This Butcher Went Vegan and Hid It at Work

Looking for a dose of inspiration? BBC News Scotland recently reported on a man who worked as a butcher for 15 years and then had a change of heart.

Brian Kavanaugh became a butcher at just 16 years old and worked for over a decade slicing and dicing meat. Years later, his wife went vegan and Kavanaugh said she would eat separate meals from him and their kids. At that time he considered going vegan, but it was the documentary Earthlings that pushed him to give up eating animal products for good.

Known as “the vegan maker,” Earthlings is a powerful documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix that shows in graphic detail the disturbing truth behind animals used for food and other exploitation industries

After going vegan, Kanvaugh continued to work as a butcher for a time but hid his veganism from his coworkers. Eventually though, he realized his job no longer aligned with his values.

“I kept it to myself,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone because I was worried about them making jokes. Before I just looked at it as a piece of meat going on a dinner plate but then you see it as an animal and not just a steak. I was a bit depressed, it just didn’t feel good, so I had to leave.”

Today, Kavanaugh says his skin is clearer, his mind is less foggy, and he feels great. He currently works for a plant-based meat company based in Glasgow called Sgaia’s Vegan Meats. Calling himself a “vegan butcher,” Kavanaugh helps them produce vegan meats such as streaky bacon, burgers, and charcuterie. He was also instrumental in helping launch one of Sgaia’s most sought-after products, vegan lorne sausage – a square-shaped Scottish sausage often eaten at breakfast. Honestly, their stuff looks AMAZING!

This story fills me with hope because when you think if Brian Kavanuagh – a 15-year butcher – can go vegan, anyone can. It reminded me of Elmhurst Dairy, which closed its doors after 90 years as a dairy producer only to reopen as a plant-based milk company. Or how about the people who run Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Texas? They used to be cattle ranchers but one day decided they just couldn’t do it anymore and converted their ranch into a sanctuary.

The truth is anyone can change.