It took way too long for me to come round to Veganism! In 2012 I finally clicked after being vegetarian on and off since I was 14- and I haven’t looked back since. I was lucky then to have the opportunity to live on an animal sanctuary for the next 2 years, learning about and getting to know animals whom we call livestock- realising their individual, sensitive and hilarious personalities. For me having that contact with them and caring for them brought home all the realities of animal agriculture and the real suffering animals go through because of it. It’s unnecessary and it’s happening every day. To decide to not participate in contributing to that suffering, and in turn help to promote cruelty-free living, has liberated me more than I could have ever fathomed! I hope through being a part of VeganACT I can help spread the good vibes by ever learning and developing greater means of communicating and sharing the animal’s stories, in positive and lasting ways.

Ali (Treasurer)

From a young age I had always considered myself an animal lover. The more I discovered about the realities of the food industry, the more I realised that becoming vegan was the only choice that would align my lifestyle with my values.

Laila El Ayadi (Secretary)

I have been vegan since 2013, inspired by my husband who decided to make the change after being vegetarian for a number of years. I was completely ignorant and naive to animal agriculture and the process of animal food products, along with the health and environmental damage that is caused by these industries. I told my husband when he first transitioned to veganism “I will never go vegan” and I truly believed that. After learning extensively about the horrific industries that produce animal products that was enough for me to change my life. I became vegan for the animals, I’ve always had a soft spot for animals as most of us do, but I was blinded by social conditioning into believing the products that we eat and wear, and animal’s used for entertainment is normal and okay. Having learnt about all the other amazing benefits of a vegan lifestyle I am vegan for all these reasons now too. I’m very passionate about animal rights and enjoy being involved in activism and outreach experiences to plant seeds of compassion and raise awareness about how easy and wonderful it is to live a cruelty free and vegan life.

Kane Elson (IT Support)


What made you become Vegan?

I have been involved in environmental conservation and wildlife rescue from a young age. It took me a few years to seriously make the connection that the wildlife I was trying to save was really no different to the animals I was eating and using, albeit indirectly, on a daily basis. Living a vegan and sustainable lifestyle has made me a much happier and healthier person and has allowed me to meet so many amazing people through the thriving vegan and environmental community.

What is your favourite restaurant or cafe in the ACT?

Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant

What is your favourite vegan dish?

Anything with cilantro! Banh Mi, Tacos, you name it!

Who is your vegan hero?

Leonardo da Vinci

Image result for Leonardo da Vinci vegan

Rowena (Committee Delegate: Website, E-Updates & Pinterest)

Rowena Profile

Going vegetarian in 1996 was the best thing I had ever done until I went Vegan in February 2011 after reading the Why Veg? booklet.  I just wish I had seen the light earlier!  In mid 2012, I watched Earthlings (2005).  It strengthened my resolve and prompted me to write my very first song.  I also wrote another animal rights song called ‘Someone‘ which I entered in the UC Vision Song Contest.  I never cease to be amazed by the films that have come out that show that Veganism is so important from every angle.  There is Lucent (2014) for animals, Cowspiracy (2014) for the environment, and Forks Over Knives (2011) for health.  Though I am taking a break from the committee itself, I am very glad to have created this website for Vegan ACT to help people make kinder, greener choices and live happier, healthier lives (as shown in the joyful song ‘Wha Me Eat’ by Macka B).

Tracey Lofthouse (Living Green Festival Liaison)

Tracey Lofthouse (Newsletter)

I went vegan in May 2008 and prior to that was vegetarian for 16 years.  I just love being vegan and only wish I’d done it much sooner. As a vegetarian I thought I was doing the best I could for the victims of agribusiness but once I found out about the dairy and egg industries I realised the truth. Now, the sense of community with like-minded people and the connection with all beings is indescribably wonderful. I’ve tried many delightful new foods and had a lot of great experiences with lovely people since becoming vegan. Being vegan is easy, but getting easier all the time and I love to help support new vegans in learning, and experimenting with recipes.

I love the fact that my life choices do not support a cruel and oppressive culture of breeding non-humans for exploitation by humans, and as a bonus my choices are far better for the environment. My health is great as well, but for me the animal rights and anti-cruelty stance is paramount.

I enjoy singing, martial arts, travelling and spending time in nature and hanging out with friends. I co-founded and continue to help organise Canberra’s own vegan festival, the Living Green Festival, held in Canberra every October.

Michelle Swann (Contact, Public Officer, and Coordinator)

Michelle Swann

I committed to veganism in January 2014 alongside my partner Gareth, after a harrowing period of discovery concerning the animal product industry. For the last few years we had been attempting to eliminate products sold by unethical companies from our shopping list with the help of the Shop Ethical guide (a very enlightening publication/app). One fateful day we read about the short, horrific lives of bobby calves, and probably a week later our plates were free from animal products, after more probing into the world of animals who are considered commodities. Looking back it’s clear that the path we were choosing was leading to veganism, we just didn’t know it at the time. I never experienced anyone wanting to discuss the reasons to choose a vegan diet, which leaves me convinced that there would be so many more people willing to change their habits, if only they knew the repercussions of their choices for animals and the bounty of options available for vegans. Becoming vegan has been so easy, rewarding, life-affirming and delicious. I’ve never felt greater purpose, or felt better looking an animal in the eye.
I can’t wait to introduce veganism to others, and find ways to make it easier for people to change for the better

Gareth (Membership Officer and Support)

My partner Michelle and I became vegan in January of 2014. We had initially got into the ethics through everyday shopping and taking an interest in where our money was going because of our purchases. Then after reading about the practices in farms and slaughterhouses, it was clear that there was no ethical way to pursue an animal based diet.

One moment of clarity that stands out to me was reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals,’ and basically being asked what it is that makes a domestic pet any more deserving of respect than a farm animal. As a lifelong animal lover, the lack of distinction was deeply troubling.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and with the huge amount great vegan cookbooks and websites available I’ve had so many new and delightful experiences. I couldn’t imagine ever running out of inspiration. I really enjoy showing others how tasty and nutritious vegan food can be.
I’ve never felt so at peace with myself, and look forward to showing people how easy, fulfilling (and yummy) it is to live without animal products.