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Born and Raised Hawaiian, Kiana Mohika-Miyashiro’s Awakening to Veganism and a Passionate Life Dedicated to Animal Rights
Six years ago at age 26, Kiana was eating a diet of meat, eggs, white rice and fast food which her body was suffering from. Overweight and having difficulty breathing, fatigued and using nasal spray daily, she went to the doctor for help and left with a prescription. This was her wake-up call. Although Kiana originally became vegan for health reasons, this journey led her into animal rights work when she learned about the ethical and environmental benefits of veganism.
Kiana had always described herself as a life-long “animal lover” who, from a young age knew she wanted to work with animals one day. With the best of intentions and unaware of the exploitation of captivity, one of Kiana’s first jobs entailed photographing tourists swimming with dolphins at Oahu’s Sea Life Park, later becoming a veterinary technician and now rescuing and rehabilitating animals with special needs. Kiana’s inspirational story is one of honest self-reflection, compassion and humility.
In 1957, the American psychologist Leon Festinger coined the term cognitive dissonance to describe “the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values”. Most people consider themselves animal lovers and say that they oppose animal cruelty, yet only a small percentage of people are living a vegan lifestyle. This is cognitive dissonance.
Like many other activists who were not born vegan, Kiana sought out a way to reconcile her guilt from consuming animals and their secretions, wearing their skin, using products tested on them, and working with captive animals. She gives back by speaking out on behalf of all animals. With positivity, kindness and humility, she engages with the public, admitting that she was just like them before she had her awakening to how harmful and unnecessary this lifestyle was. Kiana and her wife, Mahina have 12 rescued animal companions (8 dogs, 3 cats and a pig) who all have special needs – the most recent family addition is a deaf and blind dog. Every Friday, Kiana takes her pig “Pearl” to a local beach as a way to engage the public in discussions around veganism, and she also organizes regular public outreach events on behalf of the world-wide organization, Anonymous For The Voiceless called the “Cube of Truth” where activists use TVs to show undercover footage obtained in slaughterhouses and offer education to the public about adopting a compassionate lifestyle.
Kiana’s conviction is powerful and contagious, not only to pre-vegans, but also to those wanting to become involved in activism for some of the most exploited and vulnerable beings on earth…the animals.