While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, NZ Vegan Podcast, I was amazed at the solid, logical sound of a very young man, 13 years old at the time, who was on fire for animal rights and veganism. Not only was he intelligent and well-spoken, he was doing something about the injustice he was witnessing. Sam Tucker is that young man, now 14, and he is already an enterpreneur (having owned a tee-shirt business), a radio host (Food for Thought), a public speaker (at Animal Rights assemblies and on podcasts), and a successful animal rights advocate. He is also a snowboarder and a musician. Sam, as you can tell, does not let any moss grow under his feet. He is part of a growing number of young people who are making enormous contributions to changing the way people think about animals, about food, and about the earth. Below is a recent interview done with Sam:When did you start to realize what was wrong with the way animals are being treated? When did you go vegan and why? It all started when I read a book called Man vs. Beast by Robert Muchamore. It was a fictional book about vegan terrorists and one activist described the inside of a battery farm; I was horrified. I thought to myself, surely it can’t be that bad in real life. So I did some research and found out that it was that bad. I immediately stopped eating battery eggs and started eating less factory farmed products. Eventually I decided that, regardless of how well treated, it is wrong to kill an animal simply because you like how they taste. So I went vegetarian. As soon as I learned about the horrors of all the other animal industries, I decided to go vegan. It is only in the last few months that I’ve learned about the abolitionist approach to animal rights.
Do you have many vegan associates where you live?
I think in total there are less vegans in New Zealand than other places, but I do know several nearby and I am on an email chatroom with about 120 local vegans.
What are your academic interests? Where do you see this leading you?
My favorite subjects are English, Business Studies and Social Studies. I would love to get involved with things like political science, sociology and philosophy. One day I would like to set up a vegan/fair trade business or do marketing and graphic design. I would also like to teach philosophy, especially ethical philosophy.
Who do you admire or look up to? Who is the example you most want to follow, in your family or in the movement?
Vincent Guihan, Gary Francione, Elizabeth Collins, Jordan Wyatt and Roger Yates, among many more.
Yes. I live with heaps of nonhumans! Two dogs, two cats, two goats (both rescued from a milk farm), a lamb (rescued from a meat farm), a horse and ten ex-battery hens. In particular my relationships with my dog Lucy and my lamb Daffy (have impacted me). I have always recognized cats and dogs as moral persons because of Lucy, but I only started recognizing farm animals as moral persons because of my relationship with Daffy. She was originally being raised to be slaughtered and eaten and the more I interacted with her, the more I realized that it is wrong to exploit and kill animals like her.
What are your hopes for the future for animals? For yourself?
I hope that animal exploitation and their status as property will be made illegal. Obviously, that is a long way from where we are now, but I think it is definitely a possible goal to aim toward. In the more immediate future, we need as many ethical vegans as possible. The more vegans we have, the less animals are exploited. For myself, I hope to become a more effective advocate and convince as many people to go vegan as possible. Before vegans have any political power, we need to increase our numbers.
What would you recommend to anyone wanting to make a difference in the lives of animals?
First, go vegan. The only way to stop animal exploitation is to stop contributing to it. If you are already vegan, then help others go and stay vegan through nonviolent, creative vegan advocacy. Whether that is a podcast, an information stall, a blog, a website, leafleting, street art, food giveaways, or anything else, the most important thing is that you are promoting veganism and the abolition of animal exploitation.
Be sure to check out Food for Thought, Sam’s radio show. Personally, I can hardly wait to see what Sam is doing at twenty-five!