Executive Producer, Consultant, Animal Advocate, Actress and Model
SS: What made you go vegan and why?
LP: Early on I always had a problem with the suffering that animals endure for human consumption. I always questioned it, and was always told “that is just the way it is.” That might be the way it has been, but it doesn’t mean that is the way it has to be, or more importantly the way it should be…and I had the power to make the decision that I can be at peace with. I made a decision based on aligning my choices with my belief system which is that no sentient being should have to experience any cruelty or inhumane treatment . Period. Recently, about 8 months ago, my eyes were completely opened. I realized I had a choice, and my choice could be one of compassion and love for all sentient beings. For me, it was a process of learning what truly goes on and not denying the truth. Most people go on blocking out of their mind what really happens to the animals. I made the connection. The first step for me in becoming vegan was learning the truth of what goes on, and then making an educated and heartfelt decision to not be a part of it. I saw a video online of pigs being taken to be slaughtered. The pigs were in terrible condition, crammed in the back of a truck, and they were cuddling with each other. In that video I saw the look of pain, terror and confusion in the pigs eyes, it was at that moment I started making changes and took steps to becoming vegan. I do not want to be a part of an industry which inflicts pain and torture on innocent animals. What people don’t realize is that by turning their backs and denying the truth, they are just as much a part of it. So, I went vegan for the animals. I then learned by doing so I have never felt better …in more ways than one.
SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes what was difficult and did it get easier?
LP: The decision to want to be vegan was an easy one. The way it was for me was that once I knew the truth of what the animals are subjected to, there was no other decision than to be vegan. It was that simple for me. The difficulty during the transition for me was doing so in a healthy manner by eating the right foods. At first it was a challenge, I just simply wasn’t feeling well physically, but this was only because I wasn’t educated about what to eat. And trust me, there are so many choices! It comes down to education. Once I learned that there were so many options…very healthy and amazing options, it was simple and I now I feel healthier than I have ever been in my life. Something interesting I think to note is that about 6 months after becoming vegan I had a comprehensive blood panel done, and one of the things I wanted to check was my protein level. Well, my protein level was right in the middle of where it should be and my doctor was joyfully reading my results to me. He said “now, this is the kind of blood panel doctors like to see – this is outstanding, a very good report!” Truly, a plant based protein diet is where it’s at!
SS: What are some animal rights related things that you participate in?
LP: I am a strong advocate against vivisection (animal testing). I first learned about just how unnecessary and cruel animal testing … of any kind (and for any reason) is during an Ethics class in college. I did my term paper on strongly opposing vivisection. So, any time there is a protest to attend or a petition to sign, I am there. This needs to be done away with for good. People may be surprised to learn that not only is this causing innocent animals an immense amount of pain and suffering (which is definitely the most important reason to put an end to it), animal testing has actually hindered advances in medicine and delayed solutions to health problems in many instances. In May, I am also attending a protest to stand up for the thousands of pigs who are slaughtered each day. I also do animal rescue, and currently have 2 sweet pit bulls in my care who are still waiting for fabulous homes to come forward.
SS: What are your favorite animal rights organizations?
LP: My favorite animal rights organizations would have to be Animal Defenders International (ADI) and The Gentle Barn. Additionally, I should say large or small, I support any worthwhile organization that does their part to make life better for the animals.
SS: What would you say to somebody who is considering going vegan?
LP: I would say do it!! It is one of the best decisions you can ever make. Do it for the animals, do it for yourself and do it for the environment. And three things – open your eyes and learn what really goes on in terms of what these innocent animals are subjected to;, once you know and accept the truth as reality – trust me, you won’t want to support it. Then, educate yourself further– find out what your options are in terms of diet and make the transition in a healthy manner, making sure you are choosing the correct foods so that you feel better than ever. And three, get support from the vegan community. Join an online forum, possibly participate in groups sharing vegan recipes, and take part in the outstanding vegan Facebook community. There is support everywhere, just look and you will find it!
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?
LP: One of my most vivid memories in terms of animal rescue involves a precious dog, whom I loved, who was 12 years old when I rescued him. He had tumors all through his body and was terminally ill. Bandit is the reason I became involved in animal rescue. I saw him at Santa Monica shelter, this is dating back to 2003 and he looked so sad, yet each time I visited him he would be a bit happier and more hopeful it seemed. I learned about him through the people at the shelter. Everyone thought he would die at the shelter. They thought “Who was going to adopt a 12 year old terminally ill dog??” Well, I did. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. I remember the day I adopted him the people at the shelter had tears in their eyes….happy tears. They just couldn’t believe he was getting a home in his condition. Long story short, Bandit lived 3 weeks. I was devastated when he died. He brought so much joy to my life in those 3 weeks, and I know I did the same for him. It was Bandit who made me realize that people need to understand it’s all about the animal and not to let fear of growing attached to an animal and then losing he/she so suddenly be an excuse to not rescue a senior animal. Realize that the animal deserves to live out his/her life with love and dignity…whatever time they have left. Lead with love, not fear of loss. One of the reasons why I love senior animals so much, they have so much love to give and they deserve the very best.