Vegetarian Outreach Scotland (VOS) is a movement that has grown out of an animal lover’s heart – mine. It also reflects my personal journey from being the grand-daughter of a butcher and a farmer respectively, eating meat three times a day, working on farms, getting a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, until the day I woke up to the fact that I was a hypocrite: I said I was an animal lover, and yet I ate them.

That was 20 years ago. I became a vegetarian on the spot and haven’t eaten meat or fish since. Then, approximately seven years ago, when living in the US on the border of New Mexico and Texas, I joined the Vegetarian Society of El Paso. They educated me about Veganism; about what happens to baby calves and the abject cruelty of the dairy industry, and I knew my conscience was in need of an upgrade. I became a Vegan.

Those folks in the El Paso Vegetarian Society were relentless (might I add that most of them were over 60, some well over!). They proceeded to ask me what my dogs ate! You guessed…my dogs are now Vegans too – all 11 of them!! (see the Vegan Pets page for more information).

I started VOS because I do not want any animal to suffer anymore.

I started VOS because I do not want any animal to suffer anymore. Worldwide, an estimated 65 Billion farmed animals are killed each year (this does not include fish). This is a heart-breaking atrocity. This is on-going, every second of everyday, Genocide. We spare ourselves the sight of this. Not having seen it, our minds smoothly bypass unspeakable suffering, so that we can continue to eat what we want. Our pleasure is their pain.

I think there are many, many people out there who, like my former self, love animals but have not yet connected the dots. I think there is a window of opportunity for people who have made the connections to be a catalyst for people who haven’t.

If the whole world adopted a western diet, we would need 2 more same-sized planet earths to cater to it.

In addition to the suffering of animals, livestock agriculture is the biggest single contributor to Rain Forest destruction (91%)1, habitat loss, species extinction, ocean dead zones and depletion, and world hunger. The meat and dairy industry use one-third of the world’s fresh water, and livestock occupy 45% of its land2. 82% of the world’s hungry children live in countries where food is grown and exported to the west to feed livestock.3 None of this is sustainable for very much longer.  If the whole world adopted a western diet, we would need 2 more same-sized planet earths to cater to it.4

In sum, so-called “humanity” is suffering from a massive blind-spot, one which I believe is holding us back as a species. Because we are, after all, just one more species. It is the goal of VOS to help humanity evolve to the next stage of human consciousness.

May we wake one day to a Vegan world!

~Rebecca Knowles

1World Bank, 2004; 2Cowspiracy.com/facts; 3Cowspiracy the movie; 4The Vegan Society

“As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love”. Pythagoras, 500 BC