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Roundtable discussion on compassion, morality, health and the power of transformation
In this show, we bring together people from varying walks of life and stages of the vegan journey (we hope) for an exploration of morality and questioning the status quo when it comes to the normalization of animal use.
Kyle Graewe is a firefighter in the Lower Mainland who has been on a journey for the past 4 years to live a more holistic and healthy lifestyle. At the start of 2019 he decided to shift his diet to become nearly 100% plant based. Over the past 4 years of learning how to eat more sustainably and to power his body using plants, he finally came to terms that a plant based diet was the only way to go.
With the overwhelming evidence he had discovered, Kyle felt that there was no other option than to go almost completely plant based. He has been suffering with chronic pain within his whole body for the past 5 years and hasn’t found a practitioner who has been able to solve the puzzle.
He is hoping with his switch to a more plant based diet, that this could finally be the elixir to get over his chronic pain. Kyle leads a very active lifestyle and loves being outdoors in nature to get away from the craziness of the city.
Matthew Nagra is a long-time vegan and recent graduate of Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster. He volunteers for one of my all-time favourite vegan doctors, Dr. Michael Greger, in contributing to his non-profit organization, Nutritionfacts.org, which is an incredible resource for all the latest unbiased, peer-reviewed medical research on health and nutrition.
We had Matthew on our Veganuary show to tackle some of the common misconceptions about vegan diets and health concerns while inspiring a compassionate commitment to animals for New Years’ resolutions.
Geoff Regier is an independent animal advocate and investigator. He spent his formative years growing up and working on a small family farm in the Fraser Valley. It wasn’t until moving off the farm that Geoff found his way into veganism, animal rights activism, and then undercover investigations with the organization Mercy For Animals.
For three years, Geoff worked undercover in modern farms and slaughterhouses across Canada, documenting conditions and working with law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable for farmed animal abuse and neglect.
His work inside Canada’s egg farms pushed multiple companies to ban cages from their supply chains. His investigation inside Canada’s largest dairy farm received international media coverage and not only shocked the nation but also resulted in multiple animal cruelty convictions against the owner and the company itself.
His investigations have led to new corporate animal welfare reform policies. Geoff Regier is a wealth of information on standard legal practices used on animals. He has also worked closely with Canada’s leading expert on Farm Animal Law, lawyer Anna Pippus of Animal Justice Canada, which is leading judiciary change for animals.
Now retired from undercover work, Geoff serves as a spokesperson in the media and focuses his efforts on a range of public awareness campaigns, educating Canadians about modern farming practices and encouraging people to make dietary changes to reflect their values of compassion and justice for animals. He now lives with a small flock of hens rescued from egg farms.
Denny Bateham is a local entrepreneur, doting father to a beautiful 6 year old girl and self-confessed bacon lover who I recently met, and as I do with everyone I meet, have been attempting to veganize. He has been a pretty good sport about the carnist-mocking memes and cartoons I’ve been sending him on a regular basis, many from the collection of Vegan Sidekick. Google these images – trust me, you’ll laugh. (The debate guide is informative and a great resource for new vegans or new activists as well).
In preparation for this show, we watched the Earthlings documentary together, with Denny pausing so many times to ask questions that we didn’t get through it all, and me getting a little heated in response to a question about the justification of keeping animals in captivity for educational purposes – this one strikes a nerve with me.
We discussed welfarism vs abolitionism, Temple Grandin, the exploitation of vulnerable minorities with PTSD who work in modern farms and slaughterhouses, animal agriculture’s role in antibiotic resistance in humans already leading to needless deaths from simple infections (nearly killed a mutual friend of ours), and the impacts of farming on our environment.
I am extremely grateful for Denny’s curiosity and willingness to take part in this discussion and to witness a documentary that most people wouldn’t watch 5 minutes of, but I wasn’t hopeful that he would commit to more than reducitarianism. Let’s see if today’s chat with Geoff, Kyle, Matthew and Alison can make a difference….