Whenever I was in gym class, I would feel sluggish and gross and get tired easily. I wanted to be the strongest and most ripped dude in my grade but just couldn’t do it. Also, I had horrible problems with acne. As every guy in high school knows, acne can really ruin your chances with the ladies—so I tried everything to get rid of my pimples, only to learn later that they were caused by the dairy products I loved!
One day, peta2 hosted a contest to win a shirt from Zu Boutique, the clothing line of Davey Havok (singer from AFI and my idol). The shirt featured an image of a hot dog dancing in a puddle of blood, along with the word “MURDER” in a Hollywood-style font. I had to have that shirt, so I entered the contest and also received a free “What They Never Told You” booklet in the mail. I read through it almost 10 times that day, just in awe of what I didn’t know! I never knew that chickens’ legs are often broken while they’re still able to feel pain before they become my crispy chicken sandwich or that cows have their throats slit while they are still conscious just for my McDouble.
Learning that Davey Havok was vegan and didn’t support the cruel meat and dairy industries also helped change how I viewed my food. It was no longer WHAT was on my plate but WHO was, and I didn’t want to support killing animals any longer.
And there you are, ladies and gents. I chose to help animals, help the Earth, and be a little selfish and help myself. I have since toured with peta2 on Warped Tour and now work in PETA’s L.A. office. And all of this is thanks to peta2!
Want to make your high school (or college) years life-changing for animals? Join the peta2 Street Team for FREE right now! We’ll send you ideas on what you can do to speak up for animals, and you can even get peta2 merchandise for FREE.