Some people consider veganism a diet. It’s true, it includes food, but it also encompasses a lot more. Veganism is a lifestyle. People who adhere to this lifestyle beyond diet incorporate it into the clothes they wear, the makeup they buy, even the cleaning products they use. Within the last few years, veganism has gained significant attention. In reality, it has been around for centuries. As far back as the 1840s, fruit communes existed where animals were neither consumed nor exploited for any purpose. Then in 1944, Donald Watson created The Vegan Society, which declared veganism a philosophy that sought to coexist with rather than exploit animals for any purpose. Today, concerns about animal welfare are on the rise, and luckily it is finding a clear path in politics. Below are 5 amazing vegan politicians working to end animal cruelty and help our world.
First on our list, Cory Booker. Booker is the Democratic senator from New Jersey and has been an animal rights activist since 1992. He was inspired to cut out meat after reading Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Booker was pleased with how he felt and stuck to vegetarianism until he realized how the environment was impacted by animal consumption. Booker’s last non-vegan meal was on November 4, 2014—Election Day. Today, Booker advocates for reduced factory farming and more transparency with animal agriculture.
Tulsi Gabbard is a Democratic Representative from Hawaii. She found her way to the spotlight over the last year during a run for President. While her Presidential bid may have been short, her time with veganism has been a lifelong journey. After Gabbard’s father had an unfortunate experience at a Luau, he became a vegetarian and raised Gabbard and her siblings as such. Within the last number of years, Gabbard has become aware of the unethical treatment in the dairy industry and has since transitioned to veganism. She wants people to realize the environment is at stake, as are the animals.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Lumumba is the current Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. In 2017, Pamela Anderson challenged him to go vegan and even sent him some free lunches. This is especially significant because Jackson has one of the highest obesity rates in the U.S. This experiment highlighted the unfortunate reality that many places within the U.S., namely impoverished communities, don’t have access to plant-based foods. In order for the plant-based movement to progress, it is crucial that access to such foods be made equal. Vegan politicians who recognize this, is certainly a good place to start!
Eric Adams is the Borough President of Brooklyn, NY. Adams is a former police captain who, after years serving his country, is finally serving himself. Since adopting a vegan diet, Adams has lost 30 pounds and reversed his diabetes. He recognizes that in his former line of work, many of the men and women in blue do not adhere to the best diets. Adams advocates for exercise, healthy eating, and controlling portion sizes. Call it intuitive. To best serve each other we must first serve ourselves. That starts with what we are serving up on our plates.
Finally, we have former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Like many of us who are on the vegan journey, it started with learning. Clinton’s learning began by rereading Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Dr. Ornish advocates for a strict low-fat, plant-based diet. However, Clinton found this book after accepting he was a candidate for a heart attack. He had a history of heart disease and knew the risk wasn’t lessening. After reading Dr. Ornish’s book, Clinton also read Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., and The China Study, by Dr. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. Clinton stated, ‘I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn’t want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather.’ Clinton adopted a plant-based diet and is now an advocate of the lifestyle. For the better part of a decade, Clinton has committed to the diet and today he is thriving.
Currently, our world is feeling the effects of animal exploitation and environmental damage. Humans need the environment and animals to survive and thrive. It is our job to coexist, not exploit. Each day, bills are passed that both advance and impede veganism efforts. Whether you are new to veganism or a long-time vegan, if you believe in the cause contact your local, state, and federal representatives. Animal rights and environmental rights are a human rights issue! We can thrive when we come together! We applaud you for even considering this lifestyle and are with you every step of the way. Try veganism for a healthier, happier, and greener tomorrow!