Just in time for Republic Day, Hollywood actor Alicia Silverstone teamed up with PETA India to provide delicious vegan desi food to HIV-positive orphans from Bhagini Nivedita Pratishthan in Sangli, students from Ramswaroop Chameli Devi Memorial Junior High School in Bulandshahr, and children with learning disabilities from Pruthvi Women and Rural Development Organisation in Gundlupet. These youngsters enjoyed the tasty lunches after taking a tour to meet to rescued cows, goats, sheep, camels, and other animals at Animal Rahat’s beautiful sanctuaries in Gundlupet, Ranapur, and Sangli. The animals were rescued from various hardships, including being used for gruelling labour or in circuses, or were slated to be sacrificed, would have been abandoned by dairies, or faced other horrific fates.
“I love children! And sharing yummy vegan food with them is the perfect way to showcase how rich and flavourful meals are when we leave animals in peace. India is such a magical place, and I’m happy to help PETA India celebrate Republic Day with Animal Rahat by treating children to a visit they’ll never forget and a healthy and delicious vegan meal that saves lives.”
– Alicia Silverstone
India is admired worldwide for its cultural reverence for animals. The Sanskrit phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” means that the world is one family, and the Constitution of India requires citizens to have compassion for animals. And when non-vegans learn that the egg industry confines billions of chickens to cages so small they cannot even spread a wing, that trillions of fish are suffocated or slit open while they’re still alive so humans can consume their flesh, or that most calves are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth and many of them are killed just so that humans can steal the milk that was meant for them, many reject this violence by consuming exclusively vegan foods.
Unsurprisingly, India has the largest vegetarian population in the world (39% of the public) because of religious or cultural reasons as well as concerns over animal welfare, the negative environmental impact of animal farming, and the increase in rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
A staggering 75% of the population in India – along with most of the world – is lactose intolerant (unable to properly digest lactose). Studies have shown that consuming dairy can contribute to heart disease, various reproductive cancers like colon and breast cancer, obesity, and other serious ailments.
According to a report by the United Nations – which identifies animal agriculture as a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions – a global move towards vegan eating is necessary to combat the climate catastrophe, and University of Oxford researchers found that ditching meat and dairy can slash one’s carbon footprint from food by 73%.
Silverstone – who performed the lead role in the 1995 teen comedy classic Clueless and in recent years has appeared in the Netflix series Masters of the Universe: Revelation and the crime thriller Reptile alongside singer and actor Justin Timberlake – is a vegan of many years who has raised her strapping son, Bear, vegan and has starred in numerous PETA US campaigns advocating for an end to animal exploitation for food, fashion, and other human whims. The star, whose upcoming roles include the A24 disaster comedy film Y2K, has previously teamed up with PETA India to treat thousands of Mumbai children to vegan breakfasts and feed community animals for India’s National Youth Day, and during the COVID-19 crisis, she collaborated with the group to provide 1000 vegan meals to relatives of patients at BYL Nair Charitable Hospital who were in need.
Republic Day is a time to celebrate the many gifts India has given the world, including a phenomenal variety of delectable animal-free dishes that make it so easy to live vegan and show respect for all living, feeling beings!