Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles

Professor Andrew Knight, the Vegan Vet Who Is Truly a Friend of All Animals

August 2022

Very exciting things started to happen in 2021 when the first very large-scale study was published on health outcomes. It was published by Dodd and colleagues from Guelph veterinary school in Canada. They found that cats maintained on vegan diets were more likely to be rated as very healthy, and less likely to have gastrointestinal problems, liver problems, and body weight problems.

Vegan vet Andrew Knight

I have known Andrew for many years, so through his friendship, I have been privileged to have frontline access to all the relevant research he has been reviewing and conducting on this issue. Which issue? The feeding of plant-based food to dogs and cats. An issue full of controversy (even within the vegan movement) if you don’t simply look at the evidence available; evidence provided by a veterinarian like Andrew who is a leading expert on this subject.

Andrew is not only a vegan vet (which, for me, it’s the only coherent way to be a vet), but he is a vet who cares as much for the dogs and cats he treats as the pigs and cows “pet lovers” feed their animals with. A real friend of all the animals who knows you don’t have to sacrifice some to help the others. As you may not be as lucky as I am to have direct access to his expertise, I thought I would interview him for you.

Andrew: "The whole journey began when I was about eight years old. I was given a book on baby animals by my parents, and I looked at the pictures of baby deer in forests. And I thought, ‘these animals are wonderful, and I don’t want to be eating animals.’. So, I marched up to my parents and I told them that. They smiled and thought ‘this will only last about a week, no problem.’ But, of course, it lasted until I was 18. I had a brief relapse and tried eating fish, and then I quit that and went back to being vegetarian. Then, in 1993, when I was 23, I became vegan. I went vegan, and my girlfriend went vegan at the same time because we were both trying to impress each other with how ethical we were. There was no plan and there was not much discussion. I was just sort of proudly informing my prospective date that I was vegan, and it must have worked because we’re still good friends many years later.

I knew about the problems going on with intensive farming and that was why I changed. I remember that, when I became vegan, I had to toss out my entire sweet collection because they contain gelatin. For many years I’ve been building this row of sweets in jars, like in a sweet shop. It was this spectacular collection that went up to about three levels high, but I had to toss the lot, so that was tragic. But it demonstrated my commitment to the cause."



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