Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years. She is the Grassroots Campaigns Director for the international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals www.idausa.org. Hope was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 and soon after that victory, founded Farm Animal Protection Project www.farmanimalprotection.org. Hope offers an influential power point presentation called Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet that addresses the environmental impact of animal agriculture through peer reviewed scientific research. She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and a well known presenter throughout the Bay Area and across the U.S.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me today on this lovely July 27th. It’s a lovely day today. We’re going to talk about, we’re going to talk a lot about animals today. This show is, of course, called It’s All About Food, and I like to touch on a variety of different subjects related to food, health, environment and the treatment of animals, and one of the things that happens when we take for granted other species on this planet because we eat them and we consume them on a daily basis and don’t think about their feelings, their lives, their pain, their suffering, we tend to do all kinds of other nasty things to them as well. I think that once we realize that we don’t need to consume animals to live and to thrive, that lifts the veil and all those other things that we do in exploiting them become very apparent as exploitation and as very unnecessary. We’re going to be talking to someone who’s been doing a lot of work in the area of animal protection, Hope Bohanec. She is my guest today, and she has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years. She’s the grassroots campaign director for the International Animal Protection Organization, In Defense of Animals. She was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 in California, and soon after that victory founded Farm Animal Protection Project. Hope offers an influential PowerPoint presentation called Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet, that addresses the environmental impact of animal agriculture through peer-reviewed, scientific research. She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and a well-known presenter throughout the Bay Area and across the United States. Welcome, Hope! Thank you for joining me today on It’s All About Food.
Hope Bohanec: Thank you so much for having me!
Caryn Hartglass: We have a lot to talk about today, you are a very busy person.
Hope Bohanec: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re doing so many important things. I’m so happy to have you on because, I’ve never met you, but we’ve dialogued a bit over the years, and I’ve read some of the great articles you’ve written, and I’m just looking forward to this hour to talk and learn more about you.
Hope Bohanec: Great!
Caryn Hartglass: So I was reading on, I think it was The Vegan Poet site, that you’ve been a vegan since 1990.
Hope Bohanec: Yes, that’s correct.
Caryn Hartglass: How did that happen? When did you decide that eating animals and the exploitation of animals was not for you?
Hope Bohanec: I first went vegetarian when I was 16, and that was just because I love animals so much, and I recognized that I did not want to eat them.
Caryn Hartglass: Do you remember that moment when you recognized?
Hope Bohanec: Actually I do. My mother had cooked a chicken, and the chicken was whole. It was a whole chicken on its side, and I remember making the connection that this was a bird, an actual animal. I think it being whole like that helped me make that connection, and I couldn’t eat it. I started thinking about all of the things in the refrigerator, that there was bacon, that was a pig, and I loved pigs, I thought they were adorable, and what on Earth am I doing? I just stopped eating animals. I was in Dallas, Texas, at the time, and this was in the 80’s, and didn’t really even know what a vegetarian was. It was very, very unknown, especially in the South, and I just kind of felt it in my heart. I started reading about it, learning more about it, and also learning that the dairy and egg industry are just as bad.
Caryn Hartglass: If not worse.
Hope Bohanec: Right, right, so about four years later, when I was 20, I thought, “Ok, I’ve gotta go for it, and do this, and go all the way and become vegan.” It’s funny because at the time, there was so little information, and so little good science around the health aspect, that I was told by everyone that I was going to be unhealthy, and that I needed the animal products to be healthy, and I didn’t care. At the time, I was like, “You know what? Even if it’s less healthy, I can’t exploit animals, I just can’t do it.” What I learned though, was that my health improved, my acne improved, my digestive issues improved, and suddenly I was living a much healthier life, and I thought, “Well you know what? It’s not bad for me at all!” It has its benefits.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, and of course, as time went on, I know you learned that this was the right diet for so many things.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely, absolutely, and then, my first encounters with activism were in the environmental movement. I worked for Greenpeace, as well as Earth First up in the redwoods in Northern California, and I was one of the only vegans in the environmental movement that I met. I talked to a lot of people about those connections, because even back then, the EPA was doing, had scientific studies connecting the environmental impact of animal agriculture, even back in the early ‘90s, ‘90s, we had the information. It’s just now kind of coming out.
Caryn Hartglass: Can we talk about that a little more? That’s always, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s always amazed me, in the environmental movement, that so many people are not vegetarian. Even today, I’ve connected with so many people at Greenpeace and other places, I think the environmental working group just put out a statement about eating less meat, it’s good for the environment, but none of them will take the plunge and say, “Come on folks, this is the single most effective thing any one individual can do for the environment.” They don’t say it. Not eating animals.
Hope Bohanec: It’s a mystery to me. I don’t know if it has to do with their fundraising, and they’ve polled it, and it’s not something that brings in the money, I don’t know. It’s frustrating because it is just a huge impact on the environment, animal agriculture. It is the number one reason for the Amazon Rainforest being cut down, it is a huge water pollution issue, water waste, and greenhouse gas emissions. Now we’re connecting it in a major way to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, with a report out that found that 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are connected to animal agriculture.
Caryn Hartglass: That was the World Watch article that came out a year or two ago.
Hope Bohanec: That’s right, and the authors of that are two prominent World Bank environmental advisors, and they urged in that report a global shift to a plant-based diet, and said that that could actually do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than our current trajectory of switching from fossil fuels to renewables, because that switch with the energy use, that’s really going to cause, it’s going to take massive infrastructure change, energy, time, money, but a global shift to a plant-based diet, it would be minimal impact. It just takes the knowledge, the impetus, and the will for people to do it.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s where I get back to my original question, and that is, why is it that these environmental activists still today, they’re doing all this research, they’re finding out all of this information, and yet it’s this incredible human characteristic to be in denial about certain things. I know that they have to be aware of these things and yet I’ve talked to many of them, and I remember most recently talking to someone who has a good position in one of these environmental groups, and we were talking about dairy. I was saying, certainly you know it’s not a healthy food, it’s linked to so many health issues, and it’s certainly not good for the environment. Cows, those numbers you were talking about recently about animal agriculture being a major cause of global warming, a big piece of that are the dairy cows that are giving off methane gas, and she was just looking at me like a deer in the headlights, like she wasn’t even aware of any of this, and I just don’t understand it.
Hope Bohanec: I don’t either. I don’t know if—
Caryn Hartglass: Maybe you work with some of these people? And I imagine you must have had some conversations.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely, and it’s similar things. Some of them are just unaware, because it’s just not in the environmental community’s dialogue. Some are, and there are, just to give credit, there are vegetarians and vegans within the environmental movement, but they’re just not the prominent voices and it’s definitely not the message that the environmental community is giving out. I think food, there’s this kind of primal thing around food, and I think people get like, it’s kind of, you know how there are some dogs that you take their food away, or a wild animal and you take their food away, and there’s just this primal reaction, this growling? I think that humans have that. It’s not just the environmental community, it’s a lot of the community that’s outside of animal rights that has this like, “Don’t take my food away from me.” They’ll say, “Ok, I’ll drive less, I’ll change my light bulbs, I’ll do all that, but don’t talk to me about my food.”
Caryn Hartglass: Right, I’ll put those water-reducing showerheads on.
Hope Bohanec: Right, so then they can still take a shower, but God forbid I can’t have my hamburger. So, what they don’t realize is that once you get into the vegan eating, it’s just so abundant and so—
Caryn Hartglass: Liberating.
Hope Bohanec: Nutritional, and liberating, and delicious, and you find all those substitute things and things that make your meals just as appealing and just as satisfying as they were before. I think people are afraid that they’re going to feel deprived, but there’s just so much amazing food out there now. When I went vegan back in 1990 and all through the ‘90s, you had to really want it. You had to really be dedicated.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I did it in 1988, and I had been thinking about it for a while, it was bothering me because I was starting to read about what was going on in the dairy farms, something that people really don’t want to know about or acknowledge, because, as you mentioned before, dairy and eggs, those are the things that people think of last as—
Hope Bohanec: Impactful, ethically, or environmentally.
Caryn Hartglass: I mean a lot of vegetarians think, “Oh, I can have dairy and eggs because the animals aren’t being killed,” and they are being killed, their lives are being shortened and they’re suffering the whole time, it’s just really a horrific scenario. I was taking a business trip to Israel, I was there for three months, and I just used that opportunity to eliminate dairy from my diet, I wasn’t going to be eating with a lot of people, and they certainly have a lot of great vegetable dishes there. It was a good time to do it.
Hope Bohanec: Good, well you know that when we went vegan back in the day, you had to really want it. If you wanted a cookie, you had to bake it. There was nothing.
Caryn Hartglass: Which isn’t a bad thing—
Hope Bohanec: No, of course not.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m always encouraging people to get back into the kitchen.
Hope Bohanec: Oh absolutely, of course. My point is that now, there’s just no excuse. There is so much abundant vegan food. You go into any vegan health food store, and you can have everything from ice cream to sausage. It’s amazing now. It’s so much easier now, which is great. Of course, all of these processed foods aren’t the most healthy of the healthiest foods for us, however, when you’re transitioning, it’s fun foods. Good things to have during transition times.
Caryn Hartglass: Ok, let’s get to the serious stuff now. You’re working with In Defense of Animals. Can you give us a little history on this organization?
Hope Bohanec: Sure. In Defense of Animals has been around for over 25 years. We started mostly focused on vivisection, that was the main focus of our founder, Elliot Katz. We started with vivisection, doing a lot of work in specifically California, that’s where our world headquarters is now, here in San Rafael, and that’s where I live and work in the office. We expanded out to really incorporate a lot of different animal issues as time went on and as the organization grew. Anti-fur, talking about circuses, education about veganism, of course, we’ve been talking about. Dr. Katz wants the person to really feel comfortable and use the term vegan when everyone was using the term vegetarian, so that’s really a wonderful thing that he was getting that going, using the term vegan. We work on numerous different issues. We also have sanctuaries, and international projects going on. We have IDA Africa, which is a chimpanzee rescue from the bush meat trade, there are 76 chimpanzees in the sanctuary at that IDA Africa. I would love to go there some day and really see it and experience what’s going on there. We have IDA India, which is a couple of rescue vehicles and a dedicated group of activists there that we support, that go and neuter and give medical care to the street animals of Mumbai. Then we have a shelter and a rescue in Mississippi, that is called Hope Animal Sanctuary.
Caryn Hartglass: Is that named after you, Hope?
Hope Bohanec: Of course! Doll Stanley runs that sanctuary, and she does an amazing job in Mississippi of going in and rescuing in hoarder cases and puppy mills. She is working really with the authorities there and getting these animals out of bad situations and into good homes. We have numerous other campaigns, like our South Korean dog campaign, that day of action is coming up, our international day of action for South Korean dogs and cats that are killed for human consumption.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s so many different issues.
Hope Bohanec: Yeah, it kind of goes on and on. We also work with elephants in captivity, and zoos, that’s another one of our large campaigns, and so IDA is just really, we work on a lot, and we’re very busy but very dedicated.
Caryn Hartglass: Some people will say, you only care about animals, you don’t care about people, I’m sure you’ve heard that.
Hope Bohanec: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: The thing is, it’s all connected, and once you allow for some sort of exploitation, it just snowballs, and then all kinds of violent activity just seems ok, and none of it’s acceptable.
Hope Bohanec: Right, absolutely. No, it’s true, a lot of animal abuse extends to people eventually abusing humans, when they’re young and abuse animals, so it is all connected. Violence against anyone is violence against everyone. We really have to acknowledge that, and also, a lot of these issues, when we’re helping the animals, we’re also helping the humans that are in their lives and also around that community. So, it is all connected, you’re absolutely right.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk a little bit about backyard hobby slaughtering of food animals in Oakland. I know that I read about that not too long ago, and it’s really a very interesting subject. Certainly, animal agriculture, the factory farming of animals for food, is something that should be outlawed. It’s just probably one of the most horrific human creations ever.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: It just should be gone. But, meanwhile, there are other ways to raise animals for food, and I personally think none of them are acceptable, but there are different shades of horrible. Ok, so I put factory farming at the absolute worst, it’s horrible, ethically it’s horrible, environmentally, and if you think that animal food is healthy, this is probably the worst of it. So let’s get rid of it. But meanwhile, some people’s responses are, what if they’re raising meat, dairy, eggs, “humanely” and some of these organic farms are popping up, raising animals, but then there’s also this raising chickens in your backyard. I read some articles about this specifically in Oakland, and that the legal challenge comes from people wanting to sell some of this food to other people. What issues are you working with IDA?
Hope Bohanec: In Defense of Animals has been very active in this issue here in the Bay Area on numerous fronts. There is definitely a surging, a surge, of we call them kind of do-it-yourself hobby slaughterers, that’s kind of what it is. It’s this, it’s within this sustainable and locavore foodie movement, and people are wanting to get back to the earth, have urban gardens—which we are fully in support of, and so there’s one aspect of it that we really embrace, and that is getting more fruits and vegetables growing in the local community, getting more fruits and vegetables to food deserts and areas that don’t have access to healthy foods. Unfortunately what is coming within that is people wanting to raise and slaughter rabbits, goats, chickens, and it’s just so difficult to regulate. It’s so difficult to know and be sure that these animals are having a good life, and eventually they are going to be slaughtered, and that is kind of the bottom line. We don’t want to see that happen, especially in someone’s backyard, where children can be witness to this brutality. There’s numerous issues going on, and in Oakland, what’s specifically happening is that there is a group that is wanting to change the city ordinances to make it legal to slaughter, to be able to slaughter in the urban area, in your backyard, because right now it is illegal. So we are working with a local group, trying to, a local Oakland homeowners group that do not want to see this happen. We’re going to the planning commission meetings, we’re writing letters, we have a petition going, trying to get this to not happen.
Caryn Hartglass: What are you using as points to not, the reasons for not having this be allowed?
Hope Bohanec: Right, oh, there’s so many reasons.
Caryn Hartglass: Because I know for a lot of people, they don’t care about killing, so that’s not an issue.
Hope Bohanec: Right, well if you’re thinking environmentally, really they are shooting themselves in the foot as far as the amount of food that they can get on a local level. For instances, Oakland, they did an assessment of all the available arable land that you could grow fruits and vegetables on, and how many people they could feed with the available land. 30% of Oakland residents could be fed on fruits and vegetables if they used all that land to grow fruits and vegetables. However, if they start raising animals for that same amount of land, even half the animals, it goes down substantially to less than 10% would be able to be fed on local food. If you really, really want a local economy with local production, you need to focus on fruits and vegetables, especially in an urban environment because there’s so little land available.
Caryn Hartglass: You know what, Hope? I’m not surprised at those numbers. We’ve been talking for a long time about how inefficient growing plants to feed animals to feed people is.
Hope Bohanec: Right, absolutely it is.
Caryn Hartglass: There are so many people who dance around it and try and come up with different reasons why it’s good to raise animals, for example, having a cow or two in your yard or your farm is good because they trample the soil and we need their manure, and I read these articles, and I go, “Ok, if that’s even true, you can have the cow, you don’t have to kill it.”
Hope Bohanec: Right, but you don’t even have to have it to begin with. Veganic gardening is becoming really, really popular, there are numerous veganic farms, and veganic farming means farming without any animals. You don’t need their manure, their products of any kind. You can do it all without animals, it is absolutely easy and doable. There are veganic farms popping up everywhere. There is a veganic farm that has a CSA, and is feeding their local community through boxes of produce. So it’s unnecessary to have animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Gosh, I would really like to belong to that one. The interesting thing about veganic farming is that the expertise was developed, I believe, in Europe, where they didn’t have access to animals, and so they had to grow crops without animal manure, and it wasn’t an ethical thing or anything. Fortunately that knowledge has been transferred to people who want to do it without animals. I think that it’s important now because of all of this e-coli, and all of this filth, that to put factory-farmed animal manure on organic farms is dangerous.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely. All of the issues that we have with e-coli and salmonella and all these terrible viruses and diseases, this all stems from animal agriculture. It’s not the spinach, it’s the manure they put on the spinach.
Caryn Hartglass: All innocent bean sprouts and vegetables that we were warned not to eat, and it’s so important to eat them. It’s so unfair, because here we are, you and I, we are not the cause of this problem and yet it’s affecting the food that we’re eating. I don’t like it. So how is it turning out, this, how do you think it’s going to turn out in Oakland?
Hope Bohanec: What’s happening in Oakland? Well, it is definitely a fight. They are very adamant, there’s a couple of these do-it-yourselfers, farmers, that very much want to sell their product, both the vegetables and the meat, and they’re in it to make some money, and they feel that the local meat is going to be a money maker. So they’re really pushing for it. We’re having to kind of fight tooth-and-nail here about it. The planning commission meetings are very dominated by their agenda, so we’re having to really be vocal about it. We have a lot of different points that we are trying to make. Violence, actually, in Oakland, is out of control. That’s one of the worst, per capita, for drive-by shootings and stuff like that, so we’re trying to express that this is just going to bring more violence into the community. Another thing is that the animal control is really overburdened. They just lost something like $200,000, I can’t really remember what it was, but their funding is being cut, and this would just really overburden them even more. When people get their little chickens, and then they realize how much work it is, and they don’t want to deal with it, or the chickens stop laying eggs, what are they going to do? They’re going to give them to animal control. Then animal control is going to be overburdened trying to find them all a home or just euthanizing them. So there’s a lot of issues.
Caryn Hartglass: It is, it is a big issue.
Hope Bohanec: I was just going to mention, another area that we are working on that is similar is the farmers’ markets here in the Bay Area were selling live birds for people to buy and take home and slaughter. So, that has been going on for a little while, and In Defense of Animals as well as another group called LGBT Compassion here in the Bay Area, a local group, have been working together to get these live bird sales stopped at the farmers’ markets, and we’ve been successful in San Francisco. Three of the farmers’ markets that were selling the live birds have stopped selling the live birds, due to our protests, and our being very vocal at city council meetings and other ways that we’ve been getting the word out about it. Now the only one left is in Richmond, so there’s just the Richmond farmers’ market is still selling live birds, so we’re having weekly demonstrations there every Friday during their selling. We’re keeping on Richmond and we’re hoping that we will get them to stop as well, and then all of the farmers’ markets will have stopped selling live birds. We’re having more of a victory, or a positive outcome with the farmers’ markets.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s really complex, because sometimes people say, if people had to kill the animals themselves, they’d become vegetarian. Or, if people could see animals being slaughtered, they wouldn’t eat them. Here’s a case where they know that that’s not true, because there are people that are willing to slaughter their own animals. Then on the other hand, I think, maybe it would be better if people had to slaughter their own animals, maybe, I don’t know, I just think it’s really important to know, to be fully aware of what you’re doing.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely. Well there’s a desensitization that happens, I think, when people are able to do slaughter their own. Just like Mark Zuckerman says, the first one is really difficult, but then it gets easier and easier.
Caryn Hartglass: You get number and number and once you’re used to slicing a chicken’s neck, it might be that much easier to slice anyone’s neck, if you’re immune to it.
Hope Bohanec: Right, right, and so it’s really I think a dangerous game that we’re playing with this, getting everyone to be able to slaughter their own. But, another factor is that, when these chickens get sold, like at the farmers’ markets, for instance, we have no way of regulating, no way of knowing what’s going to happen to that bird. Some of them are used in ritual, religious ceremonies where they’re tortured and slaughtered, some they just bring them home and ignore them and let them starve before they slaughter them. Or, it could be botched slaughter where they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t do it very well, and the animal could suffer greatly while it’s dying. So, there’s just so many unknowns, without having it being in a facility where there’s regulation. Granted, there’s not a lot of regulation around the slaughterhouses and factory farms, however, at least there is some oversight. It’s such an unknown with these take home and do-it-yourself things.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. I want to marinate on this thought for a while, and we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be back in a moment. Hope, stay with us, we have a lot more to talk about.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, we’re back. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you’re listening to It’s All About Food, and I’m here with Hope Bohanec, and we’re talking about a lot of animal issues. She’s with In Defense of Animals. Hope, you’re still here with us, great!
Hope Bohanec: I am.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s move on to some other fun things that In Defense of Animals is doing, maybe more fun that some of the other things, because some things can really be, can really be difficult. I mean, just working and talking about slaughtering all the time, I imagine, can really weigh on you.
Hope Bohanec: Well, it is difficult. Sometimes we all have to process, and here in the office, we’ll have to run to the bathroom and cry for a minute.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, absolutely.
Hope Bohanec: It’s tough to be exposed to all this 24/7. But, it is also empowering knowing that we are helping in lots of ways, and helping these animals as best we can, so it makes it a little more tolerable. But we do have some fun things coming up. In October, we have World Go Vegan Week. That’s the last week of October, and we really try to make this a positive celebration of the vegan diet and of vegan food. One thing we’re going to be doing for World Go Vegan Week is we’re going to have a campaign that’s called Vegan Pizza Takes Over the World. We’re partnering with Daiya cheese, which is a new vegan cheese that is really amazing, they’re finally are getting these formulas really good, and Daiya cheese is delicious, it tastes really similar to cheese, it melts. Well, I haven’t had cheese for 20 years, so I’m not really sure, it tastes just like cheese to me. It melts, it’s great. We’re partnering with Daiya cheese, we’re going to be reaching out to members, we’re going to encourage our IDA members around the country and around the world, and go into their pizza shops that don’t have a vegan option right now, and encouraging them if they would offer a vegan pizza for the week of World Go Vegan Week, and we’re going to have Daiya cheese provide them with a sample packet of cheese, so that they can make one of their pizzas with Daiya cheese and give it a try. If they like it and want to offer it for that week, then we will encourage the vegan community of that area to go in and give it a try, support that pizza shop, and hopefully they will keep it on their menu beyond World Go Vegan Week, so we’re trying to get more vegan pizza options in pizza shops all around the world. We just feel like that’s going to make it even more fun and easy to be vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: Pizza is a very popular food, and a lot of kids like it, and it can be a nightmare health disaster, health and environmental disaster, or it can be somewhat nutritious and certainly planet-friendly. It doesn’t take too much change. Tomato sauce is a really healthy food. White flour, I’m not a big fan of, but that’s ok, especially if we don’t eat it all the time, it’s fine.
Hope Bohanec: Right, this is a special treat kind of food.
Caryn Hartglass: Part of the problem related to pizza and other fast foods is that people are eating it all the time, and we’ve got to get to those leafy, green vegetables.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely. Maybe they could encourage them to also have a whole-wheat crust with a lot of veggies on it.
Caryn Hartglass: Some whole-wheat, gluten-free. I think what’s important here, and I’m totally in support of what you’re doing, because what I think is important is that any pizza establishment they should lift their own veils, and know that there are lots of different alternatives out there, that they can be offering, and it won’t be a loss for them, in fact, I think it will only improve their business, because there are lots of different communities out there, not just vegan communities, but people that are lactose intolerant. They should be offered different types of pizzas, whole-grain pizzas, gluten-free pizzas, and whole varieties. So this is important.
Hope Bohanec: It’s just going to bring them more business and a wider community to serve. Absolutely. So we’re very excited about that.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to say, we like to make pizza at home, and I tend to stay away from gluten, and we’ve been using garbanzo flour quite a bit. In fact, I welcome people to go to my new non-profit website, responsibleeatingandliving.com, responsibleeatingandliving.com. I just put up a recipe for socca, which is like a crepe made chickpea flour.
Hope Bohanec: That sounds good!
Caryn Hartglass: It’s so good, and it’s so simple, and it’s so easy, I don’t know why more pizza places aren’t making some crusts out of chickpea flour, because it’s so much easier and it’s gluten-free. Anyway, so I like to use that. There are all kinds of wonderful cheese alternatives. We like to make a lot of nut cheeses at home, cashew-based and almond-based, and I think these products are going to start exploding soon.
Hope Bohanec: They seem to be getting healthier and healthier. The cheese, the ingredients are really good, comparatively, to some other cheese substitutes, so I’m very happy that not only are we getting more vegan products, but they seem to be getting healthier too.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Hope Bohanec: Another little project that I have that I’d love to plug, just because we are going to need funding for it, so I’m just kind of putting it out there, something that I have visions for the future and want to do for next summer. I would really love to get a vegan ice cream truck going here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, what a great idea! I love that idea.
Hope Bohanec: I think it would be so much fun. We’d be at all different events, from rock concerts to farmers’ markets, to other festivals, and it’s just, when people, we do sometimes vegan ice cream tastings, and it’s truly, truly amazing the reactions we get from people. People will start out being like, “Oh no, oh no, it’s vegan? Vegan ice cream? No, thank you, no.” And, we’re like, “Just try it! One bite, just see what it’s like,” and they’ll eat it and be amazed at how good it is and how similar it is to ice cream. People will be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to get this all the time! I had no idea.” So it really is showing people how delicious vegan can be.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, and there are so many more choices. You can go from super, super healthy and still delicious to others that have more fat and sugar in them.
Hope Bohanec: A little more decadent, yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Why can’t an ice cream truck serve up like a strawberry-banana treat that’s just made from strawberries and bananas?
Hope Bohanec: Sure, sure. I was actually thinking about that. Frozen fruits through a Champion juicer, it’s just amazing. All you need is the frozen fruit and it’s so good. Absolutely, I was thinking about that, I was thinking that would be a great addition to the truck.
Caryn Hartglass: No, really. Then there’s coconut milk-based ice creams, and soy milk-based, and almond milk, and hemp milk, and cashew milk. Each one imparts a slightly different flavor, and it just expands on the possibilities.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely. So that’s really exciting, we’re excited about that, but we are going to need some funding to be able to buy the truck and the initial stock of ice cream, so if anybody is interested in that idea!
Caryn Hartglass: It’s an interesting concept, and there are a few people taking their businesses mobile, and it’s a great thing, although I’ve read some pros and cons about how, environmentally, is it good to be using a business that requires gas to move around? But there have been some people that have started these mobile produce trucks, bringing produce to food desert areas, people that don’t have access to healthy food in stores. Why, the ice cream truck, I have so many wonderful memories as a kid, when the music played, and you ran to the truck, and you nagged to your parents, “Please, please, please, please, please!”
Hope Bohanec: So true, so we can start those new positive memories with the vegan communities, with the vegan lifestyles, we don’t have to lose any of that. It can all be healthy and happy for the animals, and we can still have those happy memories.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s just amazing, and that’s why I love talking about it, because people have to know, this is not a diet of deprivation. We have everything and we have more than everything.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely, and I’ve had numerous people tell me they eat so much, and they have such a variety of food, now that they are vegan than they ever did before.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s really good, I’m very excited about that.
Hope Bohanec: Me too, I hope it happens.
Caryn Hartglass: We talked a little bit before about the impact of animal agriculture on global warming, and I’m sure that’s one of the big points that you talk about on your Eco-Eating presentation. Are there other issues that are also as compelling to the environment?
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely, yes. There are so many different issues as far as water waste, water pollution. It’s interesting that it’s been said that a vegan can leave their shower running for a year and still not waste as much water as a meat eater.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you brought that up, I wanted to talk about that earlier while we were talking about people not giving anything up for their hamburger.
Hope Bohanec: It’s true, there’s so much resources wasted, not only water but the grain that’s fed to the animal, that could be going directly to feed people, and that’s bringing in the world hunger issue, as well as the land use. There’s just so much waste with the animals because, we often think of ourselves as the overpopulated species eating up all the resources, and while that is arguably true, we need to look at the billions of animals that are raised for our food consumption that are really overpopulated, eating up all the resources. There’s where the problem is, and it’s so unnecessary. It’s a middleman we don’t need. We can get food, nutritious, actually better and higher, superior nutrition from the plants directly.
Caryn Hartglass: You had mentioned that In Defense of Animals had started originally with vivisection being the focus of their campaigns. Vivisection, of course, is the testing of animals to verify that products are healthy or safe for humans, and also to develop medical practices as well.
Hope Bohanec: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s a lot of laws right now where companies are required to do animal testing. Most of the time I say that, in order to make change, the individuals have to change, and then the laws will follow, and the only way to change these laws is if people don’t buy the products that use animal testing. It’s really hard to know sometimes what those products are. Certainly, it must have been more than 20 years ago now when The Body Shop put it in the forefront talking about animal testing on makeup. People were aware of it, I think people get confused when they read a statement that says no animal testing, because they still don’t realize there’s levels of cruelty involved, even if a product says it doesn’t have animal testing. It still could have dead, exploited animals in its products.
Hope Bohanec: Right, or animal ingredients, sure.
Caryn Hartglass: Where are we with vivisection these days? Has there been any improvement?
Hope Bohanec: There’s always improvements. There’s a lot more products available that are not animal-tested. That’s absolutely happening.
Caryn Hartglass: Or is it something that IDA isn’t as focused on as it used to be?
Hope Bohanec: Well, we are, we have a whole vivisection campaign, it’s just not something I am focused on personally, so I don’t know a lot of details.
Caryn Hartglass: I know for medical testing, that fortunately there’s a lot of things that are happening now where people are moving from testing on animals to testing in vitro, and petri dishes, and using computer models, and all of that is a great improvement.
Hope Bohanec: Right, well, see and all of that takes infrastructure change though, and I know that that’s the reason why a lot of the older companies like Proctor & Gamble are still testing on animals, because they have to invest millions of dollars to update their labs, their labs are all set up right now for animal testing. So, they’d have to spend a lot of money to upgrade to the computer modulation, and petri dish, and all that. So that’s a lot of what’s going on, is that they just are not willing to spend the money for the infrastructure change. You mention in vitro, and I think something, we’re talking about science and the future, in vitro meat is something that I find interesting.
Caryn Hartglass: How do you feel about that? Laboratory meat?
Hope Bohanec: Well, I think that it’s an interesting thought. I think that it is something that could be, in a continuum, we’re going to have more and more people going vegan, and eating healthy, but there’s going to be a core of die-hards that just don’t care enough, whether it be about their health or about the environment or about the animals, they just don’t care. They just want their easy fast-food food, and they don’t think about it enough or too much. I think that in vitro meat could be a wonderful solution for those that just aren’t going to make the change. It can be done, actually there was an Oxford study that just came out recently, that found that in vitro meat would actually use 98% less greenhouse gas emissions than animal agriculture, and 70-something percent less water use, and the numbers just drastically reduce on the environmental impact.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s good.
Hope Bohanec: Really fascinating stuff. Maybe this is some place where technology can redeem itself, and really help save some animals and feed the world.
Caryn Hartglass: It definitely is interesting. It’s funny to me, because sometimes when you ask people would they like to eat laboratory meat, their instant reaction is, “Ewww! I couldn’t do that!” but if they really realized what’s going on with the food that they are eating to begin with, because people have no clue. If they saw how a hot dog was made, it’s just disgusting. All the chemicals and artificial ingredients, it’s just mind-boggling, so that’s always very amusing to me. For the people that don’t care, it’s definitely a better alternative.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: I would go for soy-based chicken nuggets, rather than chicken.
Hope Bohanec: Sure, myself as well, but I think there’s those people out there that still are going to be like, “That’s not meat!”
Caryn Hartglass: That’s not natural!
Hope Bohanec: Right. If we made it so in vitro meat was just like it, you couldn’t tell the difference, I think it would be a huge solution.
Caryn Hartglass: For me, the most important thing is to reduce and eliminate pain and suffering and exploitation, so anything that does that is great. But part of the pain and suffering is the pain and suffering in humans when they get sick. I work a lot towards educating people about what’s healthy, and I can’t say enough about fresh, locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables, lots of dark, leafy greens. We don’t need heart disease. Heart disease for the most part is reversible, preventable. Diabetes, preventable. 60%, at least, of cancers are preventable.
Hope Bohanec: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: Hospitals are not a fun place, pain is not fun. The fruits and vegetables are really where it’s at when it comes to boosting our immune system. The best protection towards prevention of illness and strengthening our bodies to live quality lives.
Hope Bohanec: It’s really a positive thing that’s going on as far as the health community really coming out behind plant-based diets, fruits and vegetables, with the new plate, the government’s dietary standards plate. I am so excited about that! If you notice, it’s subtle, but if you notice the four sections, they say fruits, vegetables, grains, which are all actual foods, so they want you to eat fruits, vegetables, grains, and then the fourth section is protein. That’s a nutrient! What they’re basically saying is, “We don’t care how you get your protein, just get some protein.” So that could be beans, that could be meat, whatever. But the others, they could have said, vitamins and carbohydrates, but they didn’t. They were very specific about fruits, vegetables, grains, and then the protein, it’s like meat is now optional. Meat is not a necessity on the plate, and I think that that’s so positive.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you bring that up because I didn’t see it that way, and I like that perspective very much. I like consistency, and so it bothered me that once corner was a macronutrient, and the rest were foods. It didn’t make sense to me, but this is really a good take on it. What was amusing to me was that it looks exactly like the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine plate that they put out a year ago.
Hope Bohanec: That’s right, they took a lot from that, which is really wonderful.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, the little circle to the side of the plate, of the milk?
Hope Bohanec: I know, that was disappointing, definitely. I wonder how much the dairy industry paid to get that little circle.
Caryn Hartglass: Exactly. It’s all about money. Well, Hope, guess what? We’ve come to the end of the hour.
Hope Bohanec: Wow, that went by quick!
Caryn Hartglass: We did it! I enjoyed myself, I hope you did too.
Hope Bohanec: I did, thank you so much.
Caryn Hartglass: Such a pleasure talking to you, I love the work that you’re doing, if people are interested, make it to the website.
Hope Bohanec: Yes, I can give you our website, its IDAUSA.org, and you can look at our vegan campaign and get a lot of further information about what I was talking about, and please support us, In Defense of Animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you so much, Hope Bohanec, for you and all that you’re doing, and In Defense of Animals, IDAUSA.org. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and please check out my website, responsibleeatingandliving.com. That’s all, have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Sarah Gumz, 2/6/2014