Alex MacLennan is our next feature. I met him through work and he was recommended by his workmates as an ideal candidate for the Dolma Vegan Fragrances Meet A Vegan feature. Alex is just a regular guy doing what he can to make the world a better place – save chickens! People often equate chickens with being not as smart as other animals but this is quite far from the truth. Farm animals have some of the most intelligent animals around. Chickens have complex social structures. They are also capable of recognising their owners and are able to recognise up to 100 human faces! Alex and his partner’s simple act of kindness will be felt by all the chickens out there who are suffering grim lives under the hands of battery farming. Read on to see how you can help like Alex.
Name: Alex MacLennan
How long have you been Vegan?
I have been vegan for 4 years.
Were you vegetarian before? If so, for how long before going vegan? And what made you go further?
Yes I was vegetarian for 5 years – My partner is vegan, so we never had animal products in the house anyway. It was a gradual transition to the point where I realised I wasn’t eating any animal products anymore and could see no reason to start again. I also became a lot more aware of the cruelty within the egg and dairy industry so if I wasn’t eating meat through compassion I could not justify other animal products in my diet.
What made you go vegan?
The main reason is my partner opening my eyes to animal suffering outside of the meat industry and living in a house free of all animal products made it an easy for 90% of the time.
Has that reason changed?
Not at all, although I am more active in the compassion side now, volunteering for the British Hen Welfare Trust helping rescue hens from battery farms.
What was your biggest struggle during your transition?
The only struggle was the 10% of the time I wasn’t eating or preparing meals at home, so going out to non-vegan friendly restaurants or friends and family meals.
What advice do you have for people transitioning?
Just do it and don’t think about it. There’s enough decent vegan cheese out there now. Also, be aware of the leather tags on the back of jeans!
What do you love about being vegan?
I feel noticeably more healthy and don’t go around ‘picking’ at food anymore. I might have saved a few animals on the way too.
Have you learnt any lessons/insights as a vegan that you didn’t before?
Animal products are put in things when there is absolutely no need, especially milk and eggs – there are also loads of accidental vegan foods like Pot Noodles! I also learnt more about the environmental issues surrounding mass animal agriculture and the realisation that we will probably all need to be vegan to survive on this planet
What is your favourite vegan snack?
What’s your go to meal when you don’t feel like cooking?
Baked beans with marmite mixed in, on crumpets, with a side of Smash potato
What’s a pantry staple you never go without?
Engevita nutritional yeast, tomato puree, garlic
“Battery hens live a cruel existence for the first year of their lives before they go to slaughter and end up in cheap meat-based foods (and takeaway meals). A small percentage get to experience daylight and freedom thanks to BHWT re-homing scheme so check it out, they make great pets. “
Do you take any supplements?
No I don’t.
Do you use any kind of superfoods?
Not on purpose but do eat a lot of dark green leaves.
What’s the biggest food – health realization you had? (for example you were not eating enough of a certain thing?)
I was eating far to much convenience food, since adopting a vegan diet I am eating far better and thinking more about what I put in body.
Has a vegan lifestyle led to any other changes in your life?
Yes – I now have a garden full of ex-battery hens and rescued Peeking Ducks, as well as a load of rescue cats
What’s your advice on handling social situations?
Don’t try and make excuses for what you eat and unless people ask why you are vegan. Don’t preach about it. When they do ask however, have a passionate response ready. People may be unresponsive at times and some may try to shoot you down. However, sometimes the information does get through and causes people to think.
How do you handle negative people?
I try to avoid them and not get into an argument – there will be no changing some people’s deeply rooted opinions so no point letting them frustrate you.
Were your friends and family supportive? Or did they take some time to come around?
No, all my friends and family were supportive, mainly because they all love my partner ;o)
How do you share your vegan lifestyle with others?
When people come over to stay with us, we serve them food that they wouldn’t even know was vegan
Quick Fire round
Fast food vegan or health focused vegan?
Meat alternative burger or veggie burger?
What’s your favorite vegetables?
Potatoes & Peas
What’s your least favorite vegetable?
Don’t have one, I’ll eat them all
Support all vegan goods or boycott non vegan parent companies? (Why?)
Support all food goods as they need to be encouraged to keep vegan products on the menu/shelves. Boycott any cosmetic/cleaning parent company that test any products/ingredients on animals – there is absolutely no need to do this!!
Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to draw attention to the British Hen Welfare Trust and all the volunteers who give up their weekends to help rescue battery hens from the farms all around the country. These animals live a cruel existence for the first year of their lives before they go to slaughter and end up in cheap meat-based foods (and takeaway meals). A small percentage get to experience daylight and freedom thanks to BHWT re-homing scheme so check it out, they make great pets.
Alex and his partner rescue hens from battery farming and give them a happy free life. If you are interested in rescuing a chicken (or two because they quite social animals) then contact email@example.com or you can contact Alex to get tips about keeping rescued hens. Contact him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org