The Power of Inspirational Speeches

This show will broadcast live on Friday, April 12th, 2019 from Noon to 1pm PST at 100.5fm CFRO Vancouver Co-op Radio, and via live streaming at It will then be posted here as a podcast shortly thereafter, so please do check back soon!


Activist Simone Reyes

As an animal rights activist, I am always perfecting my strategy. This requires paying close attention to the reactions of the general public from the various ways in which we activists attempt to get our message across, listening to the common arguments against veganism and tweaking our conversation for the next person, so that it leaves no room for confusion or argument.

It is also important to ask vegans what inspired them to address their speciesism and make a compassionate lifestyle change. For many of us, it was the Earthlings documentary that opened our eyes, most of us sobbing through the entire film, riddled with guilt for the suffering we had caused to the most innocent, vulnerable beings on earth…beings whom we proudly claimed to love! Some people went vegan for health or environmental reasons, and others had an outspoken vegan friend on social media who filled their news feed with horrific images of animal cruelty.

I have met many people who credit famous speeches by animal rights activists for causing them to pause and think about their choices. I frequently post YouTube videos or TED talks on my Facebook page, in the hopes that another voice – perhaps a celebrity – may enhance my own daily attempts to veganize everyone on my friends list. I try to find speeches that cover all the conversational bases, leaving the “excusatarians” with no reason to continue needlessly exploiting animals.

On today’s show, I am going to play a speech by Simone Reyes, who you may know best as Russell Simmons’ (Def Jam Records) Executive Assistant, or maybe you have seen her at animal rights events giving speeches on her journey to vegan activism. Her story is similar to mine: after watching a documentary on the horrific seal hunt, she attended an anti-sealing PETA protest in her home-town of New York, clueless about the hypocrisy of wearing leather shoes to an animal rights demonstration and gently questioned about it by the activists in attendance. About 5 years ago, back when I was a self-described “animal lover” who ate meat, I saw a poster advertising a protest called Empty The Tanks at the Vancouver Aquarium and excitedly headed over to meet “like-minded” people. Like Simone, I showed up wearing leather foot wear to the demo and on top of this, I went out for a meat-based meal afterwards. I will never forget hearing the speech given by No Whales In Captivity founder, Annelise Escalante. In fact, when she handed the megaphone over to another activist who began chanting, I went up to her and begged her to keep talking, as I was learning so much. I had always hated the practice of keeping animals captive at the Vancouver Aquarium, simply because their enclosures were so small and the animals weren’t in a natural environment. But Annelise’s speech informed me of so much more history at this “whale jail.” She is an expert on the decades of corruption and greed at this facility. This was my entry into activism, a life change I will be forever grateful for that would turn my world upside down. I found myself listening from the perspective of the slack-jawed patrons in the ticket line-up, looking for facial clues that Annelise’s message of truth was as shocking and appalling to them as it was to me.

Simone and I both allowed the welcoming animal rights activists to educate and change us into more authentic spokespeople for animals. Shortly after that demonstration at the aquarium, at the suggestion of an activist, I watched the Earthlings documentary and my life would never be the same; my head had been pulled out of the sand and there was no going back, now catapulted into spreading this message to the masses. Simone was also shown videos of factory farming by her fellow PETA activists.

My gift to you today is a few of my favourite and most-frequently shared heartfelt, inspirational speeches, and I hope you’ll share them to your Facebook walls and in emails to friends and family. If you work in an appropriate setting, maybe you could play them at work. I have often played speeches during my work as a massage therapist if my clients are interested.


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