I met Donna Zeigfinger more than 15 years ago at the Animal Rights Conference in Washington, D.C. I don’t remember the specifics but I do remember being very impressed with this passionate and funny longtime vegan who’d recently launched her all-vegan travel agency, Green Earth Travel. In the years since,. this pioneering globe-trotter has helped to pave the way for a world that is much easier, more enjoyable and more accommodating for vegan travelers and that is why I am so excited to be partnering with Green Earth Travel and the Vegan Travel Club for a vegan tour of San Francisco and the Bay Area, August 2 – 6, 2018. It’s going to be AMAZING. Details! Please contact Donna with any questions here. I promise you fun, hijinks, great vegan food and an utter blast in one of the best, most beautiful cities in the world. Join us! And check out this interview with a true pioneer, vegan rock star, Donna Zeigfinger.
1. First of all, we’d love to hear your “vegan evolution” story. How did you start out? Did you have any early influences or experiences as a young person that in retrospect helped to pave your path?
My evolution started with meeting Ingrid Newkirk at the DC Animal control. She was head of human resources. She used to throw flyers on my desk all the time about vivisection and circuses, etc. I also had to do rabies checks and when animals were euthanized like raccoons or possums, I was the one to take out their brains for rabies testing and I remember thinking that they looked too much like steak.
2. Imagine that you are pre-vegan again: how could someone have talked to you and what could they have said or shown you that could have been the most effective way to have a positive influence on you moving toward veganism?
I think sitting down and talking to me and telling me why this is bad for the world or the animals would be the most effective way. I also think really the best way are the documentaries that are out there now that have the most impact.
3. What have you found to be the most effective way to communicate your message as a vegan? For example, humor, passion, images, etc.?
Lead by example seems to work for me. And passion but not reaction.
4. What do you think are the biggest strengths of the vegan movement?
The internet is one of the bigger strengths. I also love that we are embracing new vegans in a gentler way-letting take baby steps and not making them feel guilty
5. What do you think are our biggest hindrances to getting the word out effectively?
Inter-fighting within the group.
Inter-fighting within the group.
6. All of us need a “why vegan” elevator pitch. We’d love to hear yours.
Not only is going vegan good for you and the environment but also the animals that we all love and respect.
7. Who are the people and what are the books, films, websites and organizations that have had the greatest influence on your veganism and your continuing evolution?
Ingrid Newkirk, “The Animals Film”, Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
8. Burn-out is so common among vegans: what do you do to unwind, recharge and inspire yourself?
I love watching trash TV. Love travel and experiencing new places. And I love connecting on social media.
9. What is the issue nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like others to know more about?
Puppy mills - not a vegan issue but as one who is owned by a puppy mill survivor I have learned so much from him-so much so that I started a group to help people that have adopted dogs from puppy mills that need help.
10. Please finish this sentence: “To me, being vegan is...”
Being compassionate, yet passionate, kind yet strong. Do the best you can.