Last night, the UK Vegan Family did a livestream on YouTube with Sinclairs A Family of the Earth to discuss all things vegan. Here’s what happened.
The first question discussed was when the Sinclairs went vegan and how they explained it to their children. Colin of the Sinclairs explained that it was after watching Earthlings that he decided to go vegan, and Claire followed suit along with the kids. Colin explained to his children, Axel and Caprice, about veganism and they understood quickly.
School life for vegan children
Kids were the main topic of discussion, with Dunn asking how their children’s school life is. Colin admitted they have been lucky in this aspect and how it was “easier than they thought”. The teachers were not only understanding, but also bought vegan sweets for the Sinclairs children so they would not be left out on birthdays. The family also brings in vegan options to the school discos for the students and teachers to enjoy.
There was an issue when Caprise had to go on a school trip to a farm, which Colin said “caused a lot of stress for about a week-and-a-half”. Despite the visit being what he called a “pro-animal eating trip”, Caprise wanted to go to the farm, and she understood what she was getting herself into.
However, in contrast, for Dunn’s son Jack, the only vegan alternatives he can eat in school dinners is jacket potato and beans, which Dunn believes is “disgusting”.
But the Sinclairs said they prefer to give their children a packed lunch as it is a healthier option.
When it comes to their children’s friends, the Sinclairs said Alex and Caprise have a good group of friends. Their friends’ parents have been welcoming, and there has been no issue having kids around their house. And it was this that gave Dunn “hope” for the world.
After a few jokes and reading comments from the live chat, Dunn asked what the Sinclairs do for Halloween, and how they get around trick-or-treating sweets that are typically non-vegan.
For last year’s celebration, the Sinclairs revealed they went to Pizza Express, watched The Addams Family and ate vegan sweets, and are planning on doing a small Halloween party this year as well.
Dunn then mentioned how she heard of vegan parents secretly swapping non-vegan sweets with vegan sweets so their kids would be unaware, but she said she was against that idea. Colin also agreed, stating that it not only normalises animal products, but it also creates waste as the non-vegan sweets would get thrown out.
The Sinclairs’ activism
The Sinclairs are not only an online vegan family, but they are also activists. Colin is a part of Anonymous for the Voiceless, and the family has participated in a lot of protests.
The family reveals their kids enjoy the activism, but admits that Axel is “not really an activist when his parents aren’t around”.
Forcing veganism on kids
The UK Vegan Family then went to answer some questions in the live chat, with one question being: What do you say to people who say you are forcing veganism on your kids?
Both families unanimously agreed that “you can’t force veganism”, and it is just like telling your child to stop swearing. Colin saif they are teaching their kids about veganism and at the end of the day, it is their choice and they just so happen to agree.
Dunn said Jack understands that eating meat is wrong and disagrees with animal agriculture, and says “old McDonald isn’t a very nice man”.
Peer pressure and veganism
Another question asked was regarding the peer pressure their kids may face to eat meat products. The Sinclairs said they are passionate about this topic, and that their kids are most likely to be susceptible when there are no vegan options available.
Dunn reveals she would show her son footage of animal agriculture (“if she needs to”) to help him understand the importance of veganism.
The Sinclairs said their children have accidentally seen some of the footage, but they were more furious than upset. They add that people don’t see the animals before the product; it is when you share the videos that people then see.
Children want non-vegan products
On the topic of children and veganism, a viewer asked: What would you do if your child said they wanted a biscuit that had dairy products; you explained to them, but they still wanted it?
Both Jenkins and Dunn agreed that they would make sure such items are nowhere near their children, and it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that such a thing won’t happen.
While the Sinclairs said if their child wanted a non-vegan biscuit, they would make their own alternative version, like how Colin made a vegan penguin biscuit for his children.
Is veganism on the rise?
The conversation then turned to whether veganism is on the rise in the Sinclairs’ local area and if there are other vegan families.
The Sinclairs said they are not the only vegan family, and what they could assure is that children are gaining more knowledge and beginning to accept veganism. They also revealed that the vegan families they have met has been through their activism.
General vegan banter
The conversation was not all serious, with Dunn asking the Sinclairs about whether they would be going to the next vegan campout, how they eat their tofu and and what their favourite vegan family food is.
Things then took a turn when the UK Vegan Family revealed they went to their first vigil and how emotional it was. Jenkins explained seeing the chickens in terrible conditions was devastating, but knew they had to go and had to help the animals. Although the family plan to go to more vigils, Dunn revealed seeing the cows would be the hardest, while for Jenkins, it was the lambs.
But the Sinclairs said how important vegan activism is, whether it is online, making videos, commenting, going to the vigilsl it is this activism that spreads the vegan message. Colin added that if just one person ever chooses to go vegan, and he was a part of their story, it would be worth his time.
Is veganism cheaper?
Both families agreed that going vegan is cheaper compared to their previous diet. The UK Vegan Family and the Sinclairs both struggled financially and going vegan has alleviated that issue.
How can we get into activism?
As mentioned, the Sinclairs are also vegan activists and gave advice on participating in the vegan movement actively. Colin suggested joining your local Anonymous for the Voiceless chapter on Facebook, going to your first event and meeting fellow vegans.
There was also talk on different types of activism, including cookouts and chalking. The Sinclairs also mentioned that on September 4, there would be a worldwide chalking event and said it is suitable for the people who do not want to see graphic imagery or videos. There will also be a march in Birmingham on August 22, calling to end all slaughterhouses.
“Different types of activism reach different types of people, and we want to reach everyone,” said Colin.
Family’s reaction to going vegan
Dunn then asked the Sinclairs how their family reacted to their change in lifestyle. Claire revealed that her mother was not too pleased with the idea, was concerned for the children and against Colin’s activism. However, she has since changed her tune and is accommodating whenever they visit.
But for Colin, he revealed he has fallen out with family members who are pro-farmers. While he admits that it was his fault in the beginning, as he was inexperienced on how to deal with talking to people about veganism, he was never able to compromise with them.
For Dunn, as her family were already vegetarian, they were supportive of her diet change, but for her partner Jenkins, his brother is against it. Although his family was, at first, taken aback by the switch to a vegan diet, they have now accepted it and he revealed that his father is considering taking on the diet due to some health scares.
Dunn then went to discuss something that had affected the UK Vegan Family: online bullying.
After their recent anti-vegan cyberbullying attack, Dunn revealed the UK Vegan Family are trying to build a support network of vegan families to build a community. They are also trying to raise awareness on how vegan children can get bullied. Dunn added that, unless you are in the vegan community, you would not be aware of the type of bullying that vegan children face.
“We are always going to be faced with the opposition, we’re always going to be faced with people who have an opinion, that no matter what you say or what you do, aren’t going to change,” she said.
She then asked the Sinclairs about the worst vegan hate or troll comment they have received, and Colin revealed a comment that said: “We should eat sheep because they would want to eat us.” And Jenkins also mentioned how some of the hate comments are getting “disturbing”.
The Sinclairs then talked about bullying, stating that usually the trolls say what they say as a “defensive mechanism” and don’t necessarily put too much thought into it. Colin also said there is a positive side to the trolling, as it means that they have “provoked them” to think about veganism.
The Sinclairs admit they have been lucky when it comes to receiving online abuse. But there have been times in the past when the couple received hate comments on Facebook and have also had their children used as a weapon against them.
Vegan children’s movies and cartoons
As the stream was coming to an end, Colin did have one question to ask to the couple: What is your favourite vegan children’s movie or cartoon?
For the Sinclairs, Chicken Run is their go-to, because the vegan message is so strong, and while Jenkins and Dunn mentioned the movies Babe and Charlotte’s Web, they said they use books more to educate their children.
After the Sinclairs’ son and cat made an appearance, the UK Vegan Family revealed they are planning on doing another livestream with Family Four Explore and praised the Sinclairs for what they do.