Rachel Hipp

Published on:

July 5, 2017

Animal Rights Activist Profile: That Vegan Activist Family

Mike, Kayla, Landon & Rilee-Paige Leaming

Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and/or join DxE?

Mike: What inspired me to join DxE was a speech by Wayne about social change. That speech motivated me to start doing disruptions.

Kayla: I was inspired to be an activist when I learned about the horrible treatment of all animals. I was inspired to be a part of DxE when I watched the amount of passion and bravery it takes to go out there and speak up for the animals, even when it's hard. I immediately wanted to be a part of this movement!

Landon: Smash HLS inspired me to be an activist. We yelled alot there and I loved it! Then we went to DxE and it was so awesome! Now I help organize the Orlando chapter.

Rilee-Paige: The first time I went to DxE Pinellas, I wanted to do more.

Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?

Mike: My most accomplished moment as an activist was seeing my kids have the courage to speak out at the FWC meeting against bear hunting, in a room full of 250 hunters. With their courage and all the other activists, we were able to stop bear hunting for 2 years in Florida.

Kayla: My biggest accomplishment as an animal rights activist is all the animals I have been able to save with my family. Being able to see an animal go from sick and dying to happy and healthy is an amzing exprience, and that is what gives me the courage to go and speak out in front of crowds of people.

Landon: Saving all the lives we have is what I'm most proud of. We've saved 2 pigs, 8 chickens, 1 guinea pig, and 1 dog!

Rilee-Paige: My favorite part of activism, was saving our pit bull, Lexi, from the pound.

Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how do they influence your activism?

Group: Were currently not part of a working group, but we have talked about starting a family working group! We are trying to bring kids and families together, and hopefully inspire the younger generation to fight for animal rights!  We would love to one day open a family activist house in Berkeley!

Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?

Mike: Every time I bear witness to a slaughter truck or an animal in need, it makes me want to save more of them, and shut these industries down.

Kayla: The motivation is everywhere. There are so many animals in need all around me that motivate me to help them. The passion of other activists motivates me, and knowing that every second of every day animals are dying makes me want to do everything that I can to help them!

Landon: When I go to these dairy and egg farms, I want to make it stop. And all the other abuse happening to animals makes me want to save more lives.

Rilee-Paige: Saving lives makes me want to save more lives, and DxE events make me want to do more DxE events!

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

Mike: Everybody gets nervous and scared, it's what you do with that fear that makes a difference.

Kayla: Don't worry, you're going to do great! I was super nervous at my first action, I still get nervous, but as soon as it starts that goes away. When it's over, you're going to want to do another one!

Landon: Everyone is nervous their first time, you're not the only one! It is ok because we support you.

Rilee-Paige: I've done a bunch of protests and they've all been good! I was nervous on my first one, but now I want to do it again and again.

Q: Why animal liberation?

Mike: Without animal liberation there will never be human liberation. It is the single biggest injustice in the world.

Kayla: I speak out for animals, because animal abuse is the most normalized violence in the world. These animals are amazing individuals and they deserve a life with their families, free from harm. Thousands of animals are dying every second world wide, and I feel like its my moral obligation to do everything I can to save them. I love them too much not to fight for them

Landon: The animals are being treated so cruel and they're living in really bad enviroments. It's just horrible.

Rilee-Paige: Animal liberation because every animal needs our help. Every single animal is dying.

Q: Tell us about your recent rescue of two hens outside of a slaughterhouse.

Group: On July 3, 2017 Organizers from Okeechobee Animal Save, Orlando Animal Save, DxE Orlando, and DxE Pinellas, along with many volunteers, got together for Tampa Animal Save's first Vigil. It was a very successful vigil, and a day full of emotions. We were at Musa Slaughterhouse, in Tampa Fl. When we fist got there we witnessed goats, young and old, being held in a filthy holding pen, along with pigeons, chickens, sheep, and cows. Somehow during the protest, 4 Hens and 1 Rooster made it out of the holding pen, and into the parking lot. We all sat outside the fence trying to get the chickens to come out of the fence to safety. We spent 3 hours in the sun, trying to get these terrified chickens to trust us. They kept running out of the fence, but as soon as we got close to them, they would run back inside. Eventually, we were able to rescue our first girl and took her to safety! She was dehydrated and hungry. Her first snack was a banana and she LOVED it, so we named her Nana! About 20 minutes later, our second girl was liberated. The DxE pinellas organizer, named her Nydia because it means safe place. They are now living a life, free from harm at a sanctuary!

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media. 
  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.