In 2016, a small group of 20 people met with the goal of inspiring compassionate living in Singapore. Within the first months, they had decided on a new name: Animal Allies and started new projects. Fast forward to today, they have grown to over 100 volunteers and have reached thousands through their advocacy.
In Animal Allies, leadership is encouraged as volunteers decide for themselves how much and when they can contribute. Opportunities, resources and connections are readily available for volunteers, whether they are first-timers looking for a place to start or old veterans looking to step up their activism game. For example, they can join the teams working on existing projects such as EarthFest and social media, take up collaborative projects proposed by other members, or initiate their own projects. This self-motivating volunteering spirit in Animal Allies is what makes volunteering in Animal Allies so meaningful and inspiring. Almost every week, you will see the Allies proudly donning bright orange shirts with the white Animal Allies badge, eagerly advocating the cause to the public. If not, you can be sure that something exciting is brewing behind the scenes.
On Animal Allies’ website, those interested in a vegan lifestyle can find a plenty of resources. For those curious about the ‘whys’ of veganism, the documentaries, recorded talks and starter kits, offer an insight into the moral, health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. The dining, shopping and recipe guides are great (or essential) resources for those easing into the lifestyle. The eating out guide, might just be the most extensive Singapore vegan food guide you can find on the internet. Diligently updated by keyboard heroes who correspond tirelessly with F&B businesses to enquire about new items on their menus, the guide makes a dining out vegan fuss-free and exciting. (My aunt told me that she used the guide to buy vegan breads from Duke Bakery for me whenever I go over hah.) More recently, a F&B business starter kit has been put together to help local restaurants venture into plant based food business or include more vegan options. In the starter kit, restaurants can find the contact details of vegan food suppliers and even tips on naming the dishes. Students who want to start green movements in their schools can also find useful advices and support on the website.
For many people, volunteering at public events can be frightening. With Animal Allies, public outreach is always fun! Delicious vegan cakes and cookies baked with love by volunteer bakers are usually given out as a conversation starter (or sometimes they bring out a smoothie bike!) The public can learn about the ethical, health, and environmental implications of consuming animal products through the interactive games and virtual reality experience. Partner businesses like LUSH who share Animal Allies’ vision for a more animal-friendly world, help Animal Allies spread its cause by providing the space and opportunity to public outreach.
Animal Allies celebrates diversity and seeks to support intersectional efforts. One of Animal Allies’ key volunteering agreements is to focus on what unites the group, instead of differences. Being vegan can get difficult and lonely at times especially in social situations revolving around food. Having an inclusive community like Animal Allies to turn to is a great comfort. The regular potlucks and work meetings provide the vegan community a platform to come together to share food and ideas, make friends, and inspire one another. Animal allies also organises a few animal sanctuary trips to Johor Bahru throughout the year. These trips are open to the public and allow people the rare opportunity to interact and connect with rescued farm animals, and help support the sanctuaries in the amazing work that they people do.
Many new initiatives are on the horizon as new people join and the movement grows stronger. Animal Allies is also officially part of the charity Centre for a Responsible Future, which works to expand responsible living.
Written by: Xi Zhi Low
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For more information, head over to http://AnimalAllies.sg and follow them on Facebook at AnimalAlliesSG.