Tell us about yourself.
I’m Elly, a 22-years-old animal rights activist and illustrator based in Germany. Currently, I am a student but I’m on my way to becoming a full-time illustrator. I’ve dedicated my life to fighting for animals rights, I actually spend 90% of my time with activism. I’m an organizer for Anonymous for the Voiceless and The Save Movement, and apart from that, when I’m at home, I try to raise awareness through my art. I post my illustrations on my Instagram account @vegan.elly and I also sell my art on Etsy (VeeganElly).
Last year I created the first vegan art challenge for Instagram, the “vegan artivism week”. I posted a prompt list with vegan related themes for every day of the week. A lot of vegan artists participated and posted their artworks on Instagram, that made me really happy. That’s why I launched the “vegan artivism year” which means that artists post artworks for different themes every month. (Search for #veganartivismyear on Instagram and check out the artworks posted so far!) The best part of an art challenge is actually getting to know other vegan artists. It’s amazing to realize that so many artists use their talent to speak out for the animals.
How long have you been vegan?
I’ve been vegan for about one year. I went vegan after watching the documentary “Hope for all”, my heart broke in a thousand pieces when I realized what we’re doing to the animals. I not only went vegan but I became an activist. A loud voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. I couldn’t just wait for the world to change, I knew that I would have to BE the change. Ever since my life changed completely. My everyday life, my career goals, my circle of friends are not the same as they were one year ago. Some may call it extreme but in fact, animal rights activism is my first thought in the morning and my last before going to bed. Also, some people think that I sacrificed my life for animals whereas I think that my life just started after going vegan and becoming an activist. I love the way everything changed ever since veganism and vegan activism are the best things that ever happened to me.
Do you think it’s every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
I believe that being vegan is not enough, speaking out for the animals is our duty. Going into the streets, going to slaughterhouses, going to factory farms is absolutely necessary in order to create a vegan world. Each one of us has an enormous power to change the world, in many ways, and I truly believe that everyone should use this power. If WE were on a slaughter truck or on a factory farm, we would want the others to speak out for us, to do anything possible to save us. That’s what every vegan should do.
What does being vegan mean to you?
For me, being vegan means showing compassion to all sentient beings and trying not to harm them. It’s a way of thinking and feeling for other beings. Former, I used to kill bugs and other insects that I was afraid of. Now, even when I’m afraid of some insects, I just can’t kill them. It breaks my heart to kill a living and breathing being for no reason, even the smallest fly or spider has the right to live. It may be that even vegans sometimes do harm animals (e.g. pests) but we have to remember that veganism is not about being perfect, it’s about the intention to be kind to every kind.
What would you like to say to new vegans?
What I would like to say to new vegans is the following: you are the future, you are the change. your actions and everyday choices do have a huge impact. Terrible things are happening on this planet, humans need to start caring. Caring for the animals, for other humans, and for the planet. Caring for justice. Every human on this planet carries the responsibility to care. Going vegan is the first step towards caring. But it’s not the moral baseline. The moral baseline is to stand up for justice, to speak out for the defenseless. Becoming an activist will change your life but I promise you that it’ll be nothing but positive change. You’ll become the best version of yourself, you’ll become more compassionate, more self-confident, you’ll inspire other people. I’m not going to lie, sometimes you’ll feel exhausted and desperate but don’t be afraid: you’ll be surrounded by the most wonderful people. Our worldwide activism community is the best thing you can imagine, you’ll meet the most passionate and inspirational people. They will give you strength every day, you’ll never fight alone.