Being Vegan, Vegan Being: Susan Hargreaves – Founder of Animal Hero Kids

What was the impetus for Animal Hero Kids? 

When I was 9 years old I was taken to a chicken hatchery and saw all of the male chicks being gassed and suffocated as soon as they hatched, I looked to the adults in the room to stop this horrible wrong. This was my first experience with full scale animal cruelty which is routinely inherent in the animal farming industry. I saw even more animal abuse after investigating the stockyards and slaughterhouses in the early 1980’s and created nonviolent civil disobedience, direct action and colorful street theater surprises to attract the mainstream  media public spotlight. Then I realized I was attempting to grab buckets for the torrent of a broken tap without fixing the unrelenting cause of animal abuse, a lack of empathy, how do we foster empathy? 

My major in college was Early Childhood Education I realized the early creation of empathy was the building block to kindness and added a variety of interactive and engaging humane education presentations to my toolbox. Twenty years ago I have the first Animal Hero Kids Award to Sydale Clark for rescuing an injured mourning dove, the media loved it, the school administration and students cheered on the compassionate action, I treated Sydale amd his mum, Sylvee to a vegan lunch at “Sublime “ and they enjoyed the completely plant based lunch. It was a win-win for all species of animals. 

Animal Hero Kids was born!

Mission and Goal

Foster empathy and  kindness towards all species of animals using compassionate and courageous stories of youth aiding animals in interactive, complimentary school presentations, events and activities. Empower all ages to activate, speak up and tale action for other animals.

Why is the focus on children so important? 

When I tell the stories from the “Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless” book at schools children cheer and clap whenever I get to the happy ending rescue part. It doesn’t matter which species of animal, whether the rescued being was a dog, cat, pig, chicken or shark, they clap and cheer at the sheer success of saving another animal from their plight. That’s why I focus on young children they have not learned to be miserly with their kindness or selective or a simpler way to say it would be they are open to the joy of helping another, two-legged or four, finned, furred or feathered.

Then they take home the Animal Hero Kids pledge card I give out free at assemblies and their guardians learn how they can be heroes to animals, too. How can anyone argue with equipping the world with more kindness to all? 

What are some ways people can support you? 

We need volunteers, video editors, graphic designers, videographers, artists, photographers, social media, media professionals, celebrity liaisons, fundraisers or tech savvy folks, people who can sew capes, and donate. On the Animalherokids.org home page if you scroll down you will see the link to send Ellen Degeneres a message asking her to help gifting the Animal Hero Kids book to every school library. The book is an effective and practical tool to prevent cruelty to animals, a book which empowers youth and inspires hope for all ages. 

How do people get involved?

On the AnimalHerokids.org home page is a Join Us article with a link to the volunteer guidelines.

What is the organization’s five year goal?

I began organizing for other animals in 1980 one of my dreams is to -finally!- open an Animal Hero Kids Hall of Fame, a Free for schools field trip education center,  mini-sanctuary and vegan cafe. I have been working to stop wildlife jails, circuses with captive animals for 40 years and we don’t have anything to replace them with. We need places for kids to go to meet rescued animals and have fun and learn that is close to school populations. 

How was this informed by your childhood?

I was fortunate to have an Irish grandfather where I spent my early childhood in Merseyside, Liverpool. He cared for any animal who needed help, he fixed crows wings, helped ducks and any creature who was injured or orphaned. He was so kind, it was when I saw the personality of a rescued duck peering out at me from a lively, intelligent eye, when I realized, we were all animals, individual someone’s. 

This year I will be touring 9 cities to unite animal hero kids with activities centered around the brand new, just revised, “Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless “ book and free, vegan fare for mainstream audiences. 

If anyone wishes to help with local events, collaborate or volunteer, please, send me a message at education@animalherokids.org 

Just added Atlanta and Santa Barbara to the cities below.

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