Just by being vegan you are already doing a tremendous amount to help our non-human friends. Some vegan activists, though, really go the extra mile to free animals, bring awareness, and move the world towards a more peaceful and sustainable future. While there is a great number of people out there doing amazing things I will only talk about some of my personal inspirations and heroes here.
Earthling Ed is probably one of the best-known vegan activists right now. I talked about him before in my vegan podcast article. As a co-founder of Surge, an animal rights organization based on London, he has founded The Official Animal Rights March which has become a global movement with more than 41,000 participants last year. He is famous for his very calm and compassionate debates in public, on his social media, and on his podcast, where he deliberately also invited non-vegans with opposing views to engage in a friendly conversation. He has given guest lectures at numerous colleges including Harvard, created wildly viral speeches, documentaries, and TEDx talks, and opened the Unity Diner, a non-profit vegan restaurant, with all profits going towards helping animals.
For a time in his life Joseph Armstrong (or as you may know him Joey Carbstrong) went down a path of destruction. Gangs, substance abuse, prison. Yet, he turned his life around and devoted himself to helping the most vulnerable beings. Now he is one of the most determined vegan activists fighting the fight. The Australian has fierce debates on the ethics of animal agriculture and the abuse of animals. While his approach is very different from that of Earthling Ed, his determination and advocacy for all sentient beings is admirable. Check out his Instagram and Youtube channel and watch his recent documentary Violated. If you aren’t vegan yet, you will be after seeing his videos.
Working in animal rights since the 70s, Newkirk co-founded PETA in 1980. With her as president, PETA has become the largest animal-rights organization in the world. She is one of the most famous vegan activists and has been for decades. She has also published a few books, most recently Animalkind. Newkirk really takes her activism all the way. She has stated that after she dies she wants her body to be used for activism. That’s dedication to a cause.
Activist, author, founder of the largest farm animal-protection organization in the world; these are just a few amazing things about Milo Runkle. He founded Mercy for Animals when he was just 15 years old. In 2009 he became the youngest person to be inducted in the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame and he has been called one of the top activists under the age of 30.
The story of James is amazing. At age 17 he was told he had only a few weeks left to live due to leukemia and lymphoma if he wouldn’t start a treatment right away. After going through what I can only imagine feels like hell he worked as a fitness and health coach for some years before working on a cruise ship. There he met a “wise, Indian man” who opened his eyes to vegetarianism which he initially tried for 7 days. Soon after, he discovered veganism with all its benefits. In 2014, he went silent for an entire year to protest animal cruelty and bring attention to his cause. That’s what I call devotion! Check out the video of him speaking for the first time after an entire year here.
A social psychologist by training, Melanie Joy is best-known as the author of the iconic book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows. She coined the term carnism, which means the invisible belief system that conditions us to eat certain animals. By bringing awareness to this dominant system, Joy points out why compassionate and ethical, “animal-loving” people act in ways that go against their own moral beliefs. She is the founder of the nonprofit Beyond Carnism and has given effective vegan advocacy trainings in over 50 countries. Watch her incredibly powerful TedX talk here.
If I could I would continue this article and talk about so many more admirable activists. I am so grateful to everyone who is advocating and educating people so that animals will have a better life. I thank them with all my heart and hope they will inspire many more people to go vegan. 🙂
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photo: Veganlifemag.com, Joey Carbstrong, PETA, Mercy for Animals, plantbasednews; courtesy of Melanie Joy