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To celebrate International Women’s Day, we talk to some kick-ass women being bold for change.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve been talking to some kick-ass women being bold for change.

From exposing the truths about the dairy industry to spreading the message that vegans can be strong, and even saving animals out on the field, these women are flying the flag for a cruelty-free lifestyle.

THE FILMMAKER

British filmmaker Melanie Light is the director behind the The Herd, a feminist horror short which sheds light on the atrocities of the dairy industry by replacing cows with the harvesting of women.

The Herd was released in 2014 and played at film festivals around the world. You can watch it here.

Working on The Herd was the beginning of Melanie’s own vegan journey after screenwriter Ed Pope sent her a script that came from his frustrations of trying to explain his reasons for not drinking milk or eating cheese.

“When I read the script, I just thought I can’t make this film and not be vegan. That would be so hypocritical. I had been vegetarian for around 14 years and didn’t buy leather or consume dairy at that time anyway, so I made the decision and did it overnight.

“From being vegan and from making The Herd, it’s been a really awesome journey because you’re instantly into a form of campaigning which I’ve got more and more involved in every year.

“I’m proud of myself for discovering veganism. I believe we should all be equal and that goes down to speciesism too and I think being a vegan makes you a better feminist in that respect.”

On set, Melanie is frequently the only vegan and the only person to speak out against sexism or body shaming, but through her filmmaking and doing interviews or podcasts, she has become more comfortable saying what she thinks.

“I’m very vocal about women’s rights but I think you can only truly call yourself a feminist if you are vegan, which I’m sure lots of feminists won’t agree with. There’s the objectification of women and there’s the objectification of animals being exploited for their sexual organs and that’s why The Herd is such a vegan feminist film, because you have women being harvested instead.

“I always recommend that to understand veganism and feminism, people should read Carol J Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat. It is a brilliant book.

“I’m proud of myself for discovering veganism. I believe we should all be equal and that goes down to speciesism too and I think being a vegan makes you a better feminist in that respect.”

THE VEGAN STRONG WOMAN

Mickey Fairclough is a personal trainer and strongwoman powered by plants. In a few weeks time, she’ll be competing in the English Strong Woman qualifiers – lifting logs, boulders and cars to try and take the title. For now, she’s training five days a week, fuelling her body with plenty of whole foods, and looking after her two whippets Louis and Tilly.

“I definitely feel like I have a role to play in spreading the strong healthy vegan message”, she says, “but the stereotype that vegans are weak and frail is dying, I think.”

“It feels like I’ve got a duty to do well as a vegan strongwoman and not let the side down. It’s important to show people that if you don’t want to eat meat, its not going to stop you from achieving the things you want to achieve.”

“There are vegan power lifting groups on Facebook and there are so many people on Instagram showing they are strong and capable. There are more sports figures turning to veganism now and they’re at the top of their game, so that has to make a difference.”

Mickey’s recovery time has majorly improved on a vegan diet and she has found that getting enough protein is pretty easy with tofu scramble, tempeh, beans and vegan protein shakes, which she says most of the major brands produce now.

“It feels like I’ve got a duty to do well as a vegan strongwoman and not let the side down. It’s important to show people that if you don’t want to eat meat, its not going to stop you from achieving the things you want to achieve.

“Don’t be afraid. Go find a good gym and a good trainer and give it a go. There’s something for everyone and everything is scaleable if you are a beginner.”

THE HUNT SABOTEUR

Alii Spencer is a full-time organiser for the save movement. In 2016, she attended her first fox hunt as a saboteur and heard the word ‘vegan’ for the very first time.

Originally from Birmingham, Alii moved to West Yorkshire and studied animal care at college, but after watching a hunt sab video online she became dedicated to animal saves and was offered a position as a saboteur.

Bearing witness to cows today with Leicestershire Animal Save. Vegan family 💚

A post shared by @_spreadlovenotblood_ on

“After watching the video, I spent days researching the movement and looking for my local hunt sab group. I got in contact straight away and went to my first hunt a few days later. Since then, I’ve been to every fox hunting and badger culling sab weekend.

“That first time I went along, I found out that you were only allowed vegan food in the van. I’d only ever heard about vegetarianism and learned so much that night about the dairy industry and animal testing that I went home and got rid of everything in my kitchen that wasn’t vegan.”

“If not me and my friends, then who will be there to stop the animals from being killed and mistreated?”

The aim of a hunt sab is to protect the animal from being tracked and killed. Sabs will use a natural citronella remedy to cover the fox’s scent and a ‘gizmo’ which makes a crying sound to distract the hounds and give the fox a chance of survival.

Hunting can be a very dangerous event for those who try to interfere with the hunters goal. Sab groups can be attacked, whipped and violently forced out by hunters and the people they pay to remove any opposition.

“I still go every time because if not me and my friends, then who will be there to stop the animals from being killed and mistreated? There might be a law that says it’s illegal to kill a fox with a pack of dogs but it still happens.

“When I was at school, I was bullied a lot and I always wondered why nobody was there for me. So when I go to the hunts, I think about that. I want to help these animals because I know what it feels like to be hopeless.”

It goes without saying there are countless more inspirational vegan women all over the world. And we’re celebrating each and every one of them today. If you haven’t got your fix of inspirational people yet, then check out our 31 Vegans’ First 31 Days stories here

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