Rescuer, activist, model and actress.
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
BL: I decided to go vegetarian when I was 11 years old. One day, I was eating a cheeseburger, and I suddenly realized that cheeseburgers were cows. I immediately asked my mom if animals died for us to eat them. She said yes. I then asked if they died naturally. The answer shocked me. I did not understand why anyone would kill animals (I still don’t) but I didn’t know what I could do about it. I continued to think about it for weeks. I didn’t know I could “go vegetarian” until I saw a short feature on T.V. about vegetarian kids. I remember a few were very young, and I figured if they could do it, I sure as hell could! I marched out of my room and announced that I was a vegetarian. My mom laughed a little, but after a few days of not eating meat, she went to the store and bought me vegetarian products.
Over the years I continued to be passionate about animals and living a vegetarian lifestyle. I thought that I was avoiding all cruelty by not eating meat. In high school, I was very outspoken about animal rights and I started to do more of my own research. I came across videos exposing the cruelty in the dairy and egg industries. I was horrified because I thought that because I was a vegetarian, I was essentially avoiding all cruelty to animals. I was not aware that cows are repeatedly impregnated (with what the industry refers to as a “rape rack”), baby cows are dragged away from their mothers after birth – the females doomed to the same fate as their mothers, the males shoved into tiny cages, unable to move, until they are slaughtered for veal, and abuse is common on the farms. I also did not know the conditions that hens are kept it on egg farms. They are crammed into small cages or packed into filthy barns, slaughtered after a few laying cycles, and the male chicks are ground up alive or suffocated in plastic bags because they are of no use to the business. It took me a few months to really let that sink in. I knew it was wrong, but I had said that I would never go vegan, and I really believed I couldn’t! I didn’t even know how to make a box of Mac and Cheese. I didn’t know any other vegans, and giving up dairy sounded like capital punishment. I decided to watch another investigation video, and that was it. I could not deny the cruelty I was supporting and I could no longer ignore my conscience. I went vegan.
SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes what was difficult and did it get easier?
BL: At first, I thought it was difficult. I used to eat cheese with EVERYTHING, and I did not know how to cook. I started looking up recipes on vegweb.com, and my boyfriend and family bought me a few cooking books. I started to realize it wasn’t hard at all! I now love cooking and baking! I really craved dairy at first, but now I find it repulsive. After I got it out of my system I felt so good and I didn’t miss it at all. The part that I still find difficult, is having friends and family not truly listen to the reasons I am vegan. Once you become enlightened about something, it is so difficult to understand that not everyone is. I want more than anything for my loved ones to care enough about animals, the Earth, themselves, and even me, to go vegan. I think it is difficult because some people think you are trying to force a viewpoint or control them, when all you really want to do is eliminate suffering. It is a struggle and can be overwhelming at times but it is still 100% worth it.
SS: What are some animal rights related things that you participate in?
BL: My main love is rescue. I have been rescuing animals since I was a young kid, much to my parents’ dismay. I have volunteered with multiple adoption/rescue groups and shelters, but I now do independent rescue. My goal is to open up a huge animal sanctuary. I work for an Animal Rights organization, attend protests, and I use every opportunity possible to talk about the cruelty that animals endure and how we can change that.
SS: What are your favorite animal rights organizations?
BL: I love aspects of every organization – I think each plays an integral part in liberating animals and I appreciate the hard work that goes into each of their efforts. Some of my favorites include MFA, APRL, Farm Sanctuary, Fur Free LA, WWF, and so many rescues and sanctuaries!
SS: What would you say to somebody who is considering going vegan?
BL: DO IT! I promise it will be one of the best decisions you ever make in your life. If you are thinking about it, you already know that it is the right answer. Living as free from cruelty as possible has improved nearly every aspect of my life. It isn’t a hard thing to do, and I am happy to help by answering questions or talking about it with you.
SS: Do you have any memories that stand out in your mind about someone saving an animal? Or relating to an animal in a unique way?
BL: I have so many memories of saving animals – both heartbreaking and joyful – but the one that has probably had the greatest impact might be the simplest. When I was young, my older sister found a litter of kittens at her high school. She needed a home for one, so she brought her to our house. As soon as I saw her, I was in love. She chased me around the house all night and instantly became the most important thing in my life. My relationship with that brilliant, funny, crazy cat and the act of my sister rescuing her have probably shaped how I relate to animals and how I live my life.