Meet a Vegan: John Oberg

In our very first Meet a Vegan feature we talk to the man on a mission to bring to light the world of animal activism. Animal advocate, influencer and social media professional, John Oberg.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up with a big heart for familiar animals, like cats, dogs, deer, etc. About a decade ago, I learned how farm animals are treated. I knew that I would never do these horrible things to pigs, cows, or chickens myself, so I questioned why I would pay someone else to do these things on my behalf. So I went vegan. Quickly, however, I realized that any one of us can have an exponential impact for animals by encouraging others to stop eating animals. So, I became an activist.

At the end of December 2018 you left the Humane League and launched your own Patreon, can you tell us more about it?

I loved working for The Humane League and find them to be a very effective animal protection organization. Upon looking at the landscape of the animal rights movement, however, I decided that the best way I could further contribute and take the movement to the next level would be branching out in my own to strengthen activists’ ability to effectively harness the power of social media.

When did you go vegan and why?

I went vegan in October 2009 after watching the documentary Earthlings and learning how farm animals are treated. I had been vegetarian based on principle prior to that, but once learning the true horrors of factory farms — including what egg-laying hens and dairy cows experience — I decided to go fully vegan and become an activist.

What were the challenges you faced?

Fortunately, myself and the girl I was dating at the time decided to go vegan together, so I instantly had a great support system. And after freshly moving to Arizona from Detroit, I was able to join a friends group that were basically entirely made up of vegans. So the support I had was great, so I didn’t really face challenges. The reason I mention this is because a lack of community is one of the biggest reasons that potential vegans either fail or decide not to do it. That’s why I recommend making attempts to find community when going vegan in order to maximize the chances of you sticking with it.

“Lack of community is one of the biggest reasons that potential vegans either fail or decide not to do it.”

What was the reaction from family and friends?

My family was very supportive and my mom even went vegetarian shortly after I went vegan. My school friends and soccer friends (both almost exclusively non-vegan at the time) were cool with it, but I quickly discovered that the best practice was to let them ask me about it. If I brought it up too often, or made them feel judged, things would get sour real quick. The day I decided to only talk about veganism if they brought it up was a day that I became a happier, less-frustrated person, and the day that they began to become more curious about my veganism on their own. It was a win-win.

How would you say going vegan has benefited your life?

After going vegan, I feel a real weight off my shoulders. Not just in the physical ways that meat and dairy made me feel, but there is a true emotional weight that no longer weighs on my conscious. It is the best decision I ever made.

Do you feel you have changed much as a person?

Going vegan has absolutely changed me as a person. I have become more empathetic and understanding of the suffering of others. My behaviour is now truly aligned with the ethics that I already had. And at the end of every day, I can think back to the work I’ve done for animals and know that I’ve done my best for them.

“The hardest part about making a change isn’t the change itself — it’s getting the courage to actually go through with it.”

What advice do you have for men thinking of going vegan?

Just do it. The hardest part about making a change isn’t the change itself — it’s getting the courage to actually go through with it. The food is going to taste better than you think, finding the food (at grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) is going to be easier than you think, and the reaction from your friends and family will be way cooler than you think. Just do it.

What is your go-to vegan meal?

Vegan mac and cheese! I always use a variation of this recipe with different kinds of plant-based milks, cheeses, and meats. I’ve never been disappointed.

Anything else you would like to share?

I have found the power of social media to be an incredibly effective tool in inspiring others to create a better, kinder world for animals. That is why I launched my own project through Patreon, and would love your support.

https://www.johnoberg.org/

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