My name is John Oberg and I work for an international animal advocacy organization called The Humane League. We work around the world to end the worst abuses that animals on factory farms face while promoting a vegan diet and encouraging people to take meaningful steps to help animals. I am a digital nomad, so I travel a lot. Currently in Los Angeles for a while.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I had always been an animal lover, but being exposed to video footage of the cruelty of factory farming made me decide to go vegan.
How long have you been Vegan?
A little over seven years.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Being vegan is important to me because it’s living the values that I have. I would never intentionally pay someone to harm an animal, so by choosing to eat vegan food, I am withdrawing my support from industries that routinely harm animals as part of the standard practices in factory farming.
Any recommended Vegan books?
I recommend Change of Heart by Nick Cooney, The Animal Activists Handbook by Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich, and How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. In order to influence others, we must master our approach. The animals are depending on us to be as effective as possible.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
Do you actively promote veganism? How?
Yes, by encouraging people to think about the reality of what goes into the food they’re eating. If they wouldn’t harm a cat or dog, they should live in a way that doesn’t cause unnecessary harm to chickens, pigs, and cows.
What is the vegan stereotype you hear the most and how do you respond to it?
The angry vegan. We need to make “the angry vegan” a thing of the past. It only harms our effort to impact others. We need to remember that yelling at or shaming individuals is counterproductive and that it’s absolutely critical that we meet people where they are, not where we want them to be.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
NuVegan Café (formerly Everlasting Life Café) in Washington DC. All vegan soul food!
Please share your favorite vegan recipe?
Mac and Cheese – I switch out the Daiya with Follow Your Heart cheddar shreds and add in Field Roast maple sausage.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Look for a community of other vegans in your area. It’ll help you stay on track. Also, it only gets easier after the first few weeks. Finally, know that choosing vegan may seem daunting at first, but soon you’ll find that it’ll really open new doors more than close old ones.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Choosing vegan, but not obsessing over the tiny ingredients that don’t actually make a difference for animals. It’s important that we make veganism as accessible as possible to everyone, so worrying about bone char or tiny byproducts that make zero difference in terms of animal suffering can end up hurting our cause more than helping. It’s more about progress than perfection.
In your activism, do you pay attention to what makes you feel good or what you think is effective?
The animals are depending on us to be effective. So never stop analyzing the work that you’re doing.