Partner Spotlight |
Animal Climate and Health Save Foundation

Aprajita Ashish

Director | Animal Climate and Health Save Foundation
Interviewed By: Nidhi Gupta

In this interview, Aprajita Ashish discusses her dedication to animal welfare and her journey towards veganism. She shares her personal experiences, highlighting how witnessing animal cruelty firsthand fueled her commitment to fight against animal oppression and advocate for a more compassionate world.

The interview explores the various initiatives led by Animal Climate and Health Save Foundation, an organisation that focuses on promoting veganism, environmental sustainability, and public health. Aprajita explains key programmes, such as the Plant Based Culinary Transformation Course and collaborations with UNICEF, designed to educate and inspire change. She also emphasises the importance of the Plant Based Treaty, a global campaign aiming to revolutionise food systems to address climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity loss.

Through her leadership, Aprajita explains how collective action can drive impactful change against animal cruelty.

Nidhi: What inspired your journey into animal rights and veganism? How did your personal experiences shape your activism and leadership within Animal, Climate and Health Save India?

Aprajita: My journey to animal rights and veganism comes from seeing how all types of injustices are interconnected. Oppression doesn’t happen in isolation, we have to fight against all types of oppression. My journey towards veganism began when I saw a video, exposing the cruelty of the dairy industry. Seeing the suffering of animals made me realise I had to do something to fight for their rights. Since then, I’ve been dedicated to speaking out for animals through my work with Animal, Climate, and Health Save India. I believe animals deserve better, and I’m committed to making a difference for them every day.

Nidhi: How has your personal journey influenced your approach to leading the organisation today? Are there any specific values or principles that guide your work and decision-making as the director?

Aprajita: My personal journey as a student of social work and counselling has influenced my approach to leading the organisation today. Having witnessed the pain and suffering of animals up close, particularly through attending vigils and witnessing animal slaughter, I carry a sense of responsibility to speak out about animals in suffering.

I am fortunate to have a supportive partner who stands by my side, providing encouragement and strength. Additionally, I am grateful for the incredible team that surrounds me, always ready and willing to take action.

Nidhi: As the director, could you describe some of the key initiatives or projects/ programmes that you’ve led? Our readers would love to learn about the impact these initiatives had on promoting veganism and advocacy.

Aprajita: Along with my team, I’ve led several projects to promote veganism and advocacy. For example, we, along with Vegan Travel Asia, and VegVoyages, created a course, named Plant Based Culinary Transformation Course, to teach people about plant based transformation. We also work with UNICEF to provide young people internships to learn about veganism and sustainability.

Along with my team, and UNICEF India, we organised the World’s First Vegan Conference of Youth in Odisha, which was covered by various news channels. I’ve represented our organisation at various international conferences and platforms to spread our message, such as COP27, COP28, Vegan Conference at Nepal, and Indonesia.

Nidhi: When you say that it’s crucial for individuals to adopt a vegan lifestyle, can you elaborate how veganism contributes to addressing issues such as animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and public health concerns?

Aprajita: Firstly, it directly tackles animal cruelty by eliminating the demand for animal products, thus reducing the suffering of animals in the food industry.

Secondly, veganism plays a significant role in mitigating environmental degradation. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. By shifting to plant-based diets, we reduce the pressure on natural resources and lessen our carbon footprint. And veganism has positive implications for public health. Plant-based diets are often associated with lower risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Overall, adopting a vegan lifestyle promotes compassion towards animals, reduces environmental harm, and supports healthier living for individuals and communities.

Nidhi: The Plant Based Treaty outlined by Animal Save India aims to revolutionise food systems for a sustainable future. Can you explain why this treaty is necessary?

Aprajita: The Plant Based Treaty, initiated by The Save Movement, is a global campaign, and is crucial due to the severe impacts of animal agriculture on our environment. Animal agriculture not only contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions but also drives deforestation, biodiversity loss, and pollution. By promoting plant-based solutions, the treaty aims to reduce emissions, protect ecosystems, and safeguard public health.

Just like the Paris Agreement, the Plant Based Treaty acknowledges the need for global cooperation to tackle this urgent crisis. With a focus on relinquishing harmful practices, redirecting resources, and restoring ecosystems, the treaty offers a comprehensive approach to mitigating climate change and its associated risks. In India, it is endorsed by 15 mayors, and several members of parliament, ministers and also many celebrities in India and around the world.

Nidhi: Apart from the Plant Based Treaty, what are some other initiatives or campaigns that Animal Save India is currently focusing on? What are the overarching goals of those campaigns?

Aprajita: In addition to the Plant Based Treaty, Animal Save Climate and Health Save India is actively involved in several other campaigns. We’re screening the powerful documentary “Maa Ka Doodh” nationwide, reaching over 20,000 individuals in cities across India.

Our Plant Based Culinary Transformation Course, designed for individuals and culinary teaching professionals, aligns with more than 8 out of the 18 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We also organise events like the National Animal Rights Day and weekly activities to further our mission.

Nidhi: Lastly, if there’s one message you’d like to convey on the importance of collective action towards a more compassionate and sustainable world, what would it be?

Aprajita: When we unite for animal liberation, our collective voices become stronger, making a tangible impact. At the same time making sure that our space is safe for all people who join us in this movement which also should be diverse & inclusive.

For example, when we, at Animal Climate and Health Save India, worked on the Livestock bill campaign, over 200,000 people joined us and emailed the government, through the easy click to email link created by our team. Later the government withdrew the bill. This highlights the power of collective action.

I encourage you to join us, and let’s together end animal sufferings, transform our food systems, and help fight climate change.