Hi, my name is Leah Garcés and I am the first female president for Mercy For Animals.
I live in Atlanta and I live only about three or four
miles from where Martin Luther King was born and where he was raised and we have
just a really rich civil rights history. It reminds you that there are fights to
be fought and that you can't be complacent. And I'm really glad to be raising my
kids here where they're surrounded by examples of agents of change.
Have to be careful with the chickens.
The people have to be careful with the chickens? That's what she's saying?
So I have three kids: Ruben, Asher, and Andrea. They're all vegan and my husband is vegan.
My primary reason for going vegan is because of the animals.
I'm an ethical vegan first and foremost.
I've been working in animal activism for nearly two decades.
The things that we eat affect the world around us, whether it be
the planet or you care about your health
or you care about your family and their health,
or you care about the animals. Being vegan solves all of those things.
And I just, you know, want to have the most
fulfilled life I can and being vegan gets me closer to that.
I like to hold chickens with my mom and dad and I like to feed some goats.
My mom is really good at being nice to everybody and she's just really good at being a mom.
I want to be a farmer and a vegan chef. My vegan restaurant- I could
in the back have just a huge vegan garden.
I think it's really important that we break out of our bubble, we reach out to other social justice issues.
This is a social justice issue and I don't think it's always been treated like this.
The way farmed animals are treated is a social justice issue.
We need to work on the intersectionality of this issue with other social justice causes.
Diversity and inclusion helps better solve a problem.
We're not thinking of all of the solutions right now and it's why we're not solving the problem.
I can really clearly remember the first time I stepped into a chicken factory farm.
It was in North Carolina. The first thing that hits you is this
smell that is indescribable. It takes your breath away, it stings your eyes,
you cough and cough and you can't stop coughing. You taste it afterwards in your
nose and your mouth. It just saturates you. And all I could think about was:
this is where the animals live their entire life. I'm going to be in and out of here
and I'm going to shower and get this off of me. But this is their home.
This is the only place they'll ever know.
There were two chicks in the corner of the barn.
One of them was larger than the other one even though they were the same age.
So one of them was what they call a runt. The runt was huddled underneath the larger chick.
As a mother it really got to me, thinking about these babies.
And I just thought, "What a miserable life, this is it. This is their whole life."
This issue- it reaches into everywhere, it affects everything.
Conversely, if we can solve it we can solve so many things and that's, you know,
so motivating. So I think it's really important that we don't just point out
the problems but that we point out the solutions and that we're constructive activists.
What should factory farmers do? And if we can have a solution for them
and we offer them something else- and when I say that I mean pea protein or soy,
could be mushrooms, other things that is starting to explode in this country.
When you work on ending factory farming you're working on environment and people
and animals and health. It's like honestly the mecca of all those issues.
You can solve so many problems. So when you're stopping factory farming, you are
helping people, you are helping nutrition and health and environment and of course
you're helping the animals.
My goal is to hand my kids a world better than the one they were born into.
And that motivates me every single day.