A truly lovely article! I, too, used to rehearse the “why are you a vegetarian” and later, the “why are you a vegan” question. As a vegetarian for 30 years, my husband had always known me as such, but when I went vegan, he had similar confessions as your boyfriend. For me, it goes beyond empathy but to a simple matter of wrong and right. In the animal world there is a ‘circle of life’ with predators and prey to sustain life. Anyone who has ever seen an animal killed in the wild knows that there is absolutely no waste and there is certainly no unnecessary torture. The animals that are taken, tortured, slaughtered, tested on, etc. so that we humans can supposedly live a more fruitful life is ludicrous and wrong, as well as completely unnecessary. There are non-animal alternatives to nearly everything that are even better than their animal-based counterparts — whether it be food, personal care, or clothing. Animal based products also take a huge toll on our environment — the very core to sustaining our lives. I realize I am preaching so I will step off my soapbox now and just thank you for giving another perspective to veganism.