HAPPI is what it says on the tin, a positive group of people based in and around Harrogate, who are supportive of a better place for humans, animals and the planet. Veganism has appeared in the press a lot recently, linked with celebrities who are adopting a plant based diet for health reasons, but also heralded by conservationists and even mindful celebrity chefs (Jamie Oliver for starters) as the only way that we humans will endure sustainably on planet earth. First and foremost though, veganism is about non-violence towards animals, and this is why the expression was coined by Donald Watson, co-founder of the Vegan Society, in the 1940s, referring to it as “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals”.

We happen to feel that veganism fits really well within the HAPPI ethic, because it is the only consciouis dietary choice that benefits humans, animals and the planet all at the same time. If the food that is grown to feed meat and dairy animals were fed directly to humans then there would be more than enough food to go around on planet earth. Meat and dairy is perhaps the most energy inefficient and carbon intensive industry in existence, not to mention the acres of rainforest that are razed each day to supply the 80% of all soya produced that goes into this industry. Veganism is kind to humans in other ways: a well balanced vegan diet is one of the healthiest; bursting with vegetables, grains and legumes, plant based diets have been linked with lowering the risk of several types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The meat and dairy also industries have one of the highest rates of employee injuries, depression and suicide.

And then of course there is the sad abuse of animals that continues in slaughterhouses, cattle markets and dairy farms around the world (many people forget that in order to produce dairy, calves must be repeatedly taken away from their mothers, usually slaughtered at only a few days old). If anyone can watch 5 minutes of slaughterhouse footage and keep a smile on their face, then I will happily watch a field full of strawberries blowing in the wind for the same amount of time! According to United Nations food and agriculture organization (FAO), 30% of the earth’s inhabitable surface is used for feeding farm animals. Now couldn’t we be putting that to better use for us, the animals and the planet? HAPPI vegans = HAPPI everyone. Making Harrogate a more vegan-friendly and HAPPIer place!