Shivani Sahasrabudhe & Tithy Mondal (MeraNews, Ahmedabad): Rohit Ingle has made his third stop. He has 80 more to make before he completes his one-year quest to promote animal welfare and veganism.

Ingle is on a journey on his cycle that began on 26 October in Mumbai and which will take him through every state in the country. On Friday, he arrived in Ahmedabad.

In conversation at Philosophy Club, Ahmedabad’s only vegan cafe, he first explained what veganism is, beyond just dietary constraints: “In a vegan lifestyle, we don’t use any animal products for food. So, obviously, no meat, no eggs, no dairy products. Our main aim is animal liberation, and we believe that we can live a healthy life without harming animals.”

Ingle, a resident of Mumbai, is a volunteer with the Mumbai Animal Liberation League (MALL), which regularly conducts campaigns on animal suffering, animal rights and veganism. Its mission is to change people’s attitude and behaviour with the aim of ending consumption of animal products and the abolition of the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, religious rituals, cultural practices, scientific experiments and research.

Ingle says this is not going to happen overnight. 

“Many people’s daily earnings depend on animal breeding, selling milk, and so on. What will they do?” he said. “If we talk about dairy production, instead of producing cows’ milk, we can produce plant-based milk. People in the leather industry can instead make artificial leather. As a consumer, if we can make the switch, even they can do that on their own. Just because their earnings depend on this, it shouldn’t be a reason (not to do so)... Just as we are changing, they must also learn to change as it is important for the environment.”

To highlight the conditions of animals in the husbandry and agriculture industries and their negative impact on the environment are among the objectives of the All India Cycling Campaign, which is supported by MALL. As part of this, Ingle will cover a distance of 18,000km to spread awareness of veganism and how it is different from vegetarianism. On his journey of “compassion and hope”, he will also meet local activists and stay at each destination for one-five days.

While on the road and between the destinations, he pitches a tent when he needs to rest. “I have budget constraints, so I look for a safe place where I can put up a tent. As I have been camping before, I am pretty much relaxed about this.”

Ingle, who previously worked in the hotel industry, said he didn’t find it difficult to switch from a non-vegetarian diet to veganism. “I was completely driven by my ethics. The hardship initially was in dealing with people, colleagues, constant fights as they would make fun of me. I just learnt to ignore the negativity and keep on following what is right.”

“There will always be a positive and a negative response. If I point out a person’s mistake, and I apply logic and science, they will understand. But if they don’t, then it is just their ego. You need to understand how it works,” he said.

In future, Ingle said he will work towards the cause of animal liberation. “I will see that there is a revolution in the country. More vegans are coming. I am more than happy with what I am trying to do.”

 

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