Animal Rights Activist Profile: Kristy Todd
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
I started with animal rights activism before becoming vegan. I saw the injustice and suffering that happened to animals in the circus, so I joined protests to speak up for them. Those actions helped me awaken to the truth that I should be speaking out for all animals, not only those in the entertainment industry. Even further, that awareness opened me up to the connection that all sentient beings are equal and deserve love and compassion. It was with joy that I leapt into the life of a vegan. It is my value that being a vegan involves more than not consuming, exploiting, or wearing animals. It is an all-inclusive life, one that actively seeks out ways to ease the suffering of all beings. Knowing what tragic injustice and suffering there is for animals propelled me forward to look for more ways to speak out and fight for animals. This search for animal rights activism led me to Direct Action Everywhere. I saw videos from the Forum 2016 and my heart just burst with gratitude and purpose. I signed up and looked for a local chapter. A wonderful organizer welcomed me and shared the group’s next action. Although I was nervous, I knew this was my next step toward becoming an activist for animals. I was so moved by the heart and courage of the activists around me, speaking with such conviction and from a place of great compassion. I got hooked!
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
A favorite DxE moment of activism is the DxE Midwest Convergence last Fall! Dozens of activists marched into a local Costco with such courage, determination, and heart that it inspired me and surged my passion to do outreach to others. Leafletting at this large disruption allowed me to have meaningful connections with people witnessing our speak outs. Every connection with individuals has the potential to change their hearts and actions. Additionally, these actions hold up the mirror to the corporations that allow torture and killing of innocent animals. Our voices will not be silenced!
A moment of growth for me in my activism was my first speak out this year. I was honored to share this moment with my 8 year old son. We spoke out together as mother and son, condemning the humane lie of cage-free eggs. My community encouraged us and lifted us up, helping make the experience successful. We spoke out in a restaurant serving cage-free eggs. It was cathartic to share how I fell for that fallacy and that there is no such thing as humanely raised animals for food. I spoke about how lucky I was to be there with my son, as many mothers born different from me have their sons taken away from them. I used to be just like the families dining there that day. It was with great emotion to boldly share the truth with others. Seeing the reception of families and children was very powerful.
Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how does that influence your activism?
I currently participate in the DxE Outreach Group. Our mission is to promote participation with other AR, social justice (SJ) , and vegan groups near the Chicago area. This allows DxE to share our mission with other like-minded folks. Members of this group attend other AR and SJ protests, find opportunities to table at events, and host community events. We are in the midst of planning some fun activities this Spring/Summer, so stay tuned! I recently attended my first AR(t) Group with DxE. This is a wonderful opportunity to nurture creativity in each of us, expressing animal liberation through different art mediums. We collaborated together to assist an activist to create a music video, while others made individual art pieces. We are in the process of coordinating an AR art exhibit this summer in Chicago.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
It is easy to stay motivated when there is much work to be done for the animals! I follow the stories of Open Rescue animals like Scarlett. Open Rescue brings these stories to the world for people to see that animals are not commodities. Rather, they are living, feeling individuals just like those companion animals we were conditioned to see differently from childhood. I stay motivated by attending vigils at slaughterhouses here in Chicago. Seeing the animals you are speaking out for fuels your passion and determination. This also happens when visiting animal sanctuaries like Uplands PEAK Sanctuary or Wedrose Acres Animal Sanctuary. Lastly, I am motivated by my son, who has been raising his voice for animals since a very young age. His love and compassion inspire me to do everything I can.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
Find a AR community near you! The DxE Chicago Community has become another family for me, full of compassionate, like-minded people. They are so welcoming and encouraging, which is very helpful when you are finding your niche as an activist. If you do not have one, Direct Action Everywhere is a global community that you can stay connected with on ideas to speak out for animals.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Animals are the most oppressed group of sentient beings on the planet. The numbers for the United States alone are heartbreaking:
2 billion/year for food (The Humane Society of the US)
100 million/year from vivisection (PETA)
200 million/year for hunting (In Defense of Animals)
3-4 million/year in shelters (The Humane Society of the US)
Worldwide, 1 billion rabbits and 50 million foxes, seals, mink and dogs are killed for fur (Last Chance for Animals).
Animals are Earthlings, just as humans are. As sentient beings, we all deserve the same right to be free, to be happy, to share love, and to be with our families and friends. Most people have been conditioned to see animals other than this. As an activist for Animal Liberation, I will work within my local and global community to promote change against this oppression. Choose compassion!
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.