25 years vegan and counting. Sandy Miller on animal advocacy, southern hospitality, and running a vegan B&B

Sandy Miller with Hamish

Sandy Miller is the proprietor and host of The Cherokee Rose Inn (now serving only friends and family as of 2018), a delightful and cozy vegan bed and breakfast nestled in the Sunnyside neighborhood of inner Southeast Portland, Oregon. Sandy has been a vegan and animal welfare advocate for nearly 25 years and is an active member of Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants, a local grassroots organization whose mission it is to “end the captive breeding and halt the acquisition of elephants from the wild and free the elephants to sanctuary.” Sandy is the mother of a son and daughter who also live in Portland. She shares her home at the Inn with Hamish, an adorable, attention-seeking seven and a half year old American Eskimo dog, who she adopted from a shelter in San Jose, CA and Bill, a four year old black kitty who is a bit camera shy. She also has four parakeets she adopted from the Oregon Humane Society and Exotic Bird Rescue.

Cricket (CC): Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I wanted to interview you for a few reasons. One is that I think it’s really amazing that you have this beautiful vegan bed and breakfast and I wanted to get more insight into what inspired that. I also know you’ve been involved in animal rights activism for a good portion of your life, so I wanted to get to know more about you. I’ve talked with your daughter, Laura, and she said, “I think my mom is the most interesting person I know.”

Sandy (SM): Oh, no. Oh really… [Laughs]

The Cherokee Rose Inn
The Cherokee Rose Inn
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Is vegetarianism an animal-friendly diet?

I want to tread carefully here in attempting to shed more light on a durable and damaging myth. It is the myth that vegetarianism is a compassionate, animal-friendly way to eat. There are many who also think that vegetarianism and veganism are similar. Neither is true. Read More

Veganism is not a diet. And why that’s critically important.

Veganism is not a diet. If that is news to you, please read on. If you not only know this, but are tired of having to explain it to others, please read on. Because most pre-vegans — and even a lot of new vegans — don’t know, yet, and it’s critically important that we try to remedy that as quickly as possible.

My partner and I originally went vegan a few years ago for “health reasons.” We were part of the graduating class of Forks Over Knives vegan converts. I’d had very little exposure to veganism before that; a remarkable feat given I’d lived in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years at the time! I must have had some exposure to derogatory coverage of veganism, though, because we were careful to tell friends and family at the time to not worry, that “we’re not the crazy, militant vegans — we’re doing it for health reasons.” I think we felt at the time that we had to set our friends’ minds at ease that they didn’t have to worry about us judging or trying to convert them. In other words, we were treating veganism like a diet. Read More

Veganuary: An Interview with Andrew Warren

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Andrew Warren, January 16, 2016

It’s January 16th 2016 and I’m here with Andrew Warren — who happens to be my younger brother — and I’m interviewing him about his participation in Veganuary.

Is this your first time participating in Veganuary?  No, I did it last year as well. Last year was the first time I heard about it. I think I had the intention of not doing it this year, but then you came and visited for the holidays and you remotivated me. Read More

Connecting the Dots: How social justice advocacy led me to animal rights

snow-leopard

Photo courtesy Tambako the Jaguar

I was about nine or ten years old when I started reading Zoobooks magazine. It was a gift subscription from my grandma, Laverne. Zoobooks is a children’s magazine that explores the anatomy, habitat, social behavior and ecological role of a specific animal or animal group, or sometimes features categories like “baby animals” or “endangered species.” It was established in 1980 and is still in publication today.

I would eagerly await the magazine’s arrival each month and after reading the issue cover to cover, I would gently tear along the perforated lines to retrieve the centerfold poster and add it to the collection hanging on my bedroom wall.

I was fascinated with this whole world of amazing creatures that shared the planet with me. I was especially drawn to elephants and big cats and one of my most prized possessions at the time was a small, stuffed white snow leopard I got on a trip to Marine World with my family.

Beyond fascination, I felt genuine empathy and love toward animals — the way most children do. Read More

Vegan Majority News Survey: January 10, 2016

Howler monkeys

Photo courtesy Steve Hersey

About a dozen animal rights activists made their voices heard at the Pennsylvania Farm Show during PA Governor Tom Wolf’s opening ceremony speech. [1] The first vegan butcher shop in the U.S. will open in Minneapolis Jan. 23. [2] Jennifer Aniston said she is “riveted” by the vegan taco cleanse, saying “I can see that being something.” [3] Two chimpanzees have been returned to their captors following a 2-year legal battle to have them declared legal persons. [4] Philly.com published “15 reasons why 2016 could be the Year of the Vegan in Philly.” [5] The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a lawsuit against the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services over newly-released dietary guidelines. [6] PETA staff delivered vegan jerky to the armed “militiamen” occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, carrying signs that read “The End (of Animal Agriculture) Is Nigh: Get Out Now!” [7] Chef Chloe Coscarelli will open her second and third by CHLOE fast casual vegan restaurants in Manhattan in 2016, in a wave of “vegan dining on the rise in New York City.” [8] Read More

Choosing Compassion Over Fear

Many people are afraid to go vegan — for various reasons. They may wonder what they’ll eat, where they’ll get their calcium or protein — or whether they can give up cheese forever. Most often they’re afraid of what it will mean socially. What will their friends think? How will their relationships be impacted? Will people think they’re acting “high and mighty”? Will they stop being invited to parties and events? I’ve talked with people who were especially concerned about offending or inconveniencing others with their veganism. Wondering, for example, what would happen if they were offered non-vegan food and had to decline. How would their rejection land with the one who offered? Will they be seen as freaks or outcasts, or clueless beneficiaries of class privilege? These fears stop many would-be vegans in their tracks. Even after they learn the truth about the animal exploitation industries and the horrible torture and eventual killing of tens of billions of animals in the United States alone each year, many people are afraid to make what they recognize as an important change for good. Even if they know it’s the most compassionate thing to do — and even as their own values continually urge them to. Read More

A Note from the Editors

Welcome. We’re thrilled you’ve found us. Vegan Majority seeks to amplify the voice of the global vegan community at a time of perhaps unprecedented progress and hope — and also of nearly unfathomable greed, destruction and despair.

We will focus on the hope. Hope in the form of a burgeoning global community of vegans and those on their way to becoming vegan. Hope in the volume and reach of communication and conversation around animal rights and the importance of moving to a plant-based diet and away from the exploitation of and violence against animals. Hope in the expanding awareness that we already know how to end the worst problems plaguing humanity — and by extension, our non-human animal friends and neighbors: climate degradation, species extinction, poverty and starvation, the global health crisis, as well as violence and war.

We at Vegan Majority are inspired by and share the view of leading thinkers and activists like Will Tuttle, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and so many others who see both the growing compassion in the world and the community forming around that — as well as the unconscionable horrors being inflicted on non-human animals at an unfathomable scale by the animal exploitation industries, sanctioned by anachronistic cultural norms. While some may focus on the latter, we — like those who inspire us — choose the former. While we mourn every victim and are heartbroken at the sheer scale of the destruction, we recognize the current state of affairs for what it is: the last desperate efforts of a carnist culture in its death throes.

It is important to emphasize here that while Vegan Majority centers on living harmoniously with non-human animals and the planet, our values embody care and compassion for all living beings — including, of course, our fellow humans.

Our aim is to collaborate with our ever-growing community of contributors — which includes you — to amplify the message of hope and to inspire and support one another in taking action. Whether you read, comment on and share the stories you find here, submit pieces for publication or support our collaborative efforts in other ways, please join us.

We welcome personal stories, non-fiction, research pieces, creative non-fiction, short fiction, poetry, photography and other visual art. Look for submission guidelines soon. In the meantime, please spread the word — and join us.

Thank you –
Iris de Lis, Co-founder and editor
Cricket Casper, Co-founder and editor