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veganism

Meet the Vegan Heroes Being Persecuted for Their Beliefs

The much-criticised faces of a brave new chapter of identity politics, who strive on anyway.

by Hannah Ewens
18 January 2019, 9:30am

Perhaps a young vegan activist thinking through their campaign (Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych via Alamy Stock Photo)

The vegan utopia is coming, sooner rather than later. Bacon bros will seem like the murderous barbarians we deep down know them to be. Animal produce will go underground like Class A drugs. “Honey:” nothing more than a term of endearment; “sausages:” a word mistaken in old texts for gaelic. Sheep will be recognised as she/her/sheep rather than lamb/hogget/mutton. In the final years, meat will become a mainstay for the right, a symbol of Brexit Means Brexit, everything Engerland stands for. But that doesn’t mean we can just wait around for the masses to self-educate or for veganism to continue to proliferate at its current expeditious pace.

Enter the next generation of activists. Comprising both longstanding and strident vegans, and many new and chomping at the bit to make their new belief system and lifestyle known, together they are spreading the message. Sure, the work of this brave lot won’t be popular with animal marauders in our lifetime. Look to Malcolm X, Karl Marx and whoever threw the first stone at Stonewall: none of those people drove their ideas forward without ruffling (nicely!) a few feathers. Someone has to be the face and voice and personal brand of the revolution.

Let’s take a chance now to fully celebrate those vegans taking a stand for the animals, the environment, the planet.

Joseph Joe Johnson, 29

The new vegan activist

After being shamed by hordes of carnivores on Twitter for being too aggressive to a female farmer on daytime television, Joseph Joe’s bravery never wavered. In a public statement via Instagram story video, he explained that what people wrongly perceived as him “speaking over” her and making “threats” towards her family were simply his attempts to take back airtime from the dominant death-dealing narrative. Making noise for the animals is necessary practice. Is the average heifer able to do anything but suffer in silence when a farmer is playing her ovaries like meridian balls through her rectum wall? No. She is not.

Alexis San-Roman, 32

The new vegan activist

You might remember Alexis or Ali from six months ago when he was all over the national news looking concerned, holding what looked to be a simple muffin. He’d gone for quick bite at a local Tesco cafe and trusted that his 99p cake was accidentally vegan, having checked with the cashier, a man in his sixties, who took a cursory glance at the packet. After one bite of the muffin, he was disgusted to find he had eaten not only whey protein but also palm oil. “Things should be properly labelled so what’s happened to me here today never happens to another vegan anywhere,” Ali told The Sun. “The older ignorant generation need to catch up or die out like the backwards dinosaurs they are”.

Dan Alexander, 25

The new vegan activist

This vegan YouTuber from Surrey rebranded from being a meat-based mukbanger only a year ago to using his engaged audience to spread the good word. His viral video, “The Meat Industry Abuses Women”, which currently has over 11.4 million views, explains how the systematic exploitation of the bodies of female species in meat and dairy farming is symptomatic of our worldview of women as vessels for reproduction and domination. He was questioned by critics who accused him of lifting his message from the seminal book on the same topic by Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990). But that was before social media. Dan Alexander is right, just like the other writer was. Can you really look yourself in the mirror and call yourself a male feminist if you eat meat? His book How Veganism Is Feminism is out on Virago, summer 2019.

Andrew Price, 19

The new vegan activist

Prompting a UK-wide conversation, Andrew went where no vegan has gone before: suing his university for discrimination on the grounds of identity AKA his veganism. When he began his degree in Geography at the University of Salford, he found himself bunking with animal diners. In another right wing front-page splash, Andrew was photographed with a greasy bacon saucepan – a replica of the very same one he found left in his halls sink for three days in a row. “This is one of the greatest disgraces of our time,” Andrew declared. “You wouldn’t expect LGBTQ people to live with homophobes, neither should you make vegans live with meat-eaters.” He has demanded that the two groups be separated until a student body exists that will take animal produce consumption on campus seriously.

Morgan Samuel Andolina, 20

The new vegan activist

An important endeavour by another new face of peaceful vegan protest was almost derailed last week. Morgan's demonstration at a local supermarket ended when he followed a mother-of-five around with a megaphone after seeing her buying cheap cuts (the woman, who claimed to have become disoriented and passed out, later dropped charges). Not one to let the righteous red-tape of the system destroy a fledgling career in social justice, Morgan tripled his followers overnight on his newly verified Instagram account, where you can buy one of his “Do not seek love, become love – M. S. Andolina” organic-cotton sustainable t-shirts.

Joey “Joe” Andrews, 26

The new vegan activist

Joe found himself in a whirlwind of controversy when his hashtag #VeganismIsRacism was called out for conflating abuse against animals with abuse against POC. His account was briefly shut down by Twitter after being doxxed by users who found misogynistic tweets from two years ago when he was much younger. Having adjusted his views to fit with a movement and lifestyle that is, of course, at its heart, understanding and compassionate, Joe started a new hashtag campaign, #VegansAgainstRacism. On his award-winning podcast, The Vegan Dude, Joe spreads awareness about the inclusivity of the veganism and has a segment where he shares his global recipes. His cooking show of the same name, The Vegan Dude: Recipes From Dalston To Dominica, (whose first episode guest-stars Dan Alexander) hits streaming services in May 2019.

Sydney Pandolfi, 21

The new vegan activist

A few months ago Sydney went on a solo activist mission to a Midlands battery farm to save and re-home a chicken (unfortunately he left the gate open and around 250 chickens ran onto the M60, a freak accident that some members of the public have chosen to focus on). The adorable selfies of him and the chicken in the getaway car went viral and have even been made into fan art by teen vegans. The half Australian-half Italian graduate ranked as number one on PETA's hottest vegans list and has now signed to Storm Model Management. He is rumoured to be the face of the next leg of the Nike campaign, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

@hannahrosewens