Tirelessly compassionate. Driven to liberate. Standing at the front line of animal rights activism. Veganuary meets the inspiring Cath Kendall.
Why did you decide to go vegan?
I was vegetarian since the age of nine until the age of 24 when a friend sent me a Gary Yourofsky’s speech. I watched it and instantly went vegan. I thought I was as ethical as I could be by being vegetarian, but after watching Gary’s speech, I realised the dairy and egg industry is the cruellest of them all.
What was the most challenging aspect of going vegan?
Chocolate, when I first went vegan six years ago there was no vegan chocolate in supermarkets like there is now. I thought I couldn’t eat chocolate again for months until I realised I could order it online! It’s sooo much easier now though, there are so many vegan chocolate options everywhere.
How did you begin your work as an activist and blogger?
My first activism event was Birmingham Earthlings Experience about four years ago. That was it for me, no going back. I realised how much more change could be made by being active. It’s one thing being vegan and not harming animals ourselves, but when we have voices we can use to speak up for these animals, why would we not do that too!?
How has vegan activism changed over the past five years?
It’s growing by the day! Look at the Official Animal Rights March for example – in 2016 there were 2,500 people, in 2017 there was 5,000 people and in 2018 there were 10,000 people! It is literally doubling every year.
What is the most common myth surrounding vegan activists?
That we are all angry and aggressive.
We all have different personalities and ways of dealing with things. Listening to people condone animal slavery and murder is tough at times so I’m not blaming anyone for reacting. I’m guilty of it myself, but I think in order to win people over we have to remain calm and balanced as best we can.
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Are there any moments in your career that stand out?
The animal rights marches. We all unite together for one cause regardless of our other differences; there is one thing we all share in common – we all want animal liberation and stand alongside each other to achieve it.
What inspires you to carry on your work as an activist?
The animals. We have to carry on. If we saw a dog being beaten in the street we wouldn’t just give up if the person doing it told us to go away would we? We’d continue until they could no longer harm the dog.
Lots of people inspire me, my friend Earthling Ed inspires me. He has done so much for the movement in such a short space of time. The guys who run all the sanctuaries, who work tirelessly to help the animals saved from slaughter. The hunt sabs who give up every Saturday to save lives. Every single activist out there who gives up there time to fight for animals; they all inspire me.
What advice would you have for new activists, or someone who wants to get involved in the vegan movement?
Don’t wait, just turn up. Even if you feel too nervous to join in on the first event, just go and observe, all the organisers are really understanding of first time activists so don’t ever be worried about not wanting to do something, you’ll get the bug eventually and you won’t want to stop. Join Facebook activism groups and local animal rights groups, connect with other activists on Instagram to get the latest event information.
How do you see veganism evolving over the next 10 years?
It’s already blowing up.
We all know the warnings about climate change and the fact the oceans will be fish-less by 2048 if we continue to fish at the rate we are. The planet is in such a state that we have no choice but to evolve towards a more plant-based diet. Although people are waking up to the cruelty happening, I think we will be forced to make massive changes due to climate change too! These two factors combined, along with the health benefits, mean I think veganism is going to lead the way.
You’re also a strong advocate for women’s confidence and female empowerment, what encouraged you to get involved with this?
Speaking on a spiritual level, females are so powerful but we don’t always use that power. I want to help women take this power back and realise how beautiful and complete we are without the pressure society puts on us.
This is also a project that my good friend Claire (grow up vegan) and I are working on at the moment. We noticed that there are so many amazing female activists within our community that aren’t having their hard work recognised, we aren’t exactly sure why this is, but we are hoping to create a space where we can push empowered female activists forward to balance out the feminine and masculine Devine within the movement so that we can achieve better results.
You can follow Cath’s activism via her Instagram feed here.
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