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Dr. Laila Kassam (vegan): Creating Transformative Change

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Today, we will meet a highly effective animal rights activist from the UK, named Dr. Laila Kassam. Laila, a Ph.D. in Development Economics, has been involved in social change for most of her career. She has worked in the international development sector since 2003, conducting research on poverty and food security for rural development projects in the Global South. She founded several vegan organizations with the goal of creating a sustainable, and just vegan world. “We need to have a food system which is sustainable and truly just for all. So, some of the things that I would like to see are a massive shift to a wholefood plant-based diet which is supported by a plant-based food system. But it is not enough to just switch to a plant-based food system, the crops that we grow need to be grown sustainably: so that means without tilling the soil, shifting to organic, and really thinking about sustainability in terms of planetary boundaries as well.”

Dr. Kassam has founded several vegan organizations, as tools to create positive social change. “I have co-founded a few organizations, the ‘Veterinary Vegan Network,’ ‘Ethical Globe,’ and ‘Animal Think Tank.’ ‘Veterinary Vegan Network,’ I co-founded it with my partner who is a vegan vet. We really wanted to bring together vegans and the veterinary and associated animal care professions, including people who work in animal sanctuaries, to build a community and see what could happen.”

Dr. Laila Kassam explains how a full-scale transformation involves participation from people and institutions from all levels of society. “It is clear that we need transformative change, not only in our food system but in our economic system which is driving our destructive food system, for example, you have people following a sort of personal transformation type approach, so for us that would be veganism and vegan outreach.” “So, for me, we need all of those things, and every single person, group, and organization can fit into that ecology. Everybody has a really important role to play. So, those are the types of things that I would like to see.”

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