Barefoot Vegan Mag Jan_Feb 2017


Hello beautiful people!




some of the nicest people I’ve ever met have been

vegan and some of the meanest people I’ve ever

met have also been vegan too. I strongly believe

that if we truly want to promote radical change in

this world, then we need to exercise our

compassion muscles in all areas of our lives – not

just in promoting veganism. And so the theme

for this issue is compassion – and that’s a

wonderful theme to start the New Year with,

don’t you think? As usual we’ve got lots of beautiful and inspiring content to help us identify

areas in our lives where compassion plays its part. Founder of Free From Harm and author

of the new book ‘Farm to Fable’, Robert Grillo is our front cover interview and he gives us a

fascinating insight into the marketing strategies of the animal agriculture industries; how

fact is mixed with fiction to make myths our reality and it’s the animals that suffer. We

meet the super cool Jez Haur from Hipster Veggie to discuss compassion for self and how to

promote veganism in our communities; author Sarah Withrow King explains how caring for

animals can help shape our faith in God, and Dr. Casey Taft shares his thoughts regarding

oppressive behaviours in the vegan anti-natalist movement. We’ve also got some delicious

recipes from leading vegan children’s book author Ruby Roth, from her new book ‘The Help

Yourself Cookbook for Kids’, a few favourites from ‘Homestyle Vegan’ by Amber St. Peter

that will take you back to the taste of home, and we caught up with Tess Masters (a.k.a The

Blender Girl) to get her top tips for setting health goals for the New Year and her favourite

recipes from her new book: ‘The Perfect Blend’. Plus there’s so much more! As vegans we

already seek to live a life reflective of our values of kindness and compassion. So I’ll leave

you with this thought… What other ways are there that we can turn this compassion into

action to help bring more love and justice into the world in 2017?

With love,

Emma Letessier

Regular Contributors...

Anneka Svenska is the founder of

‘Green World Television’ & ‘Angels for

the Innocent Foundation’. To view

some of the Green World TV Films

Anneka has released please click here .

You can also visit her website & connect

with her on Facebook & Twitter.

Valerie McGowan is the Director of the

Vegan Society of Humboldt & studied

Holistic Nutrition . She writes about

intersectional veganism & how Christian

teachings support a vegan lifestyle. You

can read Valerie’s writing at her website

& connect with her on Facebook.

Katrina Fox is an award-winning

journalist, media and PR consultant,

founder of the content and events

platform Vegan Business Media and

host of Vegan Business Talk podcast.

Visit her website & connect with her on

Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Julia Feliz Brueck is an illustrator &

runs a vegan craftivist page, where she

posts about cruelty-free craft. She holds

two diplomas in illustration, as well as

undergraduate & graduate degrees in

marine science & conservation ecology.

Connect with her on Facebook.

Linda Monahan is an ethical vegan,

writer, poet, priestess & flower

essence practitioner. You can find out

more about Linda’s work by visiting her


Clare Mann is a psychologist, bestselling

author & animal advocate. She

provides skills training to help vegans

& animal advocates communicate

more effectively. Visit her website &

connect with her via Facebook &


January/February 2017

Barefoot Vegan Magazine

Honey Morris is the creator of

Veggie Yum Yums, a friendly vegan

Facebook page, & she’s also the

Assistant Online Editor of Barefoot

Vegan. Click here to visit her



Emma Letessier

Advertising enquiries

Tom Leslie is a lover of endurance

sport, especially running and cycling.

A key reason for opting for the vegan

lifestyle was his love for animals and

his desire for all creatures to be free

from harm and exploitation.

Got a story idea?

Click here to find out

about writing for

Barefoot Vegan...


Emma Letessier

Barefoot Vegan’ is a trade mark of Letessier

Communications Ltd.

ISSN 2058-9840

© 2017 Letessier Communications Ltd. All

rights reserved.

While every effort has been made to ensure that

information is correct at the time of publication, the

authors and publisher cannot be held responsible

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the information contained in this publication.

The publishers or authors do not give any warranty

for the completeness or accuracy for this

publication’s content, explanation or opinion.

This magazine is not intended as a substitute for the

medical advice of physicians. The reader should

regularly consult a physician in matters relating to

his/her health and particularly with respect to any

symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical


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All images used have been sourced via Shutterstock,, and Images used in

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8 The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids

Recipes from author Ruby Roth’s latest book

17 Homestyle Vegan

Amber St. Peter shares vegan recipes that capture

that taste of home

24 The Perfect Blend

Tess Masters shares her tips for setting New Year

health goals plus recipes from her new book

36 Veganism is Compassion

Stacey Cook shares why she believes the two are

inextricably linked

40 Hipster Veggie

We meet London YouTuber Jez Haur to discuss

compassion for self & inspiring your community

46 Compassion Fatigue

Author Jennifer Blough on how to cope with burn out

when caring for others

50 Confessions of a Vegan Heretic

With Valerie McGowan

54 Faith and Compassion

A Christian take on what it means to live




Robert Grillo: We spoke with author,

founder and director of Free From

Harm, Robert Grillo, on some of the

myths that prevent us from living





66 Compassion Over Cruelty

A film to challenge what we know about cruelty-free cosmetics


72 Vegangelical

Author Sarah Withrow King on how caring for animals can

shape our faith

78 Curbside Compassion

Linda Monahan on our attitude to animals killed on roads

82 Compassion for Animals Through Veganism

With Tom Leslie


88 Why Compassion is Essential to Social Justice

With Katrina Fox

96 Anti-Natalism is Bad for Veganism

Dr. Casey Taft shares his thoughts on oppressive behaviours

in the vegan anti-natalists movement

102 Craft as Activism

Author and illustrator, Julia Feliz Brueck on creative ways to

speak up for animals

104 Compassionate Crafting


Honey Morris shares her love of crafting and how to ensure it

remains vegan-friendly

“Your kiddos, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and students

are going to go bananas for this book! It's also the perfect

gift for adults who are "too busy" to eat healthy. There's no

easier cookbook, ha!” - Ruby Roth


Struggling to get your kids to eat their

fruits and vegetables? Try letting them

help themselves!

Ruby Roth is the world's leading author and illustrator of

vegan and vegetarian books for kids and her latest

offering is the gorgeously illustrated Help Yourself

Cookbook for Kids.

Experts tell us the best way to teach kids healthy eating

habits is to involve them in the process. This irresistible

cookbook presents 60 appealing recipes kids will beg to

make themselves, in fun and charming illustrations they

will love. Bursting with colour, humour, cute animal

characters, and cool facts (did you know your brain

actually shrinks when you're dehydrated? Drink water,

quick!), Help Yourself empowers children to take charge

of their own nutrition - for now and for life!

Ruby has shared three of her favourite recipes with us

from the book. So what are you waiting for? Get those

kiddies busy in the kitchen!

Click on the cover image above to

buy your copy.


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Amber St. Peter is known for her delicious and

approachable recipes that inspire the vegan community

to cook at home more often.

In her latest book, Homestyle Vegan, you’ll have

access to creative vegan remakes of old favourites.

There’s 80 incredible recipes―each paired with a

beautiful photo―this book will have everyone

round your dinner table begging for more. You’ll

be cooking healthier dishes that remind you of

home in no time.

Amber has very generously shared three of her

favourite recipes from the book with us. Enjoy!

To get your copy of this

delightful cookbook, just

click on the cover image.

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Baked Butternut Squash

Mac ‘N’ Cheese

My mum made a mean baked mac ‘n’ cheese when I was a kid. Cheesy, ooey-gooey and covered in

crispy bread crumbs—it was one of my favourite meals! This butternut squash version blends the

sweet and savory flavours of winter squash into a cheesy sauce to make a meal that’ll totally take

you back to childhood. I covered mine in bread crumbs, too. Mum would be proud!



6 cups (840 g) peeled and cubed butternut squash (1" [2.5 cm] cubes)

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 lb (454 g) elbow noodles

1 ½ cups (360 ml) unsweetened almond milk

2/3 cup (80 g) nutritional yeast

3 tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice

1 tbsp (14 g) Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic

½ tsp turmeric

1/3 cup (50 g) bread crumbs

Fresh parsley, for garnish


Creamier mac

more your style?

Skip the baking!

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (205ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the cubed squash onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake

for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until fork-tender. Keep the oven on.

While the squash roasts, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Pour in the elbow noodles and a pinch of salt and

bring back to a boil. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Strain and set aside.

When the squash is ready, pour it into a high-speed blender or food processor along with the almond milk,

nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, turmeric and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend until

smooth, then pour the mixture over the cooked noodles and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish, top with the bread crumbs and bake for about 15

minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley!

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Pot Pie

Pot pies stuffed with seasonal vegetables are the best. Easy to make and even easier to eat up, they

come together quickly and have plenty of room for experimentation. This healthier, meat-free

version topped with a buttery crust has become a go-to weeknight dinner in our house!



1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup (150 g) chopped yellow onion

3 cups (475 g) frozen mixed green beans, carrots, corn

and peas (or sub fresh!)

1 cup (225 g) cubed red potatoes ( ½ " [1.3 cm] cubes)

½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour

2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tbsp (15 g) vegan butter, melted


2 ¼ cups (281 g) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp (15 g) sugar

1 tsp salt

½ cup (115 g) cold vegan butter or coconut oil

1/3 to ½ cup (80 to 120 ml) ice water

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (205ºC). Grease an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20-cm) square baking dish.

Prepare the crust by combining the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry

cutter or fork until small crumbs form. Drizzle in the ice water, using a wooden spoon to stir the mixture together until

a dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge to chill.

To prepare the filling, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until

soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mixed vegetables and potatoes and stir to combine. Next, add in the flour and stir to coat

the vegetables. Then, whisk in the vegetable broth. Finally, add the bay leaves, salt and pepper and simmer the mixture

until thickened, about 10 minutes.

While the mixture thickens, remove the crust from the fridge and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Split the

dough into two halves. Roll them out to about ¼ -inch (6-mm) thickness, and press one half of the dough into the

greased baking dish, being sure to cover the dish completely. Set the other rolled-out dough aside for the top layer of

the pie.

Once the sauce has thickened, remove the bay leaves and discard. Pour the thickened vegetable filling into the crustlined

baking dish. Carefully place the second crust over the top, using a fork or your fingers to press together the edges.

Poke a few small holes in the top for steam to escape using a fork or a toothpick. Brush the top generously with the

melted vegan butter.

Bake the pie for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Chocolate Chip

Cookie Bars

These bars are FREAKY good. Packed with protein from the peanut butter, they’re basically a

workout food . . . that’s how that works, right? They’re sweet, chewy, ooey-gooey and very worthy

of your next girls’ night Netflix marathon.


1 cup (192 g) sugar

1 cup (180 g) peanut butter

¾ cup (180 ml) unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (7 g) baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup (100 g) vegan chocolate chips or chunks


Tip For denser,

fudgier bars be sure

to refrigerate the

bars for at least 2

hours before eating.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Line or grease an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20-cm) baking dish and set aside.

In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. Pour in the flour,

baking powder and salt and beat until a stiff batter forms. Fold in the chocolate chips, then add the batter to the

prepared baking dish, using a wooden spoon to press the batter evenly into the pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled, cut into 12 equal bars and serve!

Recipe credit: All recipes in this article reprinted from Homestyle Vegan by Amber St. Peter with the

permission of Page Street Publishing Co.

Photo credits: Amber St. Peter

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Tess Masters - a.k.a. The Blender Girl— is an online phenomenon and in

her new book (The Perfect Blend) she offers up 100 recipes for healthy living

with tasty, crowd-pleasing dishes to help boost nutrition.

The Perfect Blend functions not only as a cookbook but also as a

guide for how to lead a more vibrant and healthy life. Tess lays

out a dozen healthy goals for readers, capitalising on current

trends such as gaining energy, boosting immunity, reducing

inflammation, detoxing the body, and probiotic power. Then,

using her fun, playful voice, she gives easy-to-follow recipes for

smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides, soups, mains, and desserts

that help get results fast. Including a guide to key ingredients, an

extensive resources section, and optional nutritional boosters for

each recipe, The Perfect Blend will help readers find their own

perfect blend.

We spoke with Tess to get her tips for setting New Year

health goals and she has also very kindly shared some

of her favourite recipes from The Perfect Blend. To get

your copy, just click on the cover image, right >

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It’s the New Year, and your book is perfect for

those of us who need a health reboot! What

are some of the health goals people should be

setting for themselves?

There are a few easy things people can do to achieve optimal


Hydrate: drink plenty of low sugar fluids like filtered water,

freshly made juices, and herbal teas, as well as increase the

intake of high-water contents raw fruits and vegetables like

melons, cucumber, celery, lettuces and leafy greens, citrus

fruits, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Go Green: increase the consumption of green vegetables

like spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, bok choy, arugula,

lettuces, broccoli, brussel sprouts and other mineral-rich

vegetables. Either use them in a salad, or add them to stirfries,

stews, and soups, or throw them into a smoothie.

Push The Probiotics: include pre-biotic and probiotic-rich

foods to aid gut health and immunity. Include beverages like

kefir, kombucha, or rejuvelac, eat ½ cup of cultured

vegetables with a meal, or add some probiotic powder to a

smoothie or juice.

80/20 Plate: Reverse your thinking about portions. Consider

filling 80% of the plate with vegetables and 20% with clean

protein choices.

Move: engage in some kind of gentle movement – walking,

rebounding, stretching every day, and some kind of weight

bearing exercise a few times a week.

How does the content in The Perfect Blend

support people towards achieving these


I open the book with a master list of nutrient-dense hero

foods that help keep the body in optimal health. Anchored

to this master list, the recipes are then divided into 12

chapters, all categorised by health goals. You can make

recipes to gain energy, optimise protein intake, boost

immunity, lose weight, combat inflammation, lower carbs,

utilise healthy fats, include probiotics, balance alkalinity,

combine foods for optimal digestion, or just blend fabulous

flavours for culinary pleasure.

Each chapter opens with the top foods that help

you achieve that specific goal, practical information

about their health benefits, and tips for how to blend

them for amazing textures and tastes. Then, there are

recipes for smoothies, elixirs, snacks, salads, sides,

mains, and desserts utilising these foods. So,

incorporating your daily quota of fruits and veggies is

easy and fun.

The recipes are designed to be functional and

flexible, and all include three optional boosters that

enhance flavour and nutrition. So, you can tailor these

meals and snacks to your own preferences to find your

perfect blend.

On your blog, you describe your own

health journey, and explain that one of

the biggest lessons you learnt was that

there is no ‘one size fits all’ diet approach.

What advice would you give to others who

are still searching for the way of eating to

suit them best?

Yes! I dogmatically followed countless whole foods

diets, and the moment I embraced the concept of bioindividuality,

and adopted a flexible and fluid approach

to health and nutrition my whole world opened up.

We all have varying needs depending on our genes,

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“Perception is a huge

barrier to healthy

living. When you have

amazing recipes,

vegetables can be sexy,


delicious, and really


age, activity levels, overall health, and so on. And there is a

lot of conflicting information about health and nutrition. It

can be confusing to know what to do. But, the one thing

that everybody agrees on is vegetables are a boon to health.

So, I always start there. Vegetables are a great base from

which to build a healthy diet around. Beyond that, keep a

food diary, and note what you eat, and any changes in your

body. After a week or two a very clear pattern develops.

With this personal experience, take this information to a

healthcare practitioner who can help you interpret and

study the information further.

Read books, look at cookbooks or food websites, and

compile a great collection of staple recipes that are plantbased,

taste delicious, and are easy to prepare. Healthy

living must be fun or it doesn’t stick.

What do you think are the major challenges

people face today regarding access to

healthful foods? And what advice would you

give on how to overcome them?

Perception is a huge barrier to healthy living. When you

have amazing recipes, vegetables can be sexy, mindblowingly

delicious, and really enjoyable. Arm yourself with

the tools to succeed – great recipes, friends and family who

want to prepare healthy food with you, and set goals and be

accountable to making positive lifestyle changes. Join

groups to meet other people with similar interests and goals

so you’re not in it alone.

Getting extreme – going cold turkey off of your

favourite foods or coming at things from a place of

deprivation is never any fun. Be gentle with yourself

while you make changes. Small consistent shifts with

encouragement and love is the best strategy for lasting


Finances – fresh foods can be expensive. So, if

budget is holding you back, head up to your local

farmers’ market towards closing time, and see what

boxes of produce they’re giving away at a huge

discount. Join a CSA or community garden, and start

growing your own food. You can grow many vegetables

and herbs in small pots on a balcony or small backyard.

What’s one of your favourite recipes from

your latest book?

There are so many delicious recipes. But the shiitake

and asparagus lettuce cups with lime drench on page

126 hold a special place in my heart because they’re

super easy, take less than 30 minutes to throw

together, and are low in carbs. We’ve been enjoying

these for many years and they’re always a huge hit. I

served them at my launch party for The Blender Girl

Smoothies and woke up the next morning after the

party with over 100 texts, calls, and emails begging me

for the recipe. I knew I had a winner.

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shiitake & asparagus lettuce cups with

lime drench



lime drench

¼ cup (60ml) fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos, gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari

1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1½ teaspoons coconut sugar or other sweetener


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

1 small green chile, ribbed, seeded, and finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 cup (72g) finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)

6 cups (312g) finely diced shiitake or cremini mushrooms

1 cup (110g) finely diced zucchini (1⁄2 medium zucchini)

1 cup (140g) finely diced asparagus (about 5 medium spears)

¼ cup (60ml) toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari

1⁄2 cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro

16 large butter, Bibb, or romaine lettuce leaves (outer leaves of about 4 heads)

optional boosters

Pinch of red pepper flakes

½ cup (70g) raw or dry-toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons gomasio (ground sesame seeds and sea salt) or sesame seeds

To make the lime drench, throw all of the ingredients, including the red pepper flake booster, into your blender and

blast on high for about 30 seconds until well combined. Transfer to a container and set aside.

To make the filling, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic, green chile, ginger,

green onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to about half the

volume; gradually add the sesame oil and liquid aminos as the mixture cools. Don’t overcook or the vegetables will get

mushy. Stir in the cilantro and the pine nut booster.

To assemble, scoop ¼ cup (50g) of the filling into each lettuce leaf, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the lime drench, and

sprinkle with the gomasio booster. Serve immediately, passing the remaining lime drench at the table. These are

fabulous cold, too. Chill the filling and the dressing before assembling.

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nutritional facts (per serving, based on 16 servings)

calories 65 kcal | fat 5.3 g | saturated fat 0.7 g | sodium 224.4 mg |

carbs 3.9 g | fiber 1.1 g | sugars 1.5 g | protein 1.4 g | calcium 16.1 mg |

iron 0.6 mg

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avocado avenger



¾ cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons finely grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1 teaspoon natural salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

¾ cup (30g) firmly packed mint leaves, plus more to garnish

¾ cup (30g) firmly packed cilantro leaves, plus more to garnish

½ cup (24g) firmly packed finely chopped chives, plus more to garnish

4 avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

¼ cup (35g) peeled and finely diced English cucumber

¼ cup (35g) seeded and finely diced tomatoes

optional boosters

½ cup (55g) shaved zucchini ribbons (½ small zucchini)

¼ cup (70g) seeded and finely diced watermelon, plus more to taste

¼ cup (35g) raw sprouted watermelon seeds

To make the chimichurri, throw the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes into

your blender and blast on high for 10 to 20 seconds, until the sauce is emulsified and the zest, garlic, and pepper flakes

have been completely pulverized. Add the mint, cilantro, and chives, and pulse on high for a few seconds, then on low

for a few seconds just to break down the herbs, but keeping the dressing very loose and not completely blended.

On a large platter, lay out the zucchini ribbon booster. Then place the avocado halves cut sides up on top of the

zucchini, like boats. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the chimichurri into each pit hole. Next, place 1 teaspoon diced tomato and

1 teaspoon diced cucumber into each pit hole or on top of each avocado. Place 1 teaspoon of the watermelon booster on

top. With a squeeze bottle or a spoon, drizzle more chimichurri sauce onto the avocados. Top with a sprinkle of mint,

cilantro, chives, and the watermelon seed booster. Sprinkle with the remaining tomato and cucumber and with the

remaining (or more) watermelon booster if desired. Enjoy immediately.

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 8 servings)

calories 350 kcal | fat 35 g | saturated fat 5 g | sodium 301.5 mg | carbs 13.9 g | fiber 7.4

g | sugars 1.2 g | protein 2.5 g | calcium 30.3 mg | iron 1 mg

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french toast with caramelised bananas


french toast

1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond or macadamia milk (strained if homemade)

1 ripe medium banana

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to serve

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1 tablespoon white (or black) chia seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon natural salt

8 slices gluten-free sandwich bread

1⁄4 cup (60ml) coconut oil (in liquid form), plus more as needed

caramelised bananas

2 medium bananas, thickly sliced on the diagonal

1⁄4 cup (37g) coconut sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form)

Pure maple syrup, to serve

optional boosters

1⁄4 cup (60ml) bourbon or rum

2 tablespoons crushed raw pecans or walnuts

1 tablespoon unsweetened dried shredded coconut

Set the oven to its lowest temperature or the “warm” setting.

To make the French toast, pour the milk, banana, maple syrup, vanilla, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt into your

blender and blast on high for about 30 seconds, until well combined. Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking dish

and let rest for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. In batches, place slices of the bread in the baking dish and let soak

on one side for 8 to 10 seconds. Flip the slices and let soak for another 8 to 10 seconds, until evenly moistened.

In a medium skillet (that fits two slices of bread) or on a large griddle (that holds all of the slices) over medium heat,

warm 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per two slices of bread. (Resist the urge to use less coconut oil, or the bread

won’t get crispy.) Add the bread and fry for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy on the edges;

you may need to add more coconut oil after you flip the bread. If cooking in batches, transfer the French toast to a

lined baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm, and repeat to fry the remaining bread, adding more coconut oil

to cook each batch.

While the last pieces of toast are cooking, make the caramelized bananas. Combine the banana slices and the coconut

sugar in a zipper-lock bag, seal, and shake to coat evenly. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the coconut oil,

add the coated bananas and the bourbon booster, and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until nicely caramelised.

Serve two slices of French toast on each plate, topped with one-quarter of the caramelized bananas, one-quarter of the

crushed nut boosters, and one-quarter of the coconut booster. Pass maple syrup at the table.

CREDIT: All recipes in this article reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters.

Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart.

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nutritional facts (per serving)

calories 476 kcal | fat 26.4 g | saturated fat 16.4 g | sodium 414.3 mg |

carbs 60.5 g |fiber 6.1 g | sugars 29.4 g | protein 6.5 g | calcium 78.6 mg |

iron 1 mg

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By Stacey Cook

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Each choice along this path

is made with mindfulness and

deep consideration for

ourselves, for others and

for all animals.


ompassion. It’s likely the most important trait we

can develop, nurture and pass on. The ability to

feel another’s suffering and deeply wish to end

that suffering has profound power individually

and world-changing potential collectively.

In a world dominated by a “me” culture, this emotion

stands out as a game changer. Often, it’s the catalyst to

great change through its creation of thoughtfulness,

kindness and right action. A life lived with compassion as

the focal point is the most efficient way to creating our best

selves and our best world. It is the simplest strategy to

living out Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote, “Be the change

that you wish to see in the world”.

And like Gandhi, compassion doesn’t discriminate.

Therefore, understanding another’s suffering is not

dependent upon their species. All sentient beings suffer, and

more importantly, all desire not to. Showing compassion to

those similar to ourselves is helpful (some would even say

easier), but showering it to the world and to all who

experience pain is a necessity if we want to create a kinder,

more peaceful place to live.

It’s a fact that animals feel no less pain than we do.

Making any distinction or drawing lines between us/them,

defeats any real progress on this front. With that in mind,

choosing a vegan lifestyle becomes the definition of living a

compassionate life.

Each choice along this path is made with mindfulness

and deep consideration for ourselves, for others and for all

animals. It takes a very caring individual to devote their

time, sacrifice their convenience, and endure living on the

outskirts of today’s society - all to ease the suffering of


Compassion for Ourselves

We are told that you must love yourself before you

can fully love another. The same argument could be

made for compassion. How can we begin to

understand another’s anguish and ultimately desire

to help them, if we haven’t attempted to lessen our


Many of the worst types of physical suffering are

attributed to the consumption of animal products.

The American Cancer Society confirmed this when it

concluded that red and processed meats are

carcinogenic. And science consistently proves that

cooking beef, pork, fish and poultry at high

temperatures, whether over a stove or a grill,

increases cancer risk.

Add this information to what we already know

about antibiotics and hormones in animal products

and it’s a no brainer - giving up meat and dairy is in

our own best interest. It takes a pro-active mindset

to prevent chronic illness and disease. Making the

effort to greatly lower your chances of extreme

suffering from heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more

is a tremendous act of self-compassion.

Compassion for Others

The health benefits of being vegan don’t end with us.

They are plentiful, far-reaching and we can lavish

them on the world with our commitment to abstain

from animal products.

Raising animals for food is destroying not only our

health but our planet’s as well. Factory farming is

one of the largest contributors to climate change,

land degradation, water pollution and more. Plus,

the amount of grain used to feed the animals we are

raising for meat/dairy is enough to feed our world’s

hungry. Take that in for a moment… We could

BAREFOOTVegan | 37


Compassion becomes a practice that

expands its reach and becomes allencompassing

with time and attention.

possibly stop world hunger by refusing to consume


Each time a decision is made (whether mindfully or

not) to consume or refrain from animal products, it has

an impact on every life on earth. Multiple choices are

presented to us each day to have a positive or negative

impact on our family members, friends, neighbours

near/far and for all future generations.

Taking a stand, going against the grain, doing what is

simply “right” and going or staying vegan is an act of

compassion for others … for the world.

Compassion for Animals

Working towards ending the world’s suffering is an

excellent end goal, but why not start with not causing it

in the first place?

Eating animal products is the most direct cause of

animal suffering. What’s worse, is that eating animals is

not mandatory or even necessary. We’ve been

conditioned to think it is, but a balanced vegan diet

provides all the vitamins, minerals and protein we need.

Plant sources are available to supply vitamin D, B12 and

Omega 3, the three most often cited as “lacking” from a

cruelty-free diet.

Even if you truly like the taste of meat, the new meat

alternatives are surprisingly close to the real thing and

can be eaten with a clear conscience.

Same for apparel. Determining between wants and

needs here is imperative. The truth is we don’t “need” to

consume animals in any form. Once this realisation is

made, it becomes clear how to stop suffering before it

begins. Going vegan severs the direct cause/effect link

between the person with buying power and the

defenseless animals who suffer for it.

If you factor compassion into your buying decisions,

the choice is easy. And choice is the key word. The path

to a more humane world boils down to each choice

culminating in change.

Current vegans are leading by example to push this

idea forward. Leading with compassion for those simply

interested, or trying it out, will open far more doors

than a strict all-or-nothing approach. Veganism is

typically a process. There are of course exceptions, but

my experience has been that most give up one animal

product at a time. Each achievement along the way is

important in creating lasting change. And each

compassionate act, no matter how small, deserves to be

celebrated and encouraged with equal amounts of


To quote Gandhi again, “Compassion is a muscle that

gets stronger with use.” Every meal, purchase, and

interaction is as an opportunity to flex this muscle and

strengthen it. Compassion becomes a practice that

expands its reach and becomes all-encompassing with

time and attention.

This truth is evident because veganism is on the rise.

More and more people are adopting the lifestyle and the

affect really is benefitting humans, animals and the

environment. More and more of us are considering and

subscribing to a future filled with more compassion for

all. And by simply and openly living our lives in this

way, we bring more normalcy to the lifestyle, open more

doors for discussion on the topic and create smoother

transitions for others. In truth, veganism is compassion

and a definite path to a kinder world. BV

Stacey Cook is a freelance

writer that combines her

education, work and

volunteer experiences to

raise awareness around

causes she’s passionate

about. Follow her work at

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“When you can cater to yourself, you start to

be better equipped to cater to other people

without feeling so overwhelmed.”

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Jez Kaur



Jez Haur is a vegan YouTuber bringing to

light the importance of compassion for

self and empowering your health with

organic, plant-based foods. Having grown

up in London, embracing her Punjabi

heritage has helped Jez radically

transform her outlook on life. We caught

up with her to find out more…

BAREFOOTVegan | 41

Tell us about yourself and how you

came to be vegan…

I think the first thing that made me switch my diet was

when I was about 18. I was on holiday for a week with

my friends. It was a week of very unhealthy living and I

came back and my brother was in hospital and no one

had told me. It turned out that he had diabetes and my

father has always said that he was the healthy one in the

family. He always went to the gym; he followed the

men's health lifestyle of a high protein-low carb diet,

something that we believed to be very healthy back

then. And he's only five years older than me, so he must

have been about 24 when he got diabetes. Some of my

other family members had high cholesterol and cancer.

Cancer was just popping up everywhere around me.

I went vegetarian and then I went vegan. I began

talking to my parents about how they used to live. I

started to read about how our lifestyle has changed so

much from how it was even in my parents’ generation

and that this can be a factor in the high cancer rate. I

realised that our body and health is affected hugely by

what we eat. We can have a generic predisposition to

being obese, having heart disease or cancer, but if we

adjust our lifestyle we can limit those genes from

expressing themselves. It's about taking our health back

into our own hands.

How would you define self-care? And

how does that show up in a practical

way in your everyday life?

Self-love is being selfish in a sense, but being selfish has

a really negative connotation in society today. But we

need to get rid of that because being selfish can be a first

step to being self-less. When you can cater to yourself,

you start to be able to be better equipped to cater to

other people without feeling so overwhelmed because

now you are running on full fuel. How this looks in my

everyday life is apparent in what I choose to eat.

Obviously I go out. I don't stop my social life from

existing, because that is also a part of self-love. I have

friends, I have a social life but on a day-to-day basis I

only consume organic food. I only buy from local shops

when I can and that is how I see me loving myself. I

want to consume certain foods because I see my body

and my health as being very important. It deserves the

best food that I can provide.

You’ve mentioned before that

vegetarianism is quite common place

in many Indian communities, but a

lot of Indian families that come over

to the UK or to other Western

countries leave their previous

lifestyle behind and it begins to

become detrimental to their health.

So from your perspective, what are

some of the biggest health challenges

that are facing your community?

In terms of disease, cancer, heart disease and diabetes

are the top three threats to my community. It's so

common amongst us and I think it’s one of the risks of

being an immigrant. You literally leave everything that >

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you know behind and you have to change the way that you

behave once you come to this new soil. Nothing is familiar

to you so you try to change your lifestyle. You no longer eat

those organic fresh fruits and vegetables. You're eating

these convenience foods and they're using ingredients

totally alien to you and your ancestors. I think those are

the things that really affect the South Asian community.

Heart disease is something that comes along, obviously

because of food, but also because of stress levels. Being an

immigrant is a very, very stressful thing in itself. I think all

of that combined - changing the food, changing the

environment - really takes its toll on the body. I can't even

imagine being a first generation immigrant, it must be

really difficult.

You learned Punjabi to connect and

learn from your grandparents and they

have really encouraged you to embrace

a simple lifestyle. What are some of the

most important lessons that you've

learned from them?

My granddad’s literally the coolest guy on the planet. He’s

got a huge beard and he's a Sikh, so he carries around a

sword with him all the time. How can you not be a cool

guy looking like that, right? He's awesome. There are a few

things I've learned, but the first one would be the

importance of growing organic fruit and vegetables

yourself. He has his own garden and it's not a big

garden, just a couple of metres, but he's got so

much. He’s got his garlic, his kale, his spinach, his

beetroot, his carrots. And he's grown so much in

abundance. And he stresses so much that we don't need

to add chemicals to our produce because it's from

Mother Earth. From God. We don't need to tamper with

it because it's perfect the way it is. He's a firm believer

that there is a Creator and we are the created. We

should be looking after ourselves with that kind of


They also taught me how to embrace being

Punjabi and that we have come from a small village. I

used to think it was the most un-cool thing in the world

when I was younger. I remember one of my earliest

thoughts was I wished that I was white because of where

I grew up. I look at that now and I see that was so

messed up. Having dialogue with my grandparents

makes me realise that being who I am is really cool and

there's so much to learn about from the ways back


At the Vevolution Festival that was

held in London in November last

year, you were on a discussion panel -

BAREFOOTVegan | 44

and one of the questions that came up was,

"How can we ensure the vegan movement is

more inclusive?” Can you recap on your

thoughts on this for any readers that

weren't present?

That was a great question because it's one thing identifying a

problem, but we also need to come up with a solution. I think one

of the biggest things we can do is be open with our dialogue so

that we aren’t just speaking to vegans or those that follow a plantbased

diet. We should encourage people who eat meat, people

who don't love themselves, people who don't love animals and talk

openly with all of them about why they should give veganism a go

without making them feel intimidated about it or that they are

going to be labelled.

We need to realise that there's a massive world out there. As

vegans, we're still the minority and we need to engage with people

who are the majority. You’re never going to agree 100% with

anyone on this planet, so if you can find some common ground

cling to that. Everyone's different and we need to identify our

similarities and fight the good fight together.

What's next for you? Have you got any

projects for Hipster Veggie on the horizon?

I'm currently studying to be a health coach, so that will be a

service I’ll have up and running pretty soon. I’ll be working in the

community to help people move towards a plant-based diet,

looking at any nutritional deficiencies they might have and

helping them with food shopping, etc. There are a lot of other

things that I’ve also got in the pipeline for the New Year but I

won’t say too much about them just yet! BV

For more information on Jez’s

work visit her website. You can

also connect with her via

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram

and Twitter.

Jennifer Blough is a professional counsellor,

certified compassion fatigue therapist, and certified

pet loss grief specialist. She owns a private

practice in southeast Michigan called Deepwater

Counselling and has recently published a book about

coping with compassion fatigue.

Tell us about yourself…

I have been involved in animal welfare/rights in some capacity since I

was a child. I became vegetarian at a very young age and attended my

first protest with my grandma (also a vegetarian) when I was about 12.

My grandma was very involved in the animal rights movement and I

followed in her footsteps, including eventually going vegan. I also

have a professional background in animal welfare, including work at

shelters and as an animal control officer. I ended up becoming a

therapist after a personal tragedy. My special-needs parrot and

feathered soul mate, Albert, died suddenly in 2011, which turned my

world upside down. As I worked through my grief, I realised that

resources for people struggling with companion animal loss were

scarce, and so I wanted to become that resource.

What is compassion fatigue?

Compassion fatigue is the emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion

that occurs when caring for animals or people who are suffering or

have been traumatised. It’s not a mental disorder nor an illness; it’s

simply a normal consequence of caring so much that it hurts. All

caregivers and helping professionals – from nurses to police officers to

veterinarians – are vulnerable to compassion fatigue.

“Compassion fatigue

is the emotional,

physical, and mental

exhaustion that

occurs when caring

What inspired you to want to specialise in

this particular area?

It wasn’t until I went back to grad school to study

psychology that I learned about compassion fatigue. It

was emphasised in my program because therapists can

easily develop it when working with traumatised clients.

As I learned more about it, I thought, ‘so this is what I’ve

been struggling with all these years… it actually has a

name!’ In addition to pet loss grief, I wanted to specialise

in compassion fatigue, particularly among animal welfare

professionals and animal rights activists because these

populations are underserved, misunderstood, and so

saturated with pain and grief. Their pain and grief is

often not recognised or accepted by mainstream society.

By that I mean there are a lot of misconceptions out there

that this community is either a bunch of “animal nuts

who care more about animals than people” or they go to

work and play with puppies and kittens all day. Nothing

could be further from the truth. Whether you are

exposed to videos of factory farming or you work with

animals that have been abused, our community faces an

extraordinary amount of trauma and grief.

Why is compassion fatigue a problem?

Compassion fatigue is a huge problem within the animal

welfare and rights community. It affects those of us who

care the most, and so we run the risk of those people

burning out and leaving the field altogether. Untreated

compassion fatigue can lead to serious problems such as

clinical depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Veterinarians and animal control officers have alarmingly

high rates of suicide. Compassion fatigue not only takes a

toll on us personally, but also affects our relationships

with others and spills over into our work. Employers

should take compassion fatigue very seriously as it affects

for animals or people

who are suffering or

staff and volunteer morale, work productivity, and


What are some of the warning signs that

you’re suffering from it?

Compassion fatigue can look different for everyone.

For me personally, sometimes it sits quietly simmering

on the back burner and other times it boils over. It’s

really important to know your own warning signs so

that you can take steps to manage it. Some of those

warning signs or symptoms include sadness, anger,

anxiety, sleep problems, appetite disturbance,

nightmares or flashbacks, low energy, lack of

motivation, grief, wanting to withdraw from others or

isolate yourself, guilt, feeling empty or numb, work

problems, relationship conflicts, low self-esteem, poor

concentration, bodily complaints such as tight muscles

or headaches, developing a bad attitude or negative

worldview, unhealthy coping skills such as alcohol

abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

In your experience, how common is it for

those working with animals and humans

to suffer from it?

have been


Not only is compassion fatigue common, but it’s also

normal. You can’t be exposed to that much suffering

and not be affected. It’s not like you either have >

BAREFOOTVegan | 47

compassion fatigue or you don’t – it’s more like to what

degree do you have it. If left untreated, it can become

severe enough to the point of burnout. If well managed,

you can remain energised and experience more

compassion satisfaction than fatigue.

Your new book - To Save a Starfish: A

Compassion Fatigue Workbook for the

Animal Welfare Warrior - offers a holistic

approach to dealing with compassion

fatigue. Why is this important?

I have a very holistic approach to treating my clients, and

I wanted this book to reflect that. We hold trauma, grief,

and stress in our bodies – not just our brains. I believe

very strongly in the mind-body connection. And so I

wanted to offer a variety of practical stress management

techniques and self-care skills that people could

incorporate into their daily lives. I don’t believe that

healing comes in a one-size-fits-all approach, and so my

hope is that readers will try the recommendations and

discover what works best for them.

What will readers gain from the book?

The very first thing that I hope readers will gain from the

book is validation. Assurance that you are not alone, that

what you are going through has a name and is normal.

You’re not weak; you’re not flawed. There is no

compassion fatigue without compassion, so chances are

you probably care a great deal. But that comes with a

price, and so we have to learn to manage the symptoms

that can arise from caring so much. We have to take care

of ourselves in order to take care of others. This book

offers helpful tools to manage the many symptoms of

compassion fatigue, including relaxation techniques,

nutrition advice, self-care skills, sleep hygiene,

challenging unhelpful thinking styles, using physical

activity and creativity to combat compassion fatigue, and

much more. Because it’s written in a workbook format,

readers have the opportunity to reflect on their own

struggles and experiences. BV

For more information, visit

Jennifer’s website at to

learn more and to join her email list

for regular advice on compassion

fatigue, as well as upcoming events

and announcements. Be sure to also

look for The Compassion Fatigue

Podcast, which is scheduled to be

released this month – January 2017!

BAREFOOTVegan | 48

By Valerie McGowan

A professed believer who maintains religious

opinions contrary to those

accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines

prescribed by that church.


am a heretic. Not something I ever thought I would

be accused of during my Christian life. I mean I’ve

always felt like I was a bit too liberal for my Christian

community, yet too conservative for the liberals in

my world. More than once I’ve stated in a mostly joking

way that if I expressed all my beliefs and convictions I’d

annoy just about everyone.

A few years ago, I lost a friend for no other reason than

the fact we didn’t see eye to eye on some issues. She was a

fellow Christian who had an uncommon compassion for

animals since her childhood. That was what we initially

bonded over. I say uncommon, because she was the first

Christian that I’d come across that seemed to share my

passion for animal rights. She was not vegan, but

described herself as ‘mostly vegetarian’.

After we first connected through a Christian vegan

website, it didn’t take long to share with each other our

histories, beliefs and perspectives on life. When we finally

met in person, a couple of months later, that rapport

simply transferred over and much of our time spent

together was shopping, discussing history (which we both

loved and she was extremely knowledgeable of) and


Yes, laughing. We shared a sarcastic, obnoxious sense

of humor. And even though she was nearly 20 years older

than me, there was never a dull moment.

The small thorn in the side of all this friendship bliss

was our respective political beliefs. I was the liberal

conservative or conservative liberal, depending on how

you want to look at it. She, politically conservative, yet a

self-described bleeding heart when it came to her love of


For the first few months of our friendship, we

continued to challenge each other with our opposing

views. I found this to be intellectually stimulating, as I

appreciate hearing from different perspectives. But over

time, it became clear that the philosophical differences

between the two of us became more of a strain on our


This wasn’t because we didn’t care for each other. I

was happy to continue our friendship as it was. Only, she

wasn’t. After all those months, she was unable to sway

me in to her political/spiritual camp. It had become a

source of frustration for both of us.

To justify ending our friendship, she appealed to the

Bible verse in the book of Amos, Chapter 3, Verse 3(Old

Testament), which states: “Can two walk together except

they be agreed”? The idea that we must have total

agreement on every issue to have positive relationships

baffled me. But, I guess being the liberal, heretical

Christian was just too much.

More recently, I received the honour of being

formally pronounced a heretic. This interaction took

place on social media with a man who came to the

Facebook page for my blog, just to argue with me about

veganism. His condescending and paternalistic tone

BAREFOOTVegan | 51

leapt from the screen. Calling me ‘dear’ and such. I must

admit, I found it a bit amusing.

The Bible-thumping was on full blast as he

continuously posted long passages of scripture on my

page to prove that I was in deep sin for refusing to eat

animals. I refused to fight with him, but kept

respectfully firm in my responses. He questioned the

legitimately of my faith in Christ, accusing me of twisting

the scriptures to bend to my vegan beliefs.

I replied that just because something is commanded

or condoned in scripture at the time it was written,

doesn’t necessarily mean it’s binding for all people for all

time. I asked him if he ate bugs, since it’s recorded that

God through Moses gave the Hebrews permission to eat

certain ones. I reminded him that in the New Testament

there are passages where women are told to keep silent

and cover their heads. Although I’m sure by this time he

was wishing I would just shut up and submit to his

‘teaching’ like a good, submissive Christian woman.

When I referenced the importance of considering

context in biblical interpretation, that’s when I suspect

his head exploded, because he was having none of

it! There was no context as far as he was concerned

and apparently, no way to misinterpret the many

verses he shared on my page.

Then pronouncement was made. Heretic. And

not only that, but condemned by my own words

and “clearly not a Christian.” As I mentioned earlier,

BAREFOOTVegan | 52

I found this whole interaction somewhat amusing. But, at

the same time I could not shake the eerie realisation that

had this been four or five hundred years ago, and the

conflict was over me being a woman preacher on the

wrong side of European religious history, my Facebook

bible teacher would’ve happily seen me tortured and

burnt at the stake, all the while believing he had done

God a great service.

So, while I was initially taken aback by the accusations

and questioning of my faith, I feel no regret or doubt over

my choice to live as compassionately as I can and causing

as little harm as possible towards all of God’s creation.

One way I live that out is by being vegan. If that makes

me a heretic, then so be it. BV

You can read

more of


writing at

her website

and connect with her

via Facebook.


and compassion

By Craig Wescoe


o some this may come as a surprise, but not all

vegans deny the existence of God and not all

Christians believe animals are here for us to kill

and eat. In fact, more and more people today are

identifying as both Christian and vegan. There are hundreds

of passages in the Bible that support the idea that living a

vegan lifestyle is consistent with living a life that glorifies

God – and there are thousands of vegan Christians in the

world today proving it!

Christians living a compassionate plant-based lifestyle are

not confined to one type of church either. They can be found

kneeling at Catholic Mass, taking the Orthodox Eucharist,

praising in a Baptist worship hall, celebrating the Sabbath in

a Seventh Day Adventist pew, evangelising on the street

corner, or even giving a sermon in front of their own

Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Methodist congregation. They can

be found anywhere, though they are often the only vegan in

their church – at least in the beginning.

If you ask a Christian vegan for the basis of their beliefs,

they’ll likely have a Bible full of highlighted passages ready to

show you in detail, but the two focal points that tend to

come up the most are from Genesis and from the gospels.

Genesis depicts the world’s original state of perfection and

BAREFOOTVegan | 54

its subsequent decline while Jesus represents a return

to that original state of perfection.

The Bible opens with God creating a perfect world

in which animals and humans live together in

harmony, eating all the colorful fruits and vegetation

of the earth (Genesis 1-2). It wasn’t until after the fall

of man that this harmony was broken and humans

deviated from God’s plan and began killing animals

and seeing them as food. Humans were said to be

created in God’s image. Restoring humanity to that

holy image involves no longer deviating from God’s

will and plan for the earth, which means going back to

eating fruits and vegetation and living in harmony

with all of God’s creatures.

In the gospels, Jesus taught that the two primary

commandments are to love God wholeheartedly and to

love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12). Vegan

Christians extend this love to all of God’s creatures

that inhabit the world around us – not just to our

human neighbours that live next door. Jesus warned

never to seek to justify acts of cruelty (Matthew 23)

and instead to always go the extra mile when it comes

to matters of love (Matthew 5). We have authority


Humans were said to

be created in God’s

image. Restoring

humanity to that

holy image involves

no longer deviating

from God’s will and

plan for the earth, which means going

back to eating fruits and vegetation

and living in harmony with all of

God’s creatures.

over the animals just as Jesus has authority over the

church. Jesus lovingly watches over his flock and would

never harm even the least of his sheep. The idea is that it is

good for ambassadors of Christ to likewise follow his

example of compassionate leadership in how we treat the

animals we’ve been entrusted with. It’s a rather simple idea


Given that vegans exist in all types of churches, there is

no universal set of creeds agreed upon or unanimous

interpretation of the scriptures among Christian vegans.

The one common thread is having a heart for God and a

heart for animals. Given that the message of the New

Testament is one of love and mercy, it should come as no

surprise that more and more Christians are adopting a

compassionate attitude toward animals or that vegans are

finding a new hope in a nearly three thousand year old

promise of a world where the lion and the lamb live

peacefully together alongside us on the earth (Isaiah 11).

If you are Christian but not vegan, you may want to

prayerfully consider extending your love and your mercy to

all of God’s creatures. If you are vegan but not Christian, it

may be wise to keep an open mind about God and about

the Bible. Like the Ethiopian in Acts 8, perhaps you simply

haven’t come across the right person to help you

understand what you are reading. I think we can all at least

agree on one point: the world could use a bit more hope

and compassion right about now.

Craig Wescoe graduated with an M.A. in

philosophy from the University of Toledo in

2007. He taught undergraduate courses in

Logic and Critical Thinking before taking a

job in business in 2010. He is a longtime

animal-loving vegan and servant of God. You

can follow his blog here. He is also a member

of the Christian Vegans, Vegan Christian

Community Facebook groups and co-creator

of the New Vegan Support Facebook group.

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Robert Grillo

Farm to Fable

Why do the vast majority of us continue to consume animals when

we could choose otherwise? What are the cultural forces that

drive our food choices? These are the fundamental questions

founder and director of Free from Harm, Robert Grillo sought to

answer in writing his new book – Farm to Fable: The Fictions of

Our Animal-Consuming Culture. We caught up with Robert to discuss

some of his conclusions as to how fictional narratives

orchestrated by the multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns of

the animal agricultural industries keep people from consciously

choosing to live compassionately.

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Tell us a bit about yourself… How did you

become vegan?

I’m a writer, activist and speaker who grew up working in

publishing and advertising where I got a behind-thescenes

perspective on the image building industries and

how they influence the public. I became vegan in 2009

after watching some documentaries, such as Food Inc.

For anyone that doesn’t know about Free

from Harm, can you explain about the

work you do?

We’re a non-profit founded in 2009 and dedicated to farm

animal education and advocacy. Our vision is a world

where non-human animals are no longer exploited and

made to suffer to serve some human end. We live in an age

when this is finally possible and we should celebrate that.

What inspired you to write Farm to Fable?

And what do you hope it will achieve?

Farm to Fable is the culmination of years of exploring the

fictions of animal consumption from the perspective of a

branding and marketing person who has worked on the

inside to see how these fictions are created and how they

function once they’re out there for the public to digest. I

realised early on that even vegans were, to varying degrees,

under the spell of these fictions and some animal groups

even use them in their campaigns. So I felt compelled to

write a book in the hopes that it would bring a much

needed awareness to the vegan community as well as

the public at large. For the general public, my hope is

that the book will prompt them to question what

appears to be “normal” in their everyday lives, to look

more critically at what they see in the grocery stores and

restaurants, what they see on TV and online. I hope that

they might better see how we are being manipulated to

make food choices that ultimately betray our core values

of kindness, reciprocity and decency.

From all the examples of fictional stories

we are told about consuming animal

products that are featured in the book,

which do you feel is the most dangerous

and why?

Consent is the foundation. Consent has us believing that

animals are willing participants in whatever it is we

want to do with them, that they willingly sacrifice

themselves for some greater human purpose. We say

that they give us their eggs, their secretions, their bodies

and even their lives. Of course we know that animals are

not only incapable of giving their consent; they clearly

indicate their resistance to domination and will fight

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“For the general

public, my hope is

that the book will

prompt them to

question what

appears to be

“normal” in their

everyday lives…”

“might-makes-right” worldview. Thanksgiving is an

important example of how these fictions are alive and

well today, sabotaging our judgment to support

unspeakable horrors in the name of tradition and


like hell to avoid pain and death. Once we believe in consent,

then it’s just a matter of how we treat them. Use is off the

table since it is assumed that they don’t mind being used. This

is why humane-washing has emerged as such a prominent

fictional device today.

You mention how since the beginning of our

recorded history, humans have used

narratives of animals choosing to sacrifice

themselves for the greater good, and how we

have made up elaborate rituals around the

killing of animals for food as a form of

repentance and absolution of guilt. How do

you see this still being a part of people’s

psyches and being played out today?

Whenever some new-age, hipster foodie who captures the

media’s attention waxes spiritual about how we must “give

thanks” or “honour the sacrifice” of the animals we needlessly

exploit and kill for food, we can be sure they are invoking

ancient fictions that are as old as civilisation itself. There’s

absolutely nothing progressive about this “tooth and claw”,

Your book points out the kind of

marketing budgets that the animal

agriculture industry has to target

consumers – annual budgets over a

billion US dollars! What does this

mean for organisations trying to effect

change? How can we compete with

those kinds of resources?

It’s important to realise that aside from advertising, the

entire entertainment, television and film industry, as

well as the mass media where we get our news about

the world, are all disseminating the fictions of animal

consumption. What does it mean for us? Most

fundamentally, it means we must recognise the power

of ideas, beliefs and values in shaping our behaviour

and choices. The fact that corporations spend billions

of dollars on appealing to those beliefs and values is a

testament to just how powerful they are. It means that

just advocating behaviour changes, such as Meatless

Monday, will never even begin to challenge those

beliefs that are necessary for the meaningful change we

want to see. As for how do we compete? The answer is >

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“Consent has us believing that

animals are willing participants

in whatever it is we want to do

with them, that they willingly

sacrifice themselves for some

greater human purpose.”

we can’t compete. We can never win the struggle for

justice by using the exploiter’s tools of deception. Like any

other social justice movement, our success lies in mass

education and building an organized grassroots

movement. And we should partner with all other like

movements to strengthen our common cause to fight

oppression wherever it rears its ugly head.

As a vegan living in a non-vegan world, it

often feels as if people don’t care about

animals. However, your book points to

research that argues otherwise. Can you

tell us a little more about that and how

that should shape our promotion of


In his recent BBC series, “Sex, Death and the Meaning of

Life,” the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist,

Richard Dawkins, tell us that: “Science shows we humans

are hardwired to have empathy. Scientists can now scan

which parts of the brain register vicarious pain or

pleasure.” “Brain science helps us to see why we find it a

bad idea to steal, why we hate to see somebody kicking a

dog. We can trace the chemicals in the brain that reward

kindness. We can see what goes on in the brain when we

feel for others. Goodness is natural to us. Kindness is in

our physiology.”

More specific to vegan advocacy, we find a very high

rate of caring about the suffering of other animals, 80% to

90% in people surveyed, but this doesn’t necessarily or

easily translate into food choices. Nevertheless, if one

really believes that one should “meet people where they

are” then we should first recognise that empathy is there

in most of us yet needs to be cultivated. That’s where we

come in. Even if one insists that humans don’t care about

other animals, this is largely a cultural construct that

should not be used as an excuse to avoid the subject.

Culture is malleable. It’s our job as their advocates to

make the case for why people should care, just as it is the

role of any other justice activist to make a case for their

cause. They too dealt with incredible obstacles and

terrible odds and yet succeeded. We have compelling

stories and compelling evidence for why people should


What is the biggest mistake most vegan/

animal advocacy groups are doing in

trying to change people’s behaviour?

What should they be doing instead?

There are certain high profile figures in our movement

who do their fair share of critiquing the vegan messenger,

telling her what to wear, how to act, what to say and how

to say it for maximum “effectiveness.” At times we seem

more obsessed about what people think about us than >

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“We must

communicate the

very real and

urgent need for

change, rather

than pretend that

baby steps are


carrying out our actual activism. Some of these people

actually sound like a vegan Miss Manners, extolling pop

psychology or self-help tropes which I don’t see advancing

our cause. My work is instead focused on exploring the

culture that perpetuates “non-veganism.”

As for our vegan community, I think it would help us

immensely to develop a platform that conveys more

dignity, confidence and storytelling savvy. I’d like to see

more honesty and conviction about our goals for animal

liberation and the kind of radical activism achieving those

goals will require. I’d like to see a greater reverence for

truth as the most powerful tool we have against the

exploitation industries that are built upon fictions and lies.

This means that animals never become our “bargaining

tools” to broker deals with their exploiters or with the

public. After all, who are we, as their supposed advocates,

to negotiate the use — any use — of their bodies, or to

negotiate the level of their suffering or victimisation? What

other victim advocates would find this even remotely

ethical? I can’t think of any. I’d like to see more of us

abandon the myth that we have the luxury of time to

advocate transition in steps. If we listen to the urgent calls

from leading climate and environmental experts, then we

must honestly face the fact that time is most certainly not

on our side. We must communicate the very real and

urgent need for change, rather than pretend that baby steps

are enough. They aren’t. As Noam Chomsky famously said,

“Just tell the truth.”

As you quite rightfully point out, it can

be quite a popularity contest between

the various animal advocacy

organisations vying for financial

contributions and public attention. For

those that can’t afford to be so physically

active with their advocacy due to

whatever reason, what advice would you

give in terms of how to choose an

organisation to support? Are there any

criteria for an effective organisation?

In the process of writing my book, I came to question

many more assumptions than I had anticipated. And

one of them is this belief that non-profit organisations

are at the forefront of change and progress for our

movement. I think we just assume that they are — some

appear so polished, professional and convincing — but

maybe that’s just wishful thinking. As much as I

appreciate the Free from Harm donors who have helped

us advance our mission in so many ways, I can’t help

but wonder if larger organisations that become heavily

dependent on and therefore influenced by donors do

not risk losing their focus and impetus for meaningful

change. Maybe instead it will be certain visionaries who

are driven by nothing more than a passion for their

cause who people will rally around, like they rallied

around Cesar Chavez. Other movements have not

BAREFOOTVegan | 64

equired a lot of non-profits and donors to build a movement. They

just needed to organise properly. So this all begs the question: can

donating replace actual participation? Can we really expect giving

to replace activism, as the Effective Altruism movement seems to

suggest? Grassroots activism means physically showing up for

events, but it can also mean spreading the message through social

media. At Free from Harm we developed the Pollinators Network

because we realised there is an enormous and still largely untapped

potential to impact our online audience. We also realised that we

have a loyal following of very savvy social media people and still

others who want to become more active and sharpen their skills.

So we mentor them and give them the tools and skills to become

strong “virtual” activists. It’s the next best thing to being there, but

it’s still important to show up.

Connect with Robert’s

organisation Free

From Harm via their

website, Facebook,

Instagram, YouTube

and Twitter. Click on

the image below to

order your copy of

Farm to Fable.

You come from a creative consultancy

background and you’ve very successfully used

your talents to create ‘Free from Harm’. What

advice would you give others to encourage them

to use their own unique gifts and talents to

promote veganism?

Yep, cultivate those talents and see how they can work for your

activism but also share them with a community. On the one hand,

we think it might be more of an effort to show up and develop a

community, but then we also have a yearning for community — for

the community of like-minded, kindred spirits. This is vital to our

own personal fulfilment as well as building our movement. We

want to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves, part of

history in the making, part of a legacy that future generations will

hopefully benefit from. In the end, the pay-off for showing up is

well worth it because of the sense of community with which it

rewards us. BV

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Challenging what we know about

cruelty-free cosmetics

By Anneka Svenska


n October 25 th 2016, Naturewatch

Foundation in collaboration with my

animal conservation production company,

GreenWorldTV, launched “Compassion Over Cruelty” –

a film to challenge what we know about cruelty-free


Every year, millions of animals worldwide are

subjected to painful tests all in the name of beauty.

Chemicals are dropped in their eyes and on to their

skin, often causing painful blinding and burning. Once

used, their bodies are discarded like rubbish as more are

bred to take their place.

The British public is overwhelmingly against the use

of animals for cosmetic testing and indeed, in 1997 the

UK introduced the Cosmetic Testing Ban on the use of

animals to test finished cosmetic products, followed by

a ban in 1998 on the use of animals in testing cosmetic

ingredients. These history-changing laws paved the way

for the European Union, which in 2013 banned all sales

within the EU of cosmetic products or ingredients that

have been tested on animals.

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But this isn’t enough. Cosmetic shoppers in the UK are

still buying into cruelty by purchasing from companies

that sell products outside of the EU, in countries like

China where testing on cosmetic products is still a

requirement by law. By purchasing these brands, or

brands owned by parent companies that are tested in

China, shoppers – who are trying to do the right thing for

animals – are being duped. Compassionate shoppers are

unknowingly handing over their money for cruel animal


Many of these companies are big multinational labels,

or are selling prestige products and trying to crack the

Chinese market. They offer high-end products that are

perceived as being the best of the best, and they rely on

customer loyalty for their well-known brands. But it is

the animals who are paying the true cost. And it’s

completely unnecessary.

So I joined forces with Naturewatch Foundation to

put truly cruelty-free, compassionate, cosmetics to the

test. How would they hold up against the big players in

the cosmetic industry?


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Top hair stylist, Daniel Field from the Daniel Field

Hair Salon in Central London, and makeup artist to

the stars, Alexa Riva Ravina kindly offered to put the

Naturewatch Foundation endorsed cruelty-free

products, featured in the Naturewatch ‘Compassionate

Shopping Guide’, to the test.

Some incredible animal-loving celebrities offered

to appear in the film alongside myself, including

actress Rula Lenska, model Daryna Milgevska, and

comedian Jake Yapp, who put their faith – and faces –

in Daniel and Alexa’s hands. And the results were

beautiful and 100% cruelty free.

The resulting film proves that you can choose

compassion over cruelty, and look fabulous in the

process! We launched the film in front of an audience

of 100% animal loving celebrities at Sanctum Soho in

London’s West End. The evening was hosted by our

dear, compassionate friend Rula Lenska and attended

by some brilliant people including BBC Radio 5 DJ

Nicky Campbell, This Morning’s on screen makeup

artist Bryony Blake and TV presenter Matt Johnson,

the animal-loving Jilly Johnson, actress Vicki Michelle,

cruelty free beauty expert Cindy Jackson and actor Dan

Richardson from Disney’s The Lodge, who has recently

become vegan.


Despite the EU and countries like Australia, Israel and

Norway banning the sale and importation of cosmetics

and cosmetic ingredients tested on animals, millions of

animals are still used in cosmetic testing around the


Cosmetic brands may advertise their products as

cruelty-free in the UK – but if they are also selling in

countries like China, where animal-testing on cosmetics is

still a legal requirement – they cannot genuinely claim

cruelty-free status. At the same time, many popular

brands are owned by larger, multinational ‘parent’

companies that may sell other products in China –

meaning that, for the ethical consumer, being genuinely

cruelty-free can be extremely difficult.

Naturewatch Foundation researches companies

thoroughly and only approves those brands that have a

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Click above to watch the official

‘Compassion Over Cruelty Film’ and click

on the image below to get your copy of

the ‘Compassionate Shopping Guide’.

fixed cut-off date animal-testing policy in place. The same fixed

cut-off date must apply throughout the entire company range,

including the parent company and any subsidiaries.

So Naturewatch Foundation has done the hard work for you.

Naturewatch Foundation has published the ‘Compassionate

Shopping Guide’ regularly for over 20 years. It is now in its 14 th

edition. It has become the definitive guide to cruelty-free

shopping for cosmetics, toiletries and household cleaning

products. It has the strictest criteria of any cruelty-free

endorsement scheme in the world. They do not accept animal

use in cosmetic testing at any level. BV

Anneka Svenska is the founder of ‘Green

World Television’ & ‘Angels for the Innocent

Foundation’. To view some of the Green World

TV Films Anneka has released please click

here . You can also visit her website & connect

with her on Facebook & Twitter.

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“Animals glorify God in their particular animalness,

animals worship God. A friend of mine recently

said that every time a species goes extinct, worship

is silenced, and that’s blasphemy.”

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How Caring for Animals

Can Shape Your Faith

In her latest book, Vegangelical, author Sarah

Withrow King argues that animal stewardship is a

necessary aspect of a holistic ethic of

Christian peace and justice, and care for animal

welfare correspondingly strengthens our care for

environmental and human flourishing. We spoke

with Sarah to learn more about her work to call

people to a greater attentiveness to one of the

primary relationships in God’s created order,

that between humans and animals.

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Tell us about yourself and how you came

to be vegan?

I think the first time I heard the word “vegan” was when

my brother took me to a restaurant he really loved in

Eugene, Oregon. It was all vegan and totally delicious. I

survived on junk: a lot of fast food and super processed

groceries, so this all-vegetable restaurant was like an

explosion of actual flavour, and I didn’t feel like garbage

after I ate there. There was a booklet on the table that a

local activist group had left and I read it while I was

waiting. It talked about factory farming, routine

mutilations and other abuses of animals, the resource

inefficiency of raising and killing animals for food, and

the health implications of a vegan diet. I was stunned. I

loved animals, I had always loved animals, but I never

thought of them when I ate meat. I never thought of

meat as an animal. And I had no idea what modern

farming looked like or the damage it was doing. So, I

resolved to go vegan. And then my resolve broke. So I

resolved again. And broke again…but one of those times,

my resolve stuck!

When talking to other Christians about

animals and veganism, what are the

biggest challenges you deal with?

I find, in this regard, that there isn’t a big difference

between Christians and others. A lot of people, Christian

BAREFOOTVegan | 74

or not, hold the same misconceptions that I did about how

animals are raised and killed for food, what those

processes look like. Once the truth about industrial

farming is exposed, many people (again, Christian or not)

feel at a bit of a loss for how to go about making more

compassionate choices. Eating is a deeply complex act for

many of us and food is so tied up in our family and social

traditions that the thought of making a drastic change can

be overwhelming for people. “What do I do now?” and

“How do I talk to my family and friends about this

change?” are the most common questions we see.

The first book of the Bible – Genesis –

explains that God has given humans

‘dominion’ over the animals. All

theologians agree on this, but what are the

main sticking points that come when

defining ‘dominion’?

The vast majority of people I’ve encountered agree that

dominion can’t be interpreted to mean, “do whatever you

want, with impunity.” I’ve talked to a very few individuals

who would argue that, but they do not represent the

majority of Christians. I think the trouble comes in

understanding that when we interpret dominion to mean

“use for food,” that comes with a host of consequences

now that couldn’t have been seen thousands of years ago.

So, we have to ask what dominion now looks like, and

eating animals isn’t it when we live in a world where many of

us can healthfully and sustainably feed ourselves on plants.

What instructions/teachings in the Bible

stand out the most to you as promoting

mercy and compassion towards animals?

I always caution against taking a verse or two and using it as

a proof for any kind of argument. CreatureKind wrote a little

about that recently. To me, the most biblically compelling

argument for compassion to animals is one that takes the

whole movement of the scripture and the Spirit in mind: we

know that this broken, bruised world is being reconciled

back to a Creator who wants every being to flourish and

thrive. Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Thy Kingdom

come, on earth as it is in heaven.” We know that this

Kingdom will be one of peace for all, where the wolf will lie

down with the lamb, where violence and suffering are no

more. On earth. Not up in the sky, on earth. So, if we know

the Creator is reconciling the whole world back to Godself

and we know that part of that reconciliation will be the

reconciliation of humans and animals to one another, why

wouldn’t we take steps now to realise that?

What does the Bible say about the animals’

relationship to God?

God created animals, God provides for animals, God sees

animals. Animals glorify God in their particular animal-ness,

animals worship God. A friend of mine recently said that

every time a species goes extinct, worship is silenced, and

that’s blasphemy. Humans have so centred ourselves in the

world that we fail to see how we are one part of the whole


love for one another.” –Jesus. How do we know if

something is Christian? We know that because it’s

loving, love-giving, love-promoting, love-sustaining.

Right before Jesus gives this new commandment, he

washes the feet of his disciples. Washes their feet. He

humbles himself and he serves others. Industrial

farming causes human, animal, and environmental

suffering on a massive scale while lining the pockets

and filling the coffers of wealthy corporations and

their officers. It is destructive, dangerous, and evil and

can’t, in any way, be construed as loving.

It can be tough belonging to a church group that

doesn’t include any vegans. What advice do you have

for vegan Christians that want to remain part of a

church but are struggling with the fact that people in

their fellowship are not interested in, and/or perhaps

ridicule the decision to live a vegan lifestyle?

I wrote about this in “A Plea to Stay Rooted,”

because I’ve been there and I know what it feels like!

We set ourselves up for disappointment when we

expect that people will change their views and actions

on our timetable, but the need for fellowship is real. As

much as possible, don’t make vegan the litmus test for

a relationship. Connect on other levels with people,

answer their inquiries honestly and with compassion,

and let God work on their hearts. People I never

thought would go vegan have done just that,

sometimes long after our initial conversations! I love

connecting with other Christian vegans, and I do that

on a regular basis online, by telephone, and at events.

But don’t let that become your main fellowship,

because if you’re not there in the church, who will

speak up for animals? >

Because veganism/vegetarianism is

promoted in other religions, I have come

across some Christian-based organisations

actively promoting meat-eating, saying that

it is un-Christian not to eat God’s animals.

What response do you have for that


“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.

Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By

this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have

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How has your faith and relationship with

God, helped you be a better advocate for

animals and humans?

Faith and animal advocacy is actually a two-way street for

me! My advocacy has reminded me over and over again

that compassion is a choice we make and that applies to

humans (including ourselves) as well as animals.

Advocacy for animals helped open up the depth and

breadth of God’s promises to the created world in a way I

hadn’t understood before. My faith helps me to remember

to extend grace to people and situations when it’s hard for

me to feel like it. But perhaps most importantly, my faith

is a constant reminder that I am part of a much larger

story, a story that started long before I was born and will

continue long after I die.

During the time that you’ve been vegan

and advocating for animals, what positive

changes have you noticed in the church’s

opinion/stance towards animals?

Oh my gosh, when I first went vegan I felt like I was

totally alone in the church world. Now, literally

everywhere I go… every conference, every church, every

school, every organisation… there’s at least one other

“animal person.” Denominations are passing resolutions

about animal welfare. A huge group of evangelical

Christians signed a document called “Every Living Thing”

last year that named animals as a topic of moral and

practical concern for Christians. Pope Francis’ climate

encyclical was full of thoughts about animals. The

CreatureKind project that I help run with UK theologian

David Clough, was founded in part because enough

Christians care about animals and want to advocate on

their behalf that there’s now a need for church-based

organisations to equip them with the tools to do so.

You wrote and had published two books

on Christianity and veganism/animals

that were released last year. Can you tell

us about them and what inspired you to

write them?

The first book I wrote is called Animals Are Not Ours (No,

Really, They’re Not): An Evangelical Animal Liberation

Theology (Cascade Books, 2016). I was inspired to write it

“This prayer, written by Bishop Ken Untener of

Saginaw in honour of Oscar Romero, is one that I

return to again and again, and helps keep my

place in this difficult work in perspective”.

Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step

Along The Way

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a

long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is

even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny

fraction of the magnificent

enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is

complete, which is a way of

saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes


This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that

they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further


We provide yeast that produces far beyond our


We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of

liberation in realising that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it

very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step

along the way, an

opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do

the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the

difference between the master

builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers,

not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

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“My advocacy has

reminded me over

and over again that

compassion is a

choice we make and

that applies to

humans (including

ourselves) as well

as animals.”

during my seminary studies, where I did a lot reading

about nonviolence, liberation theology, and creation

care theology. I would get so frustrated because there

was this obvious blind spot towards animals in the vast

majority of the works. So, in Animals Are Not Ours, I

wanted to demonstrate how animal liberation was a

natural fit with other liberative theologies. It’s a very

wide-reaching book, and I didn’t hold back.

My second book is Vegangelical: How Caring for

Animals Can Shape Your Faith (Zondervan, 2016). I

really wrote this book for my dad. I needed a very

careful, biblically-based introduction to animal issues.

In Vegangelical, I talk about how a few core Christian

beliefs and values can shape our understanding of our

responsibility towards animals. So, once we’ve

established what it is we believe, we can look at the

different ways we use animals today—as pets,

entertainment, research subjects, clothing, and food—

and ask ourselves if what we believe is played out in

how we live. It was a fun book to write, it’s super

accessible, and my dad went vegan after he read it, so I

think I did my job well.

You can read some of

Sarah’s writing at her

website. Click on the

images below for more

info on Sarah’s books.

Is there anything else you’d like to share

with readers?

I feel really lucky every day that I get to work on

CreatureKind, which is a project working from within

the church to engage Christians on farmed animal

welfare. You can read about our first ten months on our

website. We are always looking for partners and are

eager to talk to people who have a heart for this work,

no matter their own faith expression. BV

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By Linda Monahan


utting our compassion into action is what makes

us vegan. When confronted with animal

suffering, we have each chosen to do something

rather than remain complicit. But what do we

make of those instances when the there is no

clear actionable response?

The routine deaths of animals that have been hit by

cars, commonly known as “roadkill,” is an issue that has

been especially challenging for me since becoming vegan.

Though I see body after body on the roadside, there is no

company to hold accountable, no rescue to donate or

volunteer with. And unless we are able to abstain from

driving cars, there is no boycott that will lessen the death


Every day, roughly one million animals are killed by

vehicles in the United States alone (1). Bodies of large

mammals like deer are usually moved from traffic lanes by

state transportation authorities, but they remain visible on

shoulders and ditches as they decompose. The majority of

animals we routinely kill with our cars, however, are

smaller mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians whose

bodies stay on roadways to be driven over and over to


With nearly four hundred million animals killed by cars

annually, “roadkill” is the second largest cause of animal

death in the United States, behind animals killed for flesh

(2) .

Despite these figures, road-killed animals are rarely

afforded human compassion. There are several factors that

contribute to their exclusion from the moral community, as

well as several compelling responses to encountering

“roadkill” that could help to change this fact.

In my chapter for the recent academic anthology,

Mourning Animals, edited by Margo DeMello, I suggest

that demonstrating compassion for road-killed animals

is a productive entry point for people to engage greater

respect for all animals (3). Because vegans already

include all beings in our circle of compassion, we are

primed to become advocates for our local wildlife on

this widespread issue.

Road-killed animals, of course, do not spontaneously

appear in travel lanes as disfigured corpses. There are

identifiable and, often, preventable factors that put

animals at risk of being killed on the road. Road

ecologists have studied what brings certain animals to

the roadside and have long been working toward

preventative measures (4).

Wildlife crossings like vegetation-covered bridge

overpasses and tunnel- and gully-like underpasses have

been proven effective in rerouting the migration

behavior of many commonly road-killed species (5).

These measures, however, are far from commonplace.

Despite the efficacy of these mitigation efforts,

“roadkill” is generally regarded as regrettable but

inevitable. We might express a moment’s despair when

passing evidence of a particularly gruesome collision, or

allow ourselves brief grief over the death of certain

species more than others.

It is hard not to notice the body of a dog or cat on

the side of the road, for example, but it is easy enough

for many to roll past a squirrel or opossum without a

second glance. As wild species, road-killed animals lack

the strong ties to a human community that companion

animals—even those hit by cars—can claim.

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To further understand why these animal victims are still

regarded with such little compassion, consider the

similarities between animals hung in butcheries and

those flattened on the road. Both require rationalisation

on the part of the would-be compassionate human.

Language is a big part of this mental-moral negotiation.

As labor scholar Dennis Soron explains, “As a human

creation, ‘road kill’ is just as de-animalized as ‘beef’ and

just as open to cultural meanings that are bracketed off

from the embodied experience of the suffering

animal.” (6) In other words,

simply calling these animals

“roadkill” is the first exclusionary


For this reason, I use the term

“road-killed animals” to

emphasise that the way in which

these animals die does not

exclusively define their

relationship to the human

community. As individual beings,

road-killed animals have full and

varied lives independent of the

final violence inflicted upon them

by humans.

Other factors that limit the extension of compassion

to road-killed animals include both the practical and the

cultural. On a practical level, travel by car is inherently

inhospitable to demonstrating compassion for roadkilled

animals due to the speed at which we move. Not

only are we only granted just a few seconds to react to an

animal on the roadway (living or dead), but high-speed

traffic makes it dangerous to stop and engage with any

potential feelings of concern or grief upon seeing an

animal’s disfigured corpse.

Culturally, road-killed animals have largely been a

punchline. Twentieth century cartoons like Wile E.

Coyote and gag-gift variations on Playboy columnist

Buck Peterson’s The Roadkill Cookbook series are

expressions of a larger speciesist discourse that

maintains a hierarchical divide between human and

nonhuman animals. Narratives of human dominion and

progress, along with the desire to travel further, faster,

and more frequently in North American car culture work

together to create conditions inhospitable to compassion

for road-killed animals.

A final factor contributing to the lack of compassion

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for road-killed animals is the frequency of drivers’

encounters with such violent imagery, fostering a culture

that is desensitised to the sight. The mundane visibility of

bloody, dismembered wildlife on the road naturalises this

automotive violence in the same way that constant

imagery of meat products in food advertisements

naturalises the consumption of animal flesh.

It is possible, however, for the constant visibility of

road-killed animals to disrupt these animals’ cultural

status as outside the realm of human compassion and


Recognising the individual value of road-killed

animals is a critical step toward human accountability for

their lives and deaths. Mourning is a powerful affect that

can translate into compassion for road-killed animals in

ways that are familiar to humans.

Mourning, in contrast to grief, connotes an expression

of feelings of deep sorrow. By making feelings of sadness

and regret visible, audible, or otherwise public, mourning

animals who have been violently killed on the road

mirrors the highly visible, public nature of their deaths.

In recent years, road-killed animals have begun to be

integrated into larger narratives of subjectivity and

interspecies community through activism and art that

seek to fit road-killed animals into established human

mourning practices. PETA, for example, has petitioned

several state legislatures for roadside memorials for

animals killed in transit (though none so far have been


Author Barry Lopez offers another response on an

individual level in his beautifully woodcut-illustrated

essay, Apologia. He describes his encounters with

individual road-killed animals as moments to take

accountability. For Lopez, accountability means pulling

over to move the broken bodies from the road.

Awareness of the individual compels him to act, to

express his apology through the ritual of burial.

American photographer Emma Kisiel has a similar

response to witnessing wildlife mortality on U.S.

highways. In her series At Rest (2011), Kisiel constructs

and photographs makeshift memorials for found roadkilled

fauna. Kisiel’s new visuality of road-killed animals

allows us to recognise them as individuals worthy of


Kisiel, Lopez, and PETA encourage us to take the

time to recognise each road-killed animal we pass. If we

can mobilise compassion for the visible violence of

“roadkill,” we may then be able to inspire greater

compassion for the victims of the invisible violence of

slaughterhouses and laboratories.

The collective force of these millisecond mournings

can have political power: once the affect of care shrouds

these animals, we can press for preventative measures

such as wildlife crossings and driver education

campaigns that value animal life. Alongside creative

works of remembrance, these measures will help

“roadkill” continue its cultural transformation from

laughably grotesque to grievable, animal death. BV


(1) Marcel P. Huijser et al. “Cost-Benefit Analyses of Mitigation

Measures Aimed at Reducing Collisions with Large Ungulates

in the United States and Canada: A Decision Support Tool,”

Ecology and Society 14, no. 2 (2009): 15.

(2) Andreas Seiler and J.-O. Helldin, “Mortality in Wildlife

Due to Transportation,” in The Ecology of Transportation:

Managing Mobility for the Environment, ed. John Davenport

and Julia L. Davenport (New York: Springer, 2006), 166–68.

(3) Linda Monahan, “Mourning the Mundane: Memorializing

Roadkill in North America,” in Mourning Animals, ed. Margo

DeMello (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State UP), 151-157.

(4) Seiler and Helldin, “Mortality in Wildlife.”

(5) Diana Balmori and David K. Skelly, “Crossing to

Sustainability: A Role for Design in Overcoming Road Effects,”

Ecological Restoration 30, no. 4 (2012): 363–67.

(6) Dennis Soron, “Road Kill: Commodity Fetishism and

Structural Violence,” in Critical Theory and Animal Liberation,

ed. John Sanbonmatsu (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011),

63. pp.55-70.

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By Tom Leslie

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eing or becoming a vegan means that you show

compassion towards animals. Veganism is based on

the philosophy that the killing of or exploitation of

any animal is not justified and goes totally against the

compassion we should show towards the animals we share

our planet with.

If we did live in a world where animals are treated

‘humanely’ and got the respect they deserved, the following

statement would not be true: over 40 million one-day old

chicks are killed every year. That means 40 million lives that

deserve to have their rights upheld are ended within 24 hours

of birth, due to cruelty, greed and a vast shortcoming of

compassion. There is a common misconception that

veganism is only about diet, the truth is it is a belief that goes

much deeper than simply changing what we eat and drink.

From campaigning to get animals out of circuses and sport,

to only purchasing ethically produced clothing and

household items. Veganism is about showing compassion to

all animals, not only those kept cruelly on factory farms.

I would love to encourage people who read this to think

about veganism in the bigger picture, not just the diet, and

also to show more love towards animals and their habitats. If

you are reading this as a non-vegan, maybe a vegetarian

considering going the extra step, then I assure you that

leading a vegan life is the single greatest step you can take to

show that you care about animal welfare and the planet you

live on. If you are a vegan then I would urge you to get out

into nature and see animals thrive in their natural

habitat, where they should be and really appreciate the

wildlife that we are so lucky to have. Doing something

like this is a wonderful way to remember the

importance of veganism, and reinforce the fact that

you are living a kinder, healthier way of life as a vegan.

Finally, if you are a non-vegan reading this then I

imagine you are quite curious about the diet and

lifestyle. I could not encourage you enough to try a

plant-based diet as a first step (why not sign up right

now to Veganuary?) and start to discover the beauty of

a cruelty-free way of life. For animals, the planet and

your own health. BV

Tom Leslie has been a

vegan since February 2016.

He is a lover of endurance

sport, especially running

and cycling. A key reason for

opting for the vegan lifestyle was his love for

animals and his desire for all creatures to be

free from harm and exploitation. His personal

aim is to use his passion for endurance sport

to promote veganism and to prove that it is in

no way a hindrance to people with active


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By Katrina Fox

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Our psychological wounds can cause us to lash out at

ourselves and others, even those we’re working with

for a common cause and whose values of kindness we

claim to share. Acknowledging our personal and

collective shadow is key to learning to embrace

compassion for all, writes Katrina Fox.

“You’re a filthy little Arab who should go back to where

you came from.” So said my adoptive mother for the first

time when I was age six, after I’d spilled crumbs on the

floor from a biscuit I was eating. “No wonder your real

mother didn’t want you.” The impact of this cruel remark

was instant and lasted for decades. As humans are wont

to do, I made it mean that I was unlovable and would

never be good enough.

Factual inaccuracies aside (my birth father was

Persian, not an Arab), it was—unbeknownst to me at the

time—my first experience with racism. The idea that

anyone who wasn’t a white English person was inferior

was further solidified by my dad’s constant referencing of

“bloody wogs” to describe black people. I quickly learned

to deny my ethnic heritage right into my 20s—if anyone

asked, I said I was part Spanish or Italian. I even went so

far as to have a nose job in 1993, partly to remove a small

bump, but I can’t deny I was pleased the adjustment

made me look less obviously half Iranian.

Around the age of 10, in 1976, I became obsessed with

the women in the hit TV show Charlie’s Angels. I started

a scrapbook, and asked my classmates to save any

newspaper or magazine clippings featuring the trio of

glamorous female detectives. In addition, my best friend

Susan and I told everyone we loved each other. It was an

innocent enough comment, but a boy in our class said he

thought we were lesbians. It was the first time I’d heard

the word, and when he explained what it meant, without

any judgment, I was happy to take it on. But when I told

the teacher I was a lesbian, she was horrified and told me

not to say that word again or I’d be sent to the

headmaster to be punished. This was my first experience

with homophobia. And, in his typical uncreative manner,

good old dad confirmed my suspicions that same-sex love

and affection was bad by yelling “bloody poofs” at the TV

screen whenever footballers hugged each other after

one of their teammates scored a goal. Cue more


My first experience with sexism happened around a

similar time, when I asked to play football and rugby

and was told by both the boys and the teachers that I

couldn’t because I was a girl.

So, before I’d even hit puberty, I’d learned that if

you weren’t white, straight, and male, there was

something wrong with you and you didn’t deserve to

participate in life on an equal footing. Essentially, you

were “lesser than” privileged others, although I didn’t

have the fancy language for it back then.

By age 11, I’d learned that animals had it even

tougher. My jaw literally dropped open when I learned

that the beef burger on my plate had once been part of

a beautiful, living cow. While I was brought up on a

council estate just outside of south London in the UK,

I’d visit my cousin in the country occasionally where

I’d climb over fences into farmers’ fields to stroke the

cows and give them apples, with no clue that they

would be trucked off to an abattoir and killed. Learning

that I’d been ingesting the dead bodies of these gentle

creatures made me feel sick, and I became—without

knowing the word at the time—vegetarian


Although I embraced feminism, queer rights and

animal advocacy in my early 20s, and found a plethora

of examples of culturally entrenched sexism, racism,

homophobia, and speciesism, I didn’t make the

connections between these forms of oppression until

much later—almost a decade, in fact, when I was

introduced to veganism by a schoolteacher on an antivivisection

demo. It was finding out about the cruelty

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involved in the dairy industry in particular that made the

light bulbs in my head start to go off.

I learned that in order to produce milk, a cow must be

kept pregnant and lactating, a process carried out by

restraining her in a head stall and artificially inseminating

her; that shortly after birth, calves are torn away from their

mothers, who bellow for several weeks with grief; that dairy

cows are hooked up to milking machines—after suffering

the agonising ordeal of having their horns and, on occasion,

excess teats cut off with scissors solely for aesthetic reasons;

that mastitis—the inflammation of

the mammary glands—is the most

common affliction affecting dairy

cows around the world and causes

them severe pain; that this relentless

cycle of forced endless pregnancy,

birthing, and lactation puts so much

pressure on the reproductive systems

of cows that they become spent—

verging on dead at around four to five

years of age, whereas naturally they

would live for a couple of decades.

It was this moment that the

connections between feminism and

animal rights became obvious: how

could I call for my own reproductive autonomy while

actively supporting the assault on female non-human

animals’ reproductive systems through the consumption of

dairy? As Shy Buba wrote on The Vegan Woman blog, “It’s

contrary to feminism to defend one type of female body

while using and abusing another.”

Fighting Back or Fighting Ourselves?

Over the years, I’ve been involved with both

mainstream gay, lesbian, bisexual and sex and/or

gender diverse communities, as well as alternative

queer groups. Within both communities, there are

passionate individuals and groups campaigning

against one or more forms of oppression while

perpetuating other forms. For example, the rise of

“black face” and other modes of appropriation of

native cultures by white performers in queer feminist

...One of the more

confronting aspects of sacred

activism is learning to love

and forgive the perpetrators

of oppression, cruelty, and

horrendous injustices.

circles; sexism, racism, and misogyny within the

animal rights movement; and speciesism in the

majority of campaigns for human rights.

It both breaks my heart and frustrates me when my

queer, feminist friends and colleagues speak out so

passionately about homophobia, sexism or racism in >

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one breath, while updating their Facebook statuses

describing the sentient being they ate for lunch or serving

the dead bodies or secretions of tortured farmed animals

at events to celebrate equality or advancement for women

or queer folk. And when the issue of animal oppression is

raised (in the same way that they attempt to gain support

for their particular cause), reactions generally fall into two

camps: “I know, but I don’t care enough to change my

lifestyle to give up my gustatory delights,” or “I don’t want

to know because I don’t want to give up my power and

privilege. Besides, (insert type of creature here) tastes so


Some are often accompanied by a patronising smile

and a comment along the lines of, “Aw, your love of

animals and vegan lifestyle is so sweet.” Imagine the

reaction if you said that about their anti-racism work.

Unsurprisingly, such disagreements result in an

interminable amount of infighting—in which I admit I’ve

contributed my share. Activist movements are full of

people who have experienced cruelty, oppression,

discrimination, and often physical violence. We’ve been

told that we’re “broken,” “wrong,” “not good enough,”—

not only by individual people, but through the

perpetuation of overt as well as the insidious

reinforcement of what is considered culturally acceptable

or unacceptable.

Depending on the educational or emotional resources

we have access to at any given time, many of us will live in

a state of unconsciousness about our own or others’

oppression, reacting with anger each time we are triggered

by others’ comments. Many of us are fuelled by a deepseated

rage, which can on one hand be a motivator to take

action against injustice, yet unchecked on the other hand

destroys not only our own sense of peace but very often

any power or leverage we may get to achieve our goals of

liberation. While we’re busy putting all our energy into

fighting each other and our potential allies, it seems

oppressors are finding new ways to hold onto and extend

their privileges.

Integrating the Shadow Self and Embracing

Compassion for All

In July 2011, my personal life was a mess. Despite being in a

relationship of 18 years with a woman who loved me very

much and living in an apartment that I co-owned, I was

deeply unhappy and dissatisfied with my life. My career as

a freelance writer and editor wasn’t bringing me the joy it

used to; I felt like I’d lost my writing mojo and felt

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As social change

makers, we owe it

to ourselves, and

to humanity,

animals, and the

planet, to take

action that comes

from a place of

compassion: for

others and


resentful and trapped. Up until that time, I believed that

life happened to me, that my feelings ran the show and I

was at the mercy of external circumstances—in other

words, despite my obvious privileges, I was a victim.

Fortunately, a close friend offered a different

perspective on my situation, one which suggested that I

had a choice in how I acted, reacted, and behaved. At

the age of 46, I was finally ready to hear the pearl of

wisdom that personal development gurus had been

spouting for decades. I felt not just a light bulb but a

whole panorama of bright stadium lights switch on in

my mind. The following 12 months saw me devour

books, audio recordings, and DVDs, and attend

workshops and seminars, all of which taught me that

the past only defines you if you let it; it is possible to

consciously choose to move beyond it and decide who

you want to become.

Now, I realise this may be all very well for a whiteskinned,

middle-class lesbian with certain privileges,

and I’m not suggesting it’s easy (I still struggle with

negative self-talk, but it’s lessening as I equip myself

with the tools of self-awareness), but I have come to

believe that compassion for self and others is the key to

making a difference in the world. As I allowed myself to

be open to new possibilities, I found myself exposed to

individuals who had figured out the importance of

integrating our shadow parts into our lives, instead of

running away from them.


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Our “shadow side” is anything we dislike about ourselves

that we’d rather others did not know about us. It can

range from a sense of entitlement and righteousness to

feeling incompetent, like a failure or a fake.

In 2012, I met and conducted an interview with author

Andrew Harvey who coined the term “sacred activism,” a

mixture of radical action/activism and spirituality. What

I like about Harvey’s philosophy is his acknowledgement

of the need to do intense work around the personal and

cultural shadow (our own private wounding as well the

shadow cast by a society that is “narcissistic, selfabsorbed

and utterly suicidal in its pursuit of

domination of nature ” ).

Harvey believes that positive social change will not

be achieved by activists fueled solely by anger or by

“bliss bunnies” who meditate and do little else. In

addition to personal and group shadow work, one of the

more confronting aspects of sacred activism is learning

to love and forgive the perpetrators of oppression,

cruelty, and horrendous injustices. This is a challenging

one, and I am not sure I am quite ready to embrace this,

yet intuitively it rings true.

“It doesn’t mean you don’t act against their policies,”

Harvey told me. “Gandhi didn’t hate the British, but

acted systematically to unseat them. Martin Luther King

didn’t hate white Americans, but fought with sacred

power to bring in civil rights. Not hating people, and

instead forgiving them, doesn’t mean you let the policies

or actions continue, but it does mean your whole action

is not action against; it’s for a vision that includes [the

perpetrators] and their healing. Gandhi believed the

British were killing themselves by gunning down the

Indians, so his action was on behalf of both. King

understood that white Americans pretending to love

Jesus while dishonoring their black brothers and sisters

were destroying a part of their soul, so his actions were

on behalf of White Americans and black people.”

It is a tough one. Attempting to love and forgive

those who carry out the most heinous atrocities on

people, animals, and the environment is not a place I

have reached yet, but I am teetering on the edge of

compassion, with the awareness that the perpetrators of

violence, cruelty and destruction are acting from a place

of fear, self-loathing, and unconsciousness. When I was

around nine, I deliberately killed a centipede. For no

particular reason other than I could. I suppose I felt

powerless, and this was a way I could feel powerful over

another being. I felt guilty and ashamed for many years

afterwards. I have also been reactive, unkind, and harsh

to various people throughout my life—as most of us


We all seek love, significance, and belonging. In that

search we may hurt others. It is because we do not love

ourselves that our ego needs power over others, rather

than empowerment. As social change makers, we owe it

to ourselves, and to humanity, animals, and the planet,

to take action that comes from a place of compassion:

for others and ourselves. BV

This article is an extract

from Circles of Compassion:

Essays Connecting Issues of

Justice, edited by Dr. Will

Tuttle. To

order your

copy, click on

the cover


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Anti-natalism is a philosophical position

that assigns a negative value to birth or

that views non-existence as preferable to

existence (source). There is an

increasing population of vegans

publically expressing aggressive antinatalist

views and here, Dr. Casey Taft

explores how doing so can have a negative

impact on our vegan advocacy efforts.

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n a patriarchal society there is great pressure on

women to have children. Women are taught from an

early age that one of their primary functions is to

have babies. When they don't fulfill this societal

role, they may be subtly or not so subtly pressured by

those around them to get with the program.

I have great respect for those women who decide that

having children is not right for them despite the pressure

they're under. For many, the decision not to have children

represents a reclaiming of their personal identity and

what it means to be a woman.

Other women make a different choice and opt to have

children. This choice also may connect them with their


There is perhaps nothing more personal than one's

reproductive choices. I don't think that anyone should be

shamed for these choices, whatever they may be.

Unfortunately, within the vegan movement, many

women and men who refer to themselves as "antinatalists"

engage in shaming women for their choice to

have kids, creating an unsafe space for many women in

the movement. In anti-natalist spaces, and even in other

vegan spaces, women with children are derided as

"breeders" and far worse, and jokes are made about

women who have miscarriages or babies with disabilities.

The ugliness I've witnessed knows no bounds. But yet,

even when direct calls for violence towards women and

babies are exposed and made public, there is often a

disappointing silence among other "child-free" vegans

who otherwise are strong anti-violence advocates. I

suppose it's human nature to ignore violence and hatred

by those whom we may share certain other beliefs or


The anti-natalist argument is based primarily on

scientific claims that rapid overpopulation will be the

death of us all. The science behind these arguments is

weak, with data showing that birth rates are actually

declining in developing and developed nations. 1 The birth

rate in the United States is the lowest rate ever

recorded. 2,3 Despite this, 16% of the world’s population in

developed nations consumes 80% of its natural resources,

indicating that the real problems lie with

overconsumption and misallocation of resources. 4 This

overconsumption is clearly occurring at the corporate

rather than the individual level, as we have a global

economic system that has no regard for the damage that

our major industries cause to the planet. 5 Vegans are as

mindful of this as anyone, since our vegan advocacy helps

combat climate change. The data seem to be telling us

that focusing on people having babies is placing the focus

in the wrong area.

But one should not engage in shaming, coercing, or

abusing women based on interpretations of scientific data

regardless. Our reproductive choices are protected

human rights, and efforts to take away these rights are

oppressive and abusive. Looking the other way when

others in the community do the same is also an injustice.

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How are we going to convince others

that we're a social justice movement

if we promote violence and injustice

among ourselves? How can we be taken

seriously when we speak out against

violence towards non-human animals

while promoting or ignoring abuse

towards our fellow humans?

Just like veganism is an issue of justice and not merely an

issue of nutritional science, so too is the issue of

reproductive choice.

Another tenet of anti-natalism is that it's cruel to bring

other humans into this terrible world. If one believes that

living on this planet is a form of cruelty, I absolutely agree

that having a child may not be a good decision for them.

But many of us feel gratitude for each day that we exist on

this planet. Many of us are vegan because we believe that

being alive is amazing and no animal should be deprived of

this gift.

Yet another argument made by anti-natalists is that

there's no guarantee that a vegan child will grow up to be

vegan, and thus they will do greater harm. As a father of a 3

-year old vegan girl who just grilled all our neighbors about

veganism while trick or treating for Halloween, I call BS.

Our little girl is stronger in her vegan convictions than

many adults we know. When kids are not brainwashed to

do harm to animals, it becomes unthinkable to do so, and

it’s highly unlikely that anything is going to change that.

Having a vegan child has forced us to engage in vegan

education efforts in all kinds of spaces that we otherwise

would not have: with neighbours, pre-school, family, and

friends. If we truly want a vegan world, we need to raise

awareness everywhere, not only with those from a singular

demographic or lifestyle choice.

Our veganism has been strengthened by having a vegan

child. It was the impetus for starting a vegan-themed

publishing company with a mission to raise vegan

awareness. Our connection with our child has made the

bond between non-human animals and their babies

more real and personal for us. When we see a young non

-human animal in an animal use industry, we see them as

we see our own child and it pushes us to try even harder

to make a difference for animals. Our parenthood is a

fundamental part of our veganism.

That is just us, of course, and others will have a

different experience. I'm not trying to suggest that every

vegan should go out there and reproduce, but at the

same time, we should not gloss over the good that can

come from parenting and we should avoid thinking of

vegan babies as some kind of plague for humanity.

Before somebody blurts out "Just adopt!" they should

educate themselves on the difficulties and costs of the

adoption process. I wish this was a more accessible

option and I urge anyone with the inclination and the

means to please do so, but adoption of a human is simply

not the same as saving a companion animal, and I know

of no vegan anti-natalist who has actually adopted a

human child.

Since I've become more vocal against anti-natalism,

I've had several vegan mothers thank me and tell me

stories about how they've been bullied and abused by

others in the community, and how their "friends" have

failed to speak out for them. Many have also described

not feeling safe in the vegan community anymore

because of this. It should go without saying that this is

the opposite of what we should be doing. We should be

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inviting others from various backgrounds and lifestyles

into our movement, including parents.

How are we going to convince others that we're a

social justice movement if we promote violence and

injustice among ourselves? How can we be taken seriously

when we speak out against violence towards non-human

animals while promoting or ignoring abuse towards our

fellow humans? It's time to get serious as a movement and

cut out the oppression, in all of its forms. BV


1 Nargund, G. (2009). Declining birth rate in developed countries:

A radical policy rethink is required. Facts Views Vis Obgyn.

2009; 1(3): 191–193.

2 Park, M. (August 11, 2016). U.S. fertility rate falls to lowest on

record. CNN.

3 Rossen LM, Osterman MJK, Hamilton BE, Martin JA. (2016).

Quarterly provisional estimates for selected birth indicators,

2014–Quarter 2, 2016. National Center for Health Statistics.

National Vital Statistics System, Vital Statistics Rapid Release


4 Utley, G. (October 12, 1999). World’s wealthiest 16 percent uses

80 percent of natural resources. CNN.


5 Global Sisterhood Network (Fall 2006). 10 Reasons to Rethink



In addition to his work

managing Vegan Publishers,

Casey Taft is Professor of

Psychiatry at Boston

University School of

Medicine. He is an

internationally recognised and

award-winning researcher in the

areas of trauma and the family. He has published

over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and

scientific reports, and has consulted with the

United Nations on preventing violence and abuse

globally. He sees the prevention of violence

towards animals as a natural extension of this

work. Visit the Vegan Publishers website and

connect with them via Facebook and Twitter.


“Parents are often bewildered when their

children who have been raised to hold certain

values, go on to reject those values later in

life. However, there is no insurance policy that

your children will follow your own values, even if

they have been subjected to them throughout

their developing years and seen those values

lived out in the family.

Vegan parents often believe that one of the

biggest contributions they can make to a

creating a vegan world is to raise a child as

vegan. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that

those children raised as vegans will continue to

be when they grow up.

“It is healthy and essential for children to

develop an increasing autonomy and

independence so they can function effectively in

the world. This independent stance could mean

a child who is raised vegan will reject those

values and see their non-veganism as a form of

independence and defiance. However, upbringing

and culture is a major determinant of how

people behave so fortunately for many children

raised as vegan, they continue to be throughout

their lives.”

- Vegan psychologist, Clare Mann

BAREFOOTVegan | 100

By Julia Feliz Brueck


ncluded with the latest submission to The Vegan

Craftivist Project was a note that read in part, "I like

the idea of vegan craftivist projects because I want

to feel useful and feel like I am still part of a

movement even though I am physically unable to be part

of a lot of actions. Everyone has something to give in


As the note reminds us, we all have something to give

and we can all speak up for non-humans in whatever way

we can. The Vegan Craftivist Project started as a way to

stay active in speaking up for non-humans after my move

to a foreign country where I did not speak the language. I

felt unable to use my voice on behalf of non-human

animals as I did before my move. I was grateful to find an

outlet a few months later when I learned that I could use

my hands to create works that could speak on their own

on issues that I was passionate about. I decided to use

craft as activism within the vegan and animal rights

movement through the collective display of banners

silently yet loudly proclaiming "why vegan" for nonhuman


Whether you are the only vegan in your area,

unfamiliar with the local language like I was, physically

unable to take part in many actions, or very active in the

vegan movement, the great thing about craftivism is that

vegans from all walks of life can speak up through the

use of their hands.

The term ‘craftivism’ was coined by Betsy Greer with an

aim of speaking up for social justice issues through the

use of craft - knitting, crochet, sewing, and embroidery,

BAREFOOTVegan | 102

for example. Community outreach, making things for

those less fortunate, creating something to protest an

issue, or crafting a piece that delivers a message to the

viewer, all count as craftivism. The Vegan Craftivist

Project was the first vegan project to join the craftivist


With a goal of collecting 100 banners, which will be

sewn together as a large flag and displayed in vegan

venues and demonstrations, world-wide submissions in all

languages from vegans of all crafting skills are welcome to

send in banners. To learn more about vegan craftivism,

the project, and submission guidelines,

visit or join our Vegan

Craftivist Facebook page. BV

Julia is an American currently

experiencing life in

Switzerland. She has spent

the last decade or so

exploring the world

outside of the US, and on

that journey, while in Ireland, she

discovered ethical veganism. Julia has recently

published her first vegan children’s book ‘Libby

Finds Vegan Sanctuary’.

We all have

something to

give and we

can all speak

up for nonhumans


whatever way

we can.

BAREFOOTVegan | 103

BAREFOOTVegan | 104

By Honey Morris


love to craft, it’s a hobby, and a passion, that I have

rediscovered in my thirties. I find crafting to be

surprisingly relaxing, mediative almost, and I spend as

much time channelling my creativity as possible. A lot

of my family and friends are baffled when I talk about vegan

crafting but frustratingly, a lot of crafting materials are nonvegan.

That’s right, a lot of crafting materials contain animal

products and/or animal by-products! Yes, it’s sadly the case

but on a positive note, eco-friendly and vegan crafting

supplies are becoming more and more popular and as a

consequence, retailers are being encouraged to cater for

conscious crafters.

As an example, paint and paint brushes are often nonvegan,

paint commonly contains charred animal bones,

cochineal, ox gall and squid sacs and paint brushes are,

more often than not, made from fur.

Personally, my main craft is crochet, so my key

consideration is wool. I refuse to crochet with any animalbased

wool, the most common of which is sheep’s wool.

The commercial wool industry is profit driven, shearers are

often paid per sheep and consequently, sheep suffer

emotionally and physically as a result of the shearing

process. I also prefer to use eco-friendly wools, with

bamboo and organic cotton being firm favourites.

When I’m crafting, I love to reuse items. I love the

challenge of creating something with items that are

considered “trash”. This is something that a lot of my

family and friends are aware of so they often pass me things

like buttons, corks, fabric scraps, glass jars, ribbon,

wrapping paper, and I especially love to craft them

something with the items they kindly donate.

I was actually introduced to the idea of craftivism when

my family and friends started offering to pay for my

creations. Initially, I felt a little awkward when

discussing potential prices, however, I soon realised

that I was being presented with an opportunity to use

my hobby to raise some much needed funds for not-for

-profit animal rescue organisations.

So, as a craftivist I use my creativity to make a

difference, albeit a small and gentle one. I donate all of

the profits I make from selling items I have crafted

and/or crocheted and excitingly, since mid-2016, I have

donated over $300.00 (AUD).

Recently, I was able to combine my love of crafting

and my love of food by hosting a Christmas

crafternoon tea. I was overwhelmed with how

enthusiastically my friends embraced the crafting

aspect and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to

share some delicious vegan food with them all.

I am looking forward to continuing with my

craftivism in 2017. I have some exciting ideas for

crochet projects that also raise awareness of important

animal rights issues.

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to

introduce a new hobby or like me, rediscover an old

hobby! So, if you’re feeling inspired to channel your

creativity, have a think about what you’d like to do;

jewellery making, crocheting, knitting, quilting,

sewing, card making, scrapbooking, or woodwork! Give

it a go, the possibilities really are endless! BV

Honey is the creator of Veggie Yum Yums, a

friendly vegan Facebook page, and the

Assistant Online Editor of Barefoot Vegan.

Click here to visit her website.

BAREFOOTVegan | 105

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