My name is Jordan McCann and I live in San Francisco, California. I grew up in Albany, New York but moved to the west coast last year. In December of 2015, I ended a long-term relationship and was working at a job that I didn’t enjoy and felt like I needed to do something drastically different with my life. My sister who lived in San Francisco, and her now-fiancée, suggested that I move into their empty bedroom. At first, I was hesitant because that was such a drastic move but upon thinking more and more about it I decided it was the right thing to do. I sold most of my things, packed up my car with the rest, and embarked upon an eleven-day drive from New York to California.
After arriving in California I left to co-operate the 10 Billion Lives Tour with Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). My partner and I did outreach in California, Texas, and Louisiana during a three-month span which we paid people $1 to watch a four-minute video regarding the animal agriculture industry. Some of the most rewarding conversations I’ve had with people happened during this tour. When someone sees, for the first time, how animals are treated in our food system it can have a dramatic effect.
When I was in New York I was a volunteer at Catskill Animal Sanctuary as well as at a no-kill cat shelter in Albany named Whiskers. Once I settled in California I reached out to Animal Place and have been a volunteer with them for months now. You can follow me on Instagram at @furiousherbivore.
Currently, I am attending the Main Street Vegan Academy. It is a six day day course covering vegan principles, communication principles, and business principles all concerning veganism. The Academy was founded by Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Vegan.
Victoria arranges for various individuals to give lectures and demonstrations intended to give people the foundation and background to become a Main Street Vegan-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator.
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
The moment I knew something had to change was roughly five years ago when I was watching a Neil Young concert on YouTube and he was wearing a t-shirt that said “Stop Factory Farming.” I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but I thought to myself “Why is Neil Young against farming?” I took it upon myself to research this and when I found the answers to that question I understood why.
The sheer violence that these animals experience in their short lives is something that has stayed with me forever. I decided then that I wanted to stop eating meat but I’ll admit, it was a challenge. I was on my own, with little food imagination and for more than 25 years I ate what my parents gave me and that was generally some sort of meat. I had some ups and downs and my journey but I haven’t willingly (there was a terrible situation at a restaurant back in NY) eaten meat in over four years.
After two years of being vegetarian, I knew I had to fully commit to veganism. Being the animal lover that I am I knew that I couldn’t, in good conscience, continue to perpetuate the suffering of these beings by eating eggs and dairy. On July 1, 2015, I became vegan and have been ever since.
How long have you been Vegan?
For a little more than a year and a half.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Being vegan is important to me because it’s the ultimate way for me to align my choices with my values. I value animals. I value not torturing, enslaving, stealing their offspring, and slaughtering them for products we don’t need. Would we stand for puppies and kittens being systemically exploited and killed?
Heart disease is something that is fairly prevalent in my family. My father has had two heart attacks and my mother passed away from one so I want to try and be the healthiest version of myself that I can be.
I value the environment and it’s a fact that the animal agriculture industry is single-handily the most destructive force of the environment. Whether we’re talking about ocean dead zones, elimination of jungles and forests, wildlife extinction, greenhouse gasses, or polluted waterways – it all goes back to this industry.
Do you have a blog or favorite vegan blog you read?
I really enjoy reading Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s blog because her focus on language and the origins of various topics is incredibly interesting.
Any recommended Vegan books?
“Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism” by Melanie Joy is an absolute must-read. She unwraps the ideology behind eating meat and how the animal agriculture industry needs the people to be disassociated from the process in order for it to maintain the status-quo.
“Will Travel for Vegan Food” by Kristin Lajeunesse is a really fun read which will channel your inner Jack Kerouac! The author travels across the across the country in search of vegan food but so many interesting, heart-warming, emotional, and funny situations arise from her travels.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
For me, I follow lots of animal rights and vegan sites on various social media platforms. Some of my favorites are Plant Based on a Budget, Goats of Anarchy, and Esther the Wonder Pig. There are so many sites that bring to light (slaughter, violence etc.) but it’s so important to focus on the good side and look at the success. Too much of the darkness can really take a toll, and while it’s invaluable knowledge don’t let it burn you out. If you’re feeling blue just wander over to Esther and see what she’s up to. She’ll brighten your day!
Do you have a favorite movie or videos or your own media that you want to share?
I really enjoy watching documentaries so there are a bunch that I recommend! Cowspiracy, Food Inc., and Forks Over Knives are a few off the top of my head and are all excellent.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
Yes, I actively promote veganism. Aside from the 10 Billion Lives Tour I post a lot to my Instagram and Facebook accounts, I write and call my legislators regarding various bills impacting animals, and I volunteer my time at Animal Place. I also talk about the merits of adopting a plant-based lifestyle to my friends and family and I have gotten my sister to go vegan!
Do you miss any non-Vegan foods?
Honestly, I don’t. At first, I missed the convenience of non-vegan food because it is easier to just pick up a pizza or some burgers from any of the millions of restaurants that sell them. However, after I got into the swing of things it really has become so effortless to eat vegan. You can find veggies, fruit, beans, rice everywhere. It really just comes down to adapting your behaviors. Most of us are raised as omnivores and while some people go vegan very early in life some do it in their late 20’s like I did. Meat, dairy, and eggs aren’t oxygen or water. We don’t need them to live and once I really gave that thought the transition has really been very easy.
What is your favorite Vegan meme?
There are so many funny vegan memes out there but I have to say this is probably my favorite:
What is your favorite Vegan stereotype? If someone asks you a question about it, how do you respond?
My favorite vegan stereotype is that all vegans love kale. It’s true. Kale is delicious.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
My favorite vegan restaurant is probably Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya in San Francisco. They have the best and most creative vegan sushi I’ve ever seen!
What is the one big stereotype you hear about Vegans that you want to dispel?
Someone once told me that it’s not very masculine to be vegan and I was taken aback at first. How is caring about animals either masculine or feminine? Isn’t it just a human? In my opinion, one of the hardest things to do is confront an embedded system of abuse and violence, reject it, and then forge ahead living a life in direct opposition to that dominant system.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
My advice would be not to be overwhelmed or feel like you have to live a life of 100% vegan purity. Mistakes will undoubtedly happen but it won’t be the end of the world. By recognizing that you want to live a vegan lifestyle you’ve already done all the heavy lifting. I would recommend following vegan activists on social media, read books on the different topics, watch documentaries, and visit a farm animal sanctuary. I feel that if you visit these animals at a place where they are happy and safe it will make it that much harder to want to eat them. Nothing is better than giving a pig belly rubs, feeding grapes to a goat, or giving a cow some face scratches!
Are you a cruelty-Free vegan?
Yes, I am a cruelty-free vegan. All household products, cleaning products, clothing, etc. are all cruelty-free.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
I would like it to be easier to find dope vegan sneakers!
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
The one big struggle is hearing people casually talk about animal products and failing to realize, or care, how those products got to their plate and what these animals had to endure so they could have a fleeting moment of appetite satiation.
What is one question you would ask other Vegans? Please answer it.
If I could ask one question to other vegans I suppose I would ask them if they are taking enough time for self-care. Being in tune with the suffering and plight of animals in our food system is so heavy and it really takes an emotional toll on us. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself. Go do things you enjoy and do them often! The animals need us to be sharp!