Melissa Scwhartz

Photographer (

1. Why are you vegan?

There are a number of reasons why I am vegan now but the number one reason is the animals. It is a karmic perk that doing the right thing for the animals is also the right thing for one’s own health. It is also the best thing for our planet, resource allocation and conservation. After learning how animals are treated by agribusiness there was really no other choice for me. I think it is natural that we feel compassion and empathy for others – but somehow we all take part in something that would be so unnatural to us if it weren’t such a rudimentary part of our culture. We support torture, mutilation, confinement, rape, kid- napping and killing on a very large scale every time we spend money on an animal product. And we do it without a second thought. We are taught from a young age that this is how it is. That it isn’t something we should question or really even think about. We are even told that we won’t survive or thrive if we don’t partake. And let’s be very clear on this: that is a lie. Not only can humans thrive on a vegan diet – animal products are actually extremely detrimental to human health. But I would be vegan even if it were killing me.

2. How has becoming vegan given you purpose (or healed you)?

Before I became vegan I had a lot of problems that got better from the moment I made the change. I had a sleep disorder that was progressively getting worse as I got older, and I had suffered from depression for my entire life. When I finally made the commitment to abstain from animal products and take my own personal stand against culturally accepted animal abuse I instantly felt hopeful, empowered and motivated. I have very little self-control – so I truly believe that if I can do this – anyone can. And that gave me hope for the animals. This is a terrifying place for them. But we DO have the power to change that. It all starts with YOU. Just one person doing the one thing they can do to end the violence: stop supporting it. Stop paying for others to abuse animals on your behalf, and the violence will subside. It sounds very simple, and it is simple. But being someone who was once defeated by the idea that my lone personal protest wouldn’t really make any real changes for the animals – I understand how so many people (good people) dismiss the idea as inconceivable. But I know better now. The things I have seen and people I have met since making this change have me profoundly convinced that abolition of animal abuse is in our very near future.

3. What is your title, occupation/what do you do for a living?

Photographer, Software Engineer, Animal Activist, Entrepreneur.

4. Why do you think being vegan is the next step of our evolution?

At the rate humans are multiplying, our population cannot be sustained on any other diet. There is so much wastefulness inherent in a diet that consists of animal products. Wastefulness in terms of land, water, and the vegan food that animals eat to then become food, at a huge net loss of calories. Pollution inherent to agribusiness is also unsustainable. There really is no other choice. Unless we want to see the divide between rich and poor humans become even more unequal. As it stands right now there are countries that export vegan foods to richer countries for feeding livestock while people in their own country are dying of hunger and thirst. We will only see more of that inequity and suffering if we don’t choose compassion – both for the animals, and for our fellow humans, it really is the same mind-set. If we can choose compassion instead of self-interest when the stakes are so high, then we will have chosen peace. And that not only makes the world safer for the oppressed, it makes the world safer for everyone.