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Interview with PETA. Mimi Bekhechi.Vice President for UK, Australia, and Europe.

Our magazine's vision and mission is to offer information to our readers that is aligned with such important values as respect for ourselves as complete and spiritual beings, and therefore, also for the lives of other sentient living beings on earth. PETA has a very important track record and work, with millions of followers around the world. We still have to be more, and become aware of the unacceptable suffering that humans cause to animals.

Mimi Bekhechi, Vice President for the UK, Australia, and Europe has given us an interview, to explain what PETA does and how it is supporting the "cruelty-free" movement.

V&M M. Some of the V&M readers know very well about PETA and its history. But some maybe not. Can you explain your history and background to them? Who were the founders and their inspiration, vision and mission?

Mimi Bekhechi. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an organization dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. The first PETA entity, PETA US, was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk.

Like humans, other animals are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives. They are not ours to use – for experimentation, food, clothing, entertainment, or any other reason. PETA entities around the world inform policymakers and the public about cruelty to animals and promote understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect.

PETA entities around the world inform policymakers and the public about cruelty to animals and promote understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect.

Mimi Bekhechi: "Animals are not ours to use – for experimentation, food, clothing, entertainment, or any other reason"

V&M M. How is PETA helping presently our society to become aware of sensible beings' rights? How did PETA get the message across?

Mimi Bekhechi. PETA focuses mainly on four campaign areas in which the largest number of animals suffer the most: experimentation, food, clothing, and entertainment. PETA works through public information (such as online and offline campaigns and advertising), research, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns. We work to inform consumers, liaise with policymakers, and propose much-needed alternatives.

The current situation is critical for billions of animals, and our goal is to make the public aware of the issues – even if it means wearing a funny costume, engaging in a public stunt, or taking our clothes off. Unlike some of our opponents, like the powerful meat and dairy industries, we don’t have the budget for large-scale advertising. Instead, we get creative and think outside the box in order to turn heads and spark conversation. This has frequently proven effective when it comes to getting the message across and cutting through the noise in today’s media landscape, which is vital if we are to reach the masses and initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and, of course, action.

V&M M. Can tell us about the most important campaigns you are holding right now?

Mimi Bekhechi. From empowering individuals to go vegan to calling on Greek officials to stop using donkeys and mules as taxis on the island of Santorini and from urging the UK Ministry of Defence to stop supporting the killing of bears for the iconic King’s Guard caps to campaigning against plans to open the world’s first octopus farm in Gran Canaria and working towards ending animal testing in Europe, PETA is dedicated to helping animals everywhere. But above all, we are working to dismantle speciesism, the archaic and harmful belief that some living, feeling beings are more important than others.  

V&M M. Is PETA involved in some way with companies that are introducing vegan products in the market? Not only food companies, but fashion companies as well.

Mimi Bekhechi. PETA’s corporate teams work with companies to introduce and amplify vegan offerings on the market for both food and fashion. This means that in addition to working with restaurants and food chains to introduce vegan menu options, PETA’s teams have also supported fashion companies in moving away from animal-derived materials. After hearing from PETA, over 400 brands have cut ties with the cruel angora trade and more than 300 labels have banned mohair. Recent victories include SMCP Group’s introduction of a ban on down and other feathers.

Every year, PETA celebrates the growing abundance of vegan food options through our Vegan Food Awards and highlights fashion innovators who are taking great steps for animals through our Fashion Awards.

V&M M. In which countries do you have representatives, and how can help any of our readers to promote your activity, right now?

Mimi Bekhechi. PETA entities exist in the US, the UK, India, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and the Asia-Pacific region and have supporters and volunteers all around the world. Those who wish to help with our campaigns can join their local PETA Action Team to get involved with our actions. We also encourage people to share our investigations, videos, petitions, and other resources on their social media channels.

V&M M. Can you please add anything you consider of interest?

Mimi Bekhechi. The most important and effective thing that anyone can do to help animals is to go vegan. PETA offers a free vegan starter kit, which is packed full of tips, recipes, and information to help you get started on your journey.


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