Author: Jo Kidd
We have always been honest with our daughter, Rosa, about where meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products come from. When she asks questions, we try to answer her as honestly and clearly as possible so that she is equipped to make informed decisions.
As a family, we believe that we should live as compassionately, sustainably and mindfully as possible and cause the least amount of suffering in the world. This philosophy is encapsulated in veganism, which provides the template for how we want to live.
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
Veganism embraces all aspects of life and promotes peace and non-violence towards all living beings (including humans) and care for the earth. It is about re(connecting) with nature, with ourselves and with other animals.
For us, it’s not a question of what we are giving up or missing but rather what we are gaining by having the peace of mind that we are causing the least amount of harm and suffering as possible.
We are involved in various projects concerned with sustainable and compassionate living and social justice. We co-founded the Abbot’s Mill Project and coordinate the Kent Vegan Festival which is going from strength to strength.
On Saturday, the 6th May 2017, at the Westgate Hall, we hosted our third festival.
This is a film showing highlights of the day:
The aim of the Kent Vegan Festival is to raise awareness about veganism as a compassionate, holistic, healthy and intrinsically non-violent way of life. We believe that there needs to be a pro-intersectional approach towards veganism and that this is, in fact, at the heart of the movement. Systems of oppression are interconnected not isolated.
Everyone is welcome. Our approach is to be supportive, educational, encouraging and positive: we believe in non-violence to all living beings and in peaceful, friendly, non-discriminatory means of campaigning and communicating our message.
At least 150 Billion land animals are killed globally each year by the meat, dairy and egg industries alone, with a further 1-2.5 trillion sea animals for food!(2)
The United Nations has said that we need small-scale, low impact, organic farming rather than large scale mass production or genetically modified crops to tackle global food insecurity.(3)
Over 1 billion people go hungry each day, yet we feed over 50% of all grain to farmed animals.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, habitat destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones and most of the worst environmental ills facing our world.(4)
The World Health Organisation has recently classified processed meat as carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic.(5)
There has been a dramatic surge in veganism over the past decade.
Most of us will be able to name a famous vegan; examples include Al Gore, Johnny Marr, Joaquin Phoenix and Venus Williams.
Even TV chefs are now embracing the vegan challenge and realising that we all need to move away from meat and dairy-focused diets.
Many people will have recently watched the brilliant new mockumentary on BBC iPlayer, Carnage, by comedian Simon Amstell (himself a vegan), which portrays an imagined vegan Britain 50 years from now.
A recent study by the Vegan Society and Vegan Life Magazine showed that veganism in Britain had increased by 360% over the 10 years from 2006 to 2016.(6)
There are now over half a million vegans, which is over three and a half times as many as in 2006.
Veganism is, indeed, entering the mainstream!
Canterbury has been described as one of the most vibrant cities in the UK. So, it is not surprising that we have seen such a huge surge in interest in veganism here.
We have many eateries offering vegan food, including the long-established Veg Box Café, which is working towards being 100% vegan. The Abbot’s Mill Project, a vegan project with the aim of developing a centre for sustainability and social justice, is based in the middle of Canterbury.
The most recent to be part of the movement is the newly launched 100% vegan pub, the Monument, on St Dunstan’s Street, which hosted the official Kent Vegan Festival after-party!
People are waking up to the truth about animal agriculture and other ways in which humans exploit non-human animals. More and more people want to follow a non-violent way of life, for the sake of the animals, the environment, social justice and their own health (physical, psychological and spiritual).
As Rosa says:
'Animals are our friends. I don’t want to hurt humans, animals or the earth.’
We couldn’t put it better ourselves!
Read and download the Post-Festival report on the Kent Vegan Festival in your browser here.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Kent Vegan Festival © Jo Kidd 2017.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
Jo Kidd describes the Abbot's Mill Project, an initiative that combines a commitment to sustainability and social justice.
The Abbot's Mill Project team have been working in partnership with the United Nations Association in Canterbury to celebrate International Mother Earth Day.
David Towell describes a great innovation that provides employment for disabled people whilst supporting sustainability and social justice.
Jo Kidd explores veganism and justice for all in this presentation given at the Mental Wealth Festival held in September 2016.
In October 2015, 1,500 people took part in the very first Kent Vegan Festival in Canterbury, Jo Kidd shares what happened on the day.