Best Self Magazine

Soul Food: A Journey to Animal Activism

Soul Food: A Journey to Animal Activism by Cerri McQuillan. Photograph of Cerri hugging a cow on the farm
All photographs courtesy of Cerri McQuillan

Transforming an animal house of horror into a safe haven, an activist learns firsthand the healing powers of animals.

My journey began with a rubbery medium-rare steak in a New York City restaurant over a decade ago. As I complained about the lack of taste for this over-priced piece of meat on my plate — a friend merely pointed out that the mass-produced meat in America was to blame. This was when I was first introduced to the concept of ‘factory farming’. Prior, I had no mortal idea this world existed. To say that it left me with a bad taste in my mouth, would be an understatement. 

Like most Irish, I grew up on a meat and potato/bread heavy diet. Very clichéd, I know. In my young teenage years, I frequented fast food restaurants and would turn my nose up when a salad was put in front of me. I also consumed as much meat as possible, with the assumption that it would help me stay strong during

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