The “Big Brands” Issue

Hello my beautiful kittens! How are you? Are you enjoying the winter weather, with long walks in the cold air, or are you more of a hibernating creature? Here I do enjoy a bit of both. Especially with the increase in bills, to spend less it would be better to go for walks at the weekend to avoid consuming too much electricity and gas. But how good is it to get all nice and comfy, with loads of hot tea, under the blankies and by watching your favourite TV shows?! Love both.

But talking about the “cost of living crisis” (I feel we’ll get a new acronym for this too) there is much advertisement about how to cope with this.

One of these methods would be for consumers to switch to the so-called “value brands”, which usually means buying store-owned brands: in the United Kingdom it would be Tesco, Morrisons, M&S etc instead of the “Big Brands”. This seems to be such a big sacrifice for people because they have always given so much trust to these bespoken companies: true they are more expensive, but you get quality. In theory. So it makes sense that people are disappointed that they won’t be able to afford what they used to. But we should actually be happy that this is happening (not the prices rising, but people buying less of these brands).

Who are the “Big Brands”?

When we talk about these Big Brands, we are talking of the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, Mars, Johnson&Johnson, etc. We’ve already talked about how these are just evil incarnate previously, but if this is the first time you’re reading this blog please check this post and this one too.

The main examples I see around, are Heinz beans and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. These are staple foods in most of the kitchens probably around the world: who hasn’t heard about Heinz or Kellogg’s? Or what about Mars bars?

Historical Work

Everybody knows them, most of these brands have been around for a hundred years. And how much advertisement has been done in all this time? In my work, I sometimes have to search old newspapers, from the 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s: they are filled with ads from these brands. You wouldn’t believe how many Bovril advertisements are in each issue of the newspapers I have to inspect: and to add to this, they also had fairly long articles sharing the *supposed* benefits of such foods, writing that they were the very best of the best, top-notch quality so every household should have them because these brands can really be trusted.

In the past decades, they managed to create customer trust that it is difficult to undermine: people will always prefer asking for a “coke” meaning that they want a soda by Coca-Cola or Pepsi. They will ask for “Heinz beans” or “Heinz ketchup”. They will go for Kellogg’s cereals, thinking that they’ll be making a safer choice.

But these brands have become so comfortable that while their products *might* have been decent in the past, now they now put all the different chemicals, extra refined sugar (yes, the beans too), palm-oil and more. Because they know that people wouldn’t even look into the ingredients, consumers will just buy them because of the name.

Changing behaviours

It seems that in the past years, there has been a fair change in consumers’ behaviours, with more people opting for a vegetarian or vegan diet or also just more interest in how the food is made, checking the ingredients and being more aware of what the food they want to buy contains.

There has also been a boom in small independent businesses, producing handmade vegetarian and vegan food that doesn’t use harmful ingredients. Because of how this is made, it is more expensive than the “big brands” products.

With the rising costs of bills and groceries, people are becoming more concerned about what they can spend their money on and they have to make choices about where to cut their expenses. The more expensive stuff will have to go: good offers on food are now very tempting. People are going to buy groceries at value retailer shops like B&M, which are fully stocked with Nestle, Mars, Kraft etc.

But choosing the Big Brands means that your health will be really compromised: the amount of sugar, palm oil and chemicals used to make these products, eaten in large quantities, will have an impact on your health.

Not only that. Their labour and environmental policies are appalling (see the linked posts above).

How to avoid them

It is difficult, I won’t deny it. They are everywhere, at convenience stores you’ll only find these brands and they can look like the better budget solution.

However, supermarkets like Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s make their own products: they are cheaper and usually have better ingredients and quality controls than the big brands.

The other solution, is to look into the special offers from the vegan independent businesses: the 3×2 or when products are close to the use-by date, you can buy in bulk and freeze the surplus.

For cupboard items like legumes, you can buy them dried: make a big batch once every 2-4 weeks to use for stews and soups and freeze the rest to use in future dishes.


The “Big Brands” worked hard to gain people’s trust through heavy advertisements to convince the public opinion that they are “good for you”, but they are actually full of food additives and chemicals. If you want to avoid them, you can by purchasing supermarkets’ own brands or buying dry items.

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now!



Huntingdon Facility & Vivisection

Hey there! How is it in your neck of the woods? Here all good, just avoiding burnout by taking it a bit easier at work and meditating more.

You might have noticed in the past months a petition started by Cruelty-Free International asking for the closure of Vivotecnia, “an independent European toxicology contract research organisation based in Madrid, Spain. Since 2000, it has offered services to support pharmaceutical and biotech, cosmetic, chemical and agrochemical industries. Its customers include companies from Spain, Europe (including the UK), Central America, Japan, Korea and the USA.”

Similarly, Animal Freedom Movement started a similar petition to the UK Parliament asking for the “phases out all animal testing and importation of animal-tested products by 2025.”

These are just two of the petitions asking for governments to ban vivisection (especially for beauty products). It would appear that more and more people realise that experimenting on live animals is just barbaric, considering that there is so much research confirming the uselessness of these practices.

To be honest, I have only a little bit of hope that these petitions will be successful because the experiments are usually required by the main pharmaceutical and beauty multinationals. And this brings me to the Huntingdon issue in the UK.

Huntingdon and MBR Acres Ltd.

Maybe you have heard or maybe not, that during the years people have been protesting what is happening at the MBR Acres Ltd facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England (just to give you an idea, one of the latest protests was this May). But if you don’t have a clear idea of what I am talking about, here are some facts about Huntingdon (Huntingdon Life Sciences Group plc.):

  • it’s a contract research organisation, privately owned
  • founded in 1951
  • had an initial focus on focused on nutrition, veterinary, and biochemical research
  • their research uses animals, both wildlife imported from other countries and “local”
  • it went on researching pharmaceuticals, food additives, industrial and consumer chemicals
  • in 1996, a member of PETA went undercover as an employee of the organisation and recorded the treatment of the animals in Huntingdon’s facilities
  • the tape sparked rage amongst animal rights activists and PETA was sued by HLS. HLS managed to win.
  • the buildings in Huntingdon have been the subject of numerous protests by animal activists.

The MBR Acres actually grows mostly dogs of the breed Beagle because they are small and docile.

I shouldn’t be stating the obvious, but any form of experimentation on animals is just wrong. It wouldn’t be justifiable even if what they are testing was the cure for cancer. And they are not experimenting on that. In the 2000s they stated that they were very close to a breakthrough in xenotransplants, organ transplants from animal to human. Pigs and primates were the main subjects of these experiments: the non-human animals were grown to then harvest their organs and then put them in humans. The longest a human has survived after such a transplant is three months. THREE MONTHS.

The suffering that this practice brings is twofold: it causes much pain to the animals that are grown for the sole purpose of taking their organs and the people into which these organs are implanted.

What is vivisection

Depending on the dictionary one uses, one will get a slightly different definition of what this practice is. From Merriam-Webster, vivisection is

: the cutting of or operation on a living animal usually for physiological or pathological investigation
broadly : animal experimentation especially if considered to cause distress to the subjectMerriam-Webster Dictionary

While Cambridge Dictionary offers that vivisection is

the use of living animals in tests that are intended to increase human knowledge of human diseases and the effects of using particular drugs.Cambridge Dictionary

Contradictions of vivisection

The main contradiction is that the promoters of such practice will say that they use such and such animal species because they will get similar reactions as if it were human, but when they’ll be asked if they’re concerned about the feelings and emotions and pain that these species will have to endure, the vivisectors will say that although similar in bodies to humans, they really don’t feel the same as them.

Without even going into the philosophical aspects of the ethics behind this practice, the mind is part of the body: pain receptors ARE pain receptors, which means that they are telling the brain that that thing is painful and the non-human or human animal is feeling pain.

All animals, humans and non-humans, when they are enclosed in small spaces, hearing screams or seeing their fellows being taken away and then taken back wounded and hurt, are going to feel fear, being afraid.

So, if someone is telling you that live non-human animals are good for testing because of their similarities with humans, but not to worry because they don’t feel the same as humans do, call BS on them.

The Alternatives

There are alternatives to animal testing. It’s 2022, we went to the moon and around space. We keep finding ever smaller particles. We do have ways to avoid the use of animals in research: from cell culture to computer simulation, there really are viable alternatives. Companies who don’t use non-human animals in their testing are known as cruelty-free.

The problem is in the money.

The whole animal business brings a lot of money to all the parties involved: those who grow the animals, those who are capturing the animals, those who create licences and regulations, etc. While investing in alternatives would take away a big slice of the cake from many of these parties.

Money makes the world go round, right?

If you want to read a bit more about the alternatives to animal testing, you can find some more here and here (2 Wikipedia pages, to get you started).


Huntingdon Life Sciences and MBR Acres are just two of the many organisations around the world that are using live animals to test on. If you think that animal testing is wrong, there are quite a lot of websites that are providing you with lists of brands that conduct this kind of testing, as well as those that are in the process of becoming cruelty-free. Keeping on testing on animals, with money spent on this instead of investing in alternatives just extends the suffering of both human and nonhuman animals.

If you want to read more:


So, some time ago I went to the beauty salon in the town where I live. Despite being a little salon, all the products that they use are cruelty-free with a choice of vegan products too: this is thanks to the owner of the shop, a lovely lady that loves animals and is a firm believer that animals shouldn’t be exploited in the beauty industry (she’s not vegan, but she’s doing her little bit by making a choice that I snot made that widely in the place where I live).

Anyway, I go there once in a while to have my nails done (and last year I was invited to three weddings so I felt I would have liked to have my nails and hands looking nicer than they usually do) plus the staff is always so nice and we often have a good chat and laugh.

The last time I went there, with the young lady that was doing my nails we were talking about making food, how good is it to have dinner ready when going back home after a long day at work and this kind of stuff. A bit of context, she is not a vegan nor vegetarian but sympathises with the cause, however, she lives with her fiance who is most definitely a meat-eater and also quite picky so it can be difficult to have him eating vegetables.

Then we started talking about how food cultures are different everywhere: for example, while here it’s almost unthinkable to eat a horse, she was quite surprised to know that where I grew up, horse meat is not that unusual. From there we went on that in many Asian Countries, dog and cat meat is also very common, and there she said: “Well, yes, in the end, what’s the difference between cows and cats? If you can eat a cow, why can’t you eat a cat?”. Like that. She talked about one of the main principles of veganism so casually. And I’m like “this is all veganism is about!”. It was very interesting and a different point of view from the usual one that I get in the village where I live: most of the people keep sustaining that eating meat it’s good, it’s only natural. True, here there are a lot of farmers meaning that not only the farm workers but also their families are more inclined to think this way.

Go Vegan word-art

So I am here basically alone in my veganism (after 4 years living here, I still haven’t found a single vegan despite media saying that vegans are on the rise here in the UK), and I this girl is talking about eating cows is the same as eating a cat!

This made me think that then the message is out there, we need a bit more advocating, showing that we are not extremists, just that a life it’s a life: it doesn’t matter if it is a sheep, a dog, a horse, a rabbit etc. A life it’s a life: as vegans, we probably have stopped, watching the heartbreaking videos of cows before being slaughtered, how you can see the fear and anguish in their eyes. It is undeniable. I always wonder if those killing them do see it, if they have thoughts on this. Even the animals raised “well and with care”, left out grazing: they have then to kill them. Don’t they see what we see?

The message is there, my kittens. We just have to keep going, keep spreading the word the way you are doing. But. Keep. Going. We can do it.



On Vegan and Plant-based Milk

Beautiful peeps! I hope you are all doing great and have survived the holiday period (and maybe enjoyed it, too!). I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed this time as I had a few days off from work and oh my, I needed it: the last months of 2021 had been quite demanding at work and hadn’t managed to get a proper balance in my personal life, so getting almost 10 days off had been fabulous. A lot of relaxing and recharging, much needed. It has been also a good time to catch up with some reading and researching and I am going to share with you the fruits of such research!

Today I wanted to expand a bit on what I was writing about in my last post, where I was referring to the Veganuary website suggesting to use certain foods and ingredients as substitutes for their non-vegan counterparts, while they are owned by big multinational corporations such as Coca Cola, Unilever, etc. that are really not vegan nor have animal and environment welfare as part of their principles.

An example, is the Alpro brand. Oooft! I know, it is everywhere, it is convenient and it has a wide variety of non-dairy products. Unfortunately, Alpro is owned by Danone, a massive multinational company with a focus on dairy products (it literally started as a yoghurt producer).

Similarly, the successful oat milk brand, Oatly, has been recently purchased by The Blackstone Group, an investment management group: its CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman has shares in companies connected to deforestation in the Amazon (you can read a bit more here and here).

Another popular plant-based milk brand that is owned by a parent company to a multinational is Plenish, which has been acquired by Britvic, which “holds the franchises for producing and bottling Pepsi Cola and 7Up in the United Kingdom“.

Other brands that are not independent:

  • Rude Health (PepsiCo.);
  • Provamel (Danone);
  • Soya Soleil (Danone).

These are just few of the most popular brands that are taking over the vegan and dairy-free market of milk substitutes.

You might find this frustrating because these brands are easy to find and fairly cheap, and now you might wonder if there can be alternatives to these plant-based milks, as it seems that as soon as a brand becomes just a bit more available, any of the multinationals want a bite of them! Well, don’t despair! There are plenty of smaller and independent plant-based milk brands that are fairly easy to find and still maintain their ethical essence.

Among these are (and no, I am not sponsored by any of them):

  • Mighty Pea;
  • Plamil;
  • Ecomil;
  • Good Hemp;
  • Isola Bio;
  • Minor Figures (although I am afraid of where they are heading with their big expanse in the U.S. market).

The good thing about these smaller/independent businesses (at least in theory and from what they advertise), is that they use fewer and more genuine ingredients and it is easier to hold them accountable for what they are doing.

I am going to keep a watchful eye on the situation and will keep you updated with any changes.

It’s all for today, my beautiful kittens!


Petition – No Vegan Trademark to the Vegan KitKat

Hi everybody! This is just a quick post in between posts: there is this petition asking the Vegan Society to withdraw the vegan trademark from Nestlé’s vegan KitKat.

Just perfect timing with what I was saying in my last post: Nestlé doesn’t have anything vegan about it so their products shouldn’t be approved by the Vegan Society, no vegan trademark should be conceded to them. It is true they are pledging to “minimize animal testing for conventional foods” (meaning that they are still testing on animals for non-conventional foods), their working practices are far from respectful of the employees and the environment.

The guys at Global Vegan explain everything in detail. Have a read, sign and share!

Will speak soon, and as always

Go vegan!

Vegan vs Plant-based

In this post, I am going to explain a bit more in-depth the difference between “Vegan” and “Plant-based”. Probably you think that these terms are synonyms but they are not: here I am telling you why, hopefully making your life a bit easier in identifying what is vegan and what is plant-based. I know it seems like I am repeating myself and it might be, but, you know, repetita iuvant (which translates literally to ‘repetition does good’).

Let’s give some sense to these words:

Vegan = Someone who doesn’t consume any product derived from animals, in all aspects of their lives from food to clothing, to make-up and beauty etc.: no animal products whatsoever. It is not only a diet but also a lifestyle and a philosophy. The idea behind it is that there is no need to exploit animals in order for us to live. But it doesn’t stop here: the abuse that a vegan doesn’t encourage for the animals applies to also people and the environment because, usually the industries like fish, meat, dairy are not famous for having good ethical practices. Just an example, the meat industry is a barbaric business that destroys the environment, creating pollution (from greenhouse gases to water pollution – for further reading click here and here) which affects the people.

Plant-based = A diet where a person eats food that is not derived from animals. It is a diet, it can be considered at a similar level of omnivore diet, vegetarian diet, Dukan diet, etc.

We have already seen – here and here – that there are certain brands (like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, etc.) holding an almost complete monopoly of the food industry, with their name products but also through the owning of parent companies. And we have ascertained that they are not vegan for the animals nor the environment or the people. For example, there is a new version of KitKat being advertised as vegan. But they are owned by Nestle which is definitely not vegan. So, they should actually be advertised as plant-based.

There are also many clothing brands that are advertising themselves, or some of their products, as vegan as they don’t use materials derived from animals. But, again, while these products don’t contain they come from brands that are not actually vegan and uses wool, leather, feathers etc in their other products. Examples are provided by the clothes and shoes produced by brands like Adidas and Nike: while some of their products might be made without the use of animal products, they both have issues on matter of ethical treatment of employees, animals and the environment (you can find information on Adidas and Nike here and here).

Similarly, on the matter of make-up and beauty products, we enter that universe controlled by L’Oreal, Yves Rocher, Maybelline, Pantene etc, all professing to make vegan products while testing on animals (making such products not cruelty-free: which is another thing to look out when buying vegan beauty products and there are lists of brands that are vegan and cruelty-free that you can find, for example, on the CrueltyFreeKitty and EthicalElephant websites).


So we are getting to the main point, which is the ethics of the company producing vegan or plant-based products.

I know that now the vegans eating Oreos and washing their hair with some L’Oreal stuff are already fairly pissed at me. But I am only stating the facts: these products are not vegan because these big companies are not vegan, exploiting animals and workers and deforesting the Earth. True, their products might be slightly more affordable, but there is a price behind that and I don’t want to sound cheesy, but that price is ethics. Every time you buy some Heinz beans or mayonnaise or whatever, you are financing a system that is exploiting the exploitable. This is not a criticism, only something that should be taken into consideration. Especially if we want the end to animal suffering, better working conditions and a cleaner world: whenever you can, shop locally, look if there are food cooperatives that get their fruit&veg from the local farms, look up for those smaller online shops that are selling trusted vegan products. In the beginning, it will be difficult, but we are in 2021 and there really are so many options.

This has been since I started transitioning to my vegan lifestyle: it has been hard, but I hacked the best ways to get real vegan food. When I moved to the UK I had to start all over: while I was looking for jobs (but also while I was waiting tables or worked in a bar) I couldn’t afford to get to the farmers’ market, but I was still avoiding these big companies by going to the supermarket late in the evening to get food at very reduced prices, buying clothes at the charity shops (going to TK Maxx for a treat, but obviously being extra careful to all the label products). Only now that I am in a good job I can finally sit and look for alternatives to the supermarkets & Co. So it is possible, it takes time and some patience, but it is doable.

“White Veganism”

However, this point raises the issue of “white veganism”, one of the criticisms made to vegans/plant-based people: in short, this critique says that those that can afford to be vegan are mostly white people from the northern hemisphere and that veganism is linked to colonisation, making it difficult for BIPOC and people in the southern hemisphere to be vegan because either vegan products exploit immigrants and those living south of the Equator or because the prices of vegan products are inaccessible to BIPOCs.

I think it has already been made clear that if one is vegan (see above) they will have a care not only for the well-being of the animals but also of the environment which means people too. Here, I can quite agree with the critique of white veganism as a diet is a consequence of colonialism: the big multi-national companies that are deforesting the Amazon forest and exploit indigenous people to plant palm oil and to build intensive farms are indeed the fruit of colonisation (also if I were you, I would read this article). But these companies are not vegan. They have some products that are plant-based, but not vegan. So I would like to redirect the critique of white veganism to actually a “white plant-based movement”. The same movement that sponsors the consumption of Impossible Foods (see why Impossible Foods Ltc is not vegan), Beyond Meat and all those meat-alternative companies that advertise making ultra-processed plant-based food at such high prices, making it really Impossible for people on low income to buy them. A vegan can live with pasta, rice, legumes, fruit and vegetables and have a balanced, healthy and affordable diet. And you can make a lot of meat-alternatives by yourself (casually dropping some recipes for tofu and seitan to make at home)!

It should also be argued that those talking about white veganism never mention that the meat industry takes away a big chunk of subsidies and that actually a redistribution of resources would help in having good fruit&veg at cheaper prices while also being organic.

To Summarise

Behind veganism there is an idea that no sentient being, nor the environment, should be exploited: it is with this optic that we look at the practices of big companies and discern what is vegan and what is not. While what vegans eat is a plant-based diet, it is much more than this. Also, no one is perfect and we are all trying our best.

If you have any thoughts on this let me know in the comments down below.

See you for the next post!

Further readings:

Environmental Impact of Meat Consumption – University of British Columbia

Is eating meat bad for the environment? Future Learn

Why do we need alternative sources of protein? – Future Learn

JBS Meat Processor USA – Shop Ethical

10 Major Companies Responsible for Deforestation –

UK farmers prepare for overhaul to farm subsidies after Brexit – Financial Times

Good On You

Women’s History Month

Why We Have This Month and Why Still Need It

It is almost the end of March, so I am still on time to write about it, about Women’s History Month. What does this mean? As I hinted in a previous post, some months are dedicated to acknowledging, remembering, commemorating and observing important events in the history of the people to which such months are dedicated. March is the month dedicated to women’s history as well as having the International Women’s Day on the 8th of this month. This makes people think that now is all well, if there were problems, they were in the past and we can now celebrate each month something good. Unfortunately this is not the case. These are not the cases. And I will explain why.

Why a Women’s History Month

From Wikipedia we read that:

Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.

Wikipedia – Women’s History Month page

What would you understand from these words? That there is the acknowledgement of what women have done from more or less recent history: that we recognise the hard-working women that have never stopped fighting for their rights, from better working conditions to the right to vote, to sexual rights, etc. That is the idea. That women have fought and they have won, that now we can look at the past and see what the fair sex has done and be grateful that it’s been done. There is nothing else to do, right? Mh.

But there is no “man’s history month” and men too have done quite a lot. So why is there a women’s month?

Similarly to Black History Month, LGBTQ+ History Month, etc., it means that there are actually unresolved things going on, that we still need to work on bettering the situation of these people in every aspect of their lives. So it has been decided to dedicate one month a year to say “Thank you for your contributions” or “Sorry, you still don’t have some basic rights because you are different”. And this brings us to…

Why Still Need a Month Dedicated to Women

Because there are still women that are beaten and raped daily;

Because women are denied basic rights;

Because little girls are forced into marrying much older men;

Because women are still not granted protection by the authorities;

Because there still is a pay gap;

Because it is the 21st Century and women are slut-shamed.

And I not talking (only) about those countries that are considered developing countries, but also those that are allegedly developed ones.

The most recent events in England have shed some (dark) light on problems affecting the relationship between women and authorities (you can read more here and here);

In U.S.A. there still are States where marrying girls under 16 years old is legal;

In Poland, women have been stripped of the right to abortion even in extreme circumstances (you can read more here on the background of the situation and here);

Ireland is famous for having her women travelling to England in order to abort, even after the recent Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (more info here);

In Italy, rape and sexual assault victims are still blamed for how they dressed at the time of the attack.


Why am I talking about these matters on a vegan blog? As I previously explained, I am a firm believer in veganism as a holistic social philosophy. Like many others, I went vegan for the animals and the environment, but soon I realised that one can’t do much in aid of these issues without integrating the issues concerning people, which are strictly connected to affairs of social justice: we can’t achieve total animal liberation and have a clean, healthy Earth without the eradication of racism, fair working conditions for everybody, equal rights for women and men, recognising the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, etc.

Be kind, be more empathic, stand up against abuse: this is the way to a better world for everybody and our beloved Earth.

Sending messages of hope to all of you!

A Speech on Veganism

It is just over a year and a month now, that this speech was made. So why am I writing about this just today? Well, first of all, this blog was born like three months ago, and unless we have a time machine available it would have not been possible to write this at the time. Second: I didn’t think about this speech until a couple of days ago, and I actually don’t even remember why I thought about it. Third: I don’t believe this speech has gained that much consideration, even at the time it was made, a year ago, while it is absolutely still relevant (despite this fast-running, speed-racing machine that is the contemporary world, where things become obsolete after few months). Hence I feel like this should be made more widespread.

The speech I am talking about is the one that Joaquin Phoenix gave when he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Joker in the homonym movie (which is brilliant: if you haven’t watched it yet, do it, you won’t regret it! I leave you the trailer at the end).

So, Joaquin Phoenix is a long-time vegan (since he was a child) and he has publicly spoken many times as well as taking part in public protests for animal rights (you can read it here, here, here and what a recent interview here). If this wasn’t enough, he has also been arrested during a protest on climate change.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he took such an important opportunity, such as the Oscar’s acceptance speech, to raise awareness of animals rights. But in these 5 minutes, he managed to include themes of social justice, the fight against racism, gender rights and LGBTQ+ rights. Few moments, with very powerful words.

You might remember that Leonardo DiCaprio did something similar when he won his first Oscar (whoo-hoo! Well done Leo, you should have gotten one much earlier, but better late than never!). He said that “making The Revenant [the movie for which he won the award] was about man’s relationship to the Natural World, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating, we need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this Planet for granted, I do not take this night for granted.”

I find that Joaquin’s speech went beyond that: that through veganism people can not only live in a more compassionate way, but also that the vegan lifestyle can benefit non-humans and humans alike, helping in the fight against social injustice as well as for a better environment.

I leave you the video here (and the transcript below it):

“I’m full of so much gratitude right now. And I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room because we share the same love, the love of film and this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know what I’d be without it. But I think the greatest gift that it’s given me and many of us in this room is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively and I think at times that we feel, or were made to feel, that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think whether we are talking about gender inequality, or racism, or queer rights, or indigenous rights, or animals rights, we are talking about the fight against injustice, we are talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, or one species has the right to dominate, control, and use and exploit another with impunity.
I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we are guilty of, is an egocentric worldview: the belief that we’re the centre of the universe; we go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources; we feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable and then we take her milk, that it’s intended for a calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal. And I think, we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something, to give something up: but human beings at our best, are so inventive, so creative and ingenious and I think that when we use love and compassion as our dieting principles we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.
Now, I’ve been a scoundrel in my life, I’ve been selfish, I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and ungrateful but so many of you in this room have given me a second chance, and I think that’s when we are at our best: when, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other towards redemption. That is the best of humanity.
When he was 17, my brother [River Phoenix] wrote these lyrics, he said ‘run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow’.
Thank you.”