Chrissy Leyland

I went vegan for a month when I was 15. Going vegan seemed like a big step and having a goal of one month made it seem more achievable.

Once I started it was so much easier than I thought it would be and 25 years later I am still vegan!

I was one of the founders of Pogo Café, a vegan workers co-operative and of London Vegan Campaigns. As part of this grass roots group I helped to organise many successful events such as free vegan food fairs, inspired by the late Neil Lee and Mary Brady, and the London Vegan Pledge.

In 2007 I read a newspaper article by a journalist who went vegan for a month, and decided to stay vegan. This reminded me of how I started on my vegan journey. I thought, surely if we encourage others to go vegan for a month they would see how easy it is – even easier now than when I went vegan. Thus the annual London Vegan Pledge was born in 2008, attracting about 70 participants in recent years.

I have recently relocated to Holmfirth in West Yorkshire and teamed up with another former London Vegan Campaigns organiser, Kelly Slade to form the Vegan Approach. I also run a local group, Huddersfield Vegans, and am a school speaker for Animal Aid. I live in a totally vegan household with my partner Paul, son Zak, father-in-law, carer and 3 cats!

Kelly Slade

Since a young age I was always interested in the welfare of animals, but it wasn’t until I was 18 when I decided to go vegetarian. I never liked the taste of meat and was always uncomfortable eating anything that looked like a piece of flesh so going vegetarian was easy. I carried on wearing some of my old leather shoes and coats, but soon decided to replace them with animal-friendly versions. I had only been vegetarian for around 6 months when I decided to start reading more about the dairy and egg industries. Around this time, I was also formulating my own ideas about society and how we exploit and use animals for our own gains. I already had an empathy with animals and realised that if I didn’t want to contribute to the suffering of any animals then I needed to go vegan. I have now been vegan 16 years and I can honestly say it was the best and most important decision that I have ever and will ever make in my life. I only wish I had done it sooner.

Since I became vegan I have been involved with my local animal rights group and helped to organise demos against industries involved in the exploitation of animals. I joined London Vegan Campaigns and helped with food fairs, free food stalls and was one of the main organisers of the London Vegan Pledge. I also helped to organsie the London Vegan Festival.

Until recently I was employed at Animal Aid as a senior campaigns officer working on their vegan projects. I now live in Sheffield where I have helped to set up the Sheffield Vegan Meetup group and the Vegan Approach. I am also one of the organisers of the Northern Vegan Festival. I live with my partner Jamie and two rescued dogs George and Gina who are all vegan too.