In August of 2019, Anjalie Gowda became vegan overnight. She was casually scrolling through YouTube when she clicked on a video that changed her life forever. It was titled The hardest part about my pregnancy, and it was the last thing anyone would expect.
Human pregnancy is seen as so precious and beautiful, but eyes glued to her phone screen, Anjalie learned that the bodies of female cows in the dairy industry are severely abused and exploited before, during, and after pregnancy. Anjalie watched as clips of newborn calves being dragged and stolen from their mothers filled her screen. She heard mothers cry to their babies, aching to reunite with them. But they never did. Instead, she saw those gentle mothers being forcibly impregnated year after year, always giving birth to a baby they would never know. All of this for a glass of milk. And, this footage was from a farm that supplied milk to Fairlife, a company that was committed to “zero tolerance of animal abuse” and was proudly labeled as ‘humane’. Anjalie realized she could never trust labels again, and if this was happening on a so-called ‘humane’ farm, what could be happening behind the closed gates of dairy industry factory farms? Anjalie’s mind went back to the cows. She imagined the trauma of a young child being stolen from their mother and a mother losing her baby, picturing this horror happening to herself and her mother. Of course, she knew she would never fully be able to understand the suffering felt by those sensitive animals. The horrific exploitation of the female body that dairy cows knew all too well. Although she could never come close to understanding the depth of their pain, she immediately saw there was something she could do about it. She didn’t have to contribute to such abuse anymore. Anjalie was a huge fan of all things meat, but in that moment her taste buds were not even an afterthought. Nothing mattered to her more than stopping the atrocities playing out on her screen. She knew there was no reason why her sensory pleasures were more important than the lives of another being.
Anjalie had always considered herself a huge animal lover, but she realized that there was no way she could claim to love animals while being a part of their mass murder and exploitation. She realized that loving animals does not just mean finding pleasure in them, but respecting them, and refusing to take from their bodies when we don’t have to. Loving anything means you care for their well-being, and how could she do that if she was supporting ripping apart their families and paying someone to slit their throats?
Soon after, Anjalie realized she could make an impact not only by being vegan, but speaking as a voice for animals, in unison with their own, which have been crying and calling for decades.
Along the way, Anjalie learned also of the devastating impact of today’s animal farming on the climate. The core for her in vegan activism will always be the animals, but she is finding that keeping their bodies off of our plates does a world of good for us all. In early 2021, Anjalie created her Instagram page where she advocates for animals who are used for food, fashion, entertainment, or commodified in any way by humans. She also put together this website, where she shares her favorite vegan recipes, lifestyle tips, and articles discussing the ethics of veganism.
Anjalie is constantly exploring more of animal agriculture and is working towards expanding her reach to create a world where our values are in alignment with our actions and animals are recognized as being just as deserving of a full life under their autonomy as any of us humans.