Young Activist Creates Animal Freedom Day
This blog is posted on behalf of Nadia Masoudi, an activist and filmmaker.
I have always been surrounded and exposed to different animals in my life. Maybe that is why I am who I am today. The key to true success and happiness is compassion. Compassion has taught me so many different life lessons and peaceful attributes to a selfless way of life.
I became a vegetarian at the age of 12. Before that my father always had different animals around the house — parrots, dogs, cats and other animals we would save together if we found one injured or orphaned. Despite being exposed to the presence and companions of different pets, we still ate plenty of meat. By the time I reached 12, I realized that what I was doing was wrong. I couldn’t continue to eat animals if I loved them so much. I couldn’t continue to choose one animal over the other, as so many
people still do. I did the right thing and stopped consuming meat.
As time passed I learned more about the cruelties of factory farming. I researched about dairy cows and egg-laying hens. I had no idea what those animals had to undergo to produce. Their deplorable treatment hastened me to make the switch at age 16 from vegetarian to vegan.
I also grew up exposed to the film and television industry. My father had produced many different music videos, commercials and even his own feature-length film. I knew how to edit videos, and I was very tech-savvy for my age. It is then that my dad suggested the idea of making an animal-rights documentary to pursue my dream of informing other people about animal rights and veganism, without seeming preachy. The idea of “Don’t Eat Me” was born.
I began to write a synopsis and generate a website for the film. I was 17 at the time, so I figured making a documentary at such a young age could take me one of two ways; it could either benefit my chances of being taken seriously or jeopardize them. After having everything sorted out for the film, I contacted different individuals, organizations and celebrities. I was ecstatic to find out that many of them agreed to come on board and be involved with the documentary since they supported my cause.
My dad and I decided that Don’t Eat Me should be a unique animal-rights documentary, compared to the rest. We decided to add a story component to the film, featuring different personalities for each animal character. This was all shot in various parts of the world, including South America, the Middle East, North America, etc. I met with tons of different people to get their viewpoints about the ethical dilemmas of eating meat.
While making the film, it was decided that a climactic moment for Don’t Eat Me needed to be added to give more depth to the story. I thought it would be a great idea to create a day that people can participate in and come together to free animals. Animal Freedom Day introduces society to a way that eases in a vegan lifestyle. Each consecutive year a day is added for people to go meat-free. Therefore, 365 years down the line individuals (hopefully) will have gone vegan for at least a year.
The first Animal Freedom Day was held on July 24th 2010. It was a huge online and international success. More than 30 countries and thousands of people from around the world took part. This year Animal Freedom Day takes place on July 23rd and 24th. We have an online webcast once again taking place, featuring different musicians, artists, guest speakers and tons of other enjoyable content.
It seems that with social media a revolution comes forth, for example with the crisis in the Middle East. Animal Freedom Day is that revolution the world needs.
My journey has been interesting for sure, but there is so much more to do. I am currently writing a book detailing my voyage, which will include all the funny, heart-breaking and memorable moments that have happened in creating the film. I may be young in age, but my heart and passion says and does otherwise.
For more information on Animal Freedom Day please visit the homepage.