Judy Ward, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, spoke to VfL in 2019 and told us about her childhood on a farm learning how to pluck and dress chickens. After 7 decades, it was a video on Facebook that made the pensioner turn plant-based.
“I remember as a child being on the farm and there being around 1,000 chickens in brick sheds and I never once looked at them as a commodity. I also remember seeing calves being taken away from their mothers at birth. I would be the one who took the powered milk to the calf. It was just a way of life. But I remember hearing the cows bellowing for their calves. It was heart-breaking really looking back at it but we just got on with it.”
She also added she would feed pigs one day and the next they would be hung up in the kitchen. Judy added: “I did question it most of my life but continued to eat meat and dairy. But it was one afternoon when I was 70, I was on Facebook and came across a video inside a slaughterhouse. I mean I had grown up with it but I had always been sheltered away from that side of it.” She then decided to go vegan.
Judy now also gives talks to school children as a speaker for Animal Aid: “What changed most for me was that I came to the understanding that we are sharing the planet with animals rather than having a priority on it. We take animals for granted and once you realise you can live healthily and happily without the need to cause suffering to another being, it’s fantastic. If you can live without cruelty, why wouldn’t you?”
Her two children support her veganism and her daughter uses many vegan products. Judy said: “In this past year it’s incredible the products that are coming to supermarkets. It’s a very exciting time for veganism and I would recommend it to people of all ages. I know some people think that an older person doesn’t use Facebook and that veganism is a younger thing to do but I’m proof that it’s not. I am still really active and I’m not on any prescribed medication. I feel great. If I can do it, the granddaughter of a farmer, then anyone can."