Interviews with Vegetarian/Vegan Activists
Interview with the Founders of www.all-creatures.org
Frank and Mary Hoffman (firstname.lastname@example.org) are long-term vegetarian activists. Among their contributions is the founding of the website: http://www.all-creatures.org They kindly agreed to answer some questions for IVU Online News.
How and when did you become vegetarians?
Our journey began over thirty years ago for reasons of compassion. The first animal product we dropped from our d diet was veal, and it progressed from there until we finally became vegan about twenty years ago.
What kind of vegetarians are you?
We are totally vegetarian and live a vegan lifestyle to the fullest extent we possibly can.
What is your favourite vegetarian food?
We suppose it's almost all of them, though we rarely eat processed foods and stay away from meat analogues. If you look at the recipe section of our web site www.all-creatures.org/recipes.html you'll get a better idea of the wide variety of foods that we eat. As an example, yesterday we had barbequed portabella mushroom burgers on home made spelt rolls. Almost every morning we have either a veggie or fruit smoothie. Earlier this week we had a curried kale dish served over brown basmati rice, and when the local farm store had their early spring spinach, we made it into a Greek style recipe with onions and rice, as well as putting the raw spinach on our tossed salads, which we eat every day.
When and why did you set up your foundation: The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation?
We set up our foundation in 1997 as a charitable organization, as a way of gaining the maximum advantageous use of our money and to make any donations tax deductible.
Religion seems to be a big part of what you do. How do people react who like one part of your message - either the religion part or the vegetarian part - but not the other?
The people to whom you are referring seem to amount to less than ten percent of our web site visitors, based upon the email that we receive. One of the first hurdles we faced, when we first started, was to convince animal rights activists that Christians could be compassionate animal rights vegans. Now they come to us for help and assistance, so this hurdle has been crossed. And today, most people thank us for not being "afraid" to show God's presence in our animal rights and vegan presentations. We do, however, get an occasional person writing to us about not including our religious comments, but when we explain that a major portion of our ministry is trying to reach the churches, they seem to accept it.
The people who seem to have the biggest problem with our website ministry are the so-called "born again Christians" who believe that they have a God-given right to kill and/or eat any animal, and they don't think our ministry is truly Christian.
What are the main functions of your foundation?
There are three major objectives in our Mission and Purpose:
To promote through education the prevention of cruelty to any of God's creatures, human or otherwise, including, but not limited to, medical research and testing using animals and the use of animals or animal products for food, commercial purposes or otherwise.
To support organizations which have similar goals of preventing any harm to any of God's creatures, human or otherwise, or to the environment. (We currently host and maintain the web sites of over 30 other organizations from all over the world.)
To provide an Internet Archival Library (www.all-creatures.org) of educational materials to assist both teachers and students in the furtherance of cruelty-free living.
We also direct a large portion of our ministry to trying to "wake up" most religious organizations to the fact that we are to be loving, compassionate, and peacemaking stewards of the whole of God's creation (humans, other animals, and the environment in which we all live), and that we must end our warring madness and destruction.
What is the most popular page on your website?
We are averaging over 900,000 hits a day, and since we have over 37,000 pages on our website, their popularity varies from day to day and week to week. We believe it is more meaningful to talk about the most popular sections. In order of their more historic popularity, they are:
- Animal Exploitation Photo Journals
- Nature Studies
- Animal Animations
How is being a vegetarian activist different now than it was 10 years ago?
For us personally, we are much more heavily involved. From a global perspective, the Internet has opened doors that were never available before, and has allowed us instantaneous contact with millions of people.
Do you both do this work full-time? How do you get the money needed to run the foundation?
Yes, we both do this full-time as unpaid volunteers. Most of the funding for our Foundations work has been coming from us, but we have also have given some assistance to other organizations (not the ones we host), and they have made donations. We also get a few donations from individuals.
What is one practical idea that you would like to share with other vegetarian activists?
Live the vegetarian lifestyle that you believe in by eating a healthful whole food diet and by being a good credible witness before others, and do not be afraid to speak out in a peaceful and polite manner about why you live as you do and why it is good for us, for the animals, and for the environment.