Monday, July 29, 2013

Animal Advocate Spotlight: Andrew Kirschner

Through Facebook I have met many amazing people. I don't live near too many other "real life vegans," so it can be difficult to connect on a local level, but Facebook friends can offer advice, inspiration, and companionship that can sometimes run just as deep as friends we have in person.

I am a member of a number of vegan groups on Facebook and came across a phenomenal human being: Andrew Kirschner. I can honestly say he is one of the most inspirational people I've ever known. Even though I don't know him other than online, he touches me with stories regarding his experiences volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, charming tales of his adventures with his adorable dog, Pretzel, selfless advocating for animal rights, and also words of encouragement whenever anyone needs it. He strives to make others be the best they can be, and truly wants this world to be a better place in general.

Below is a short interview Andrew agreed to, even though he is incredibly busy (and my blog is certainly not what I would label as popular)! Thanks so much, Andrew, for being so kind and giving. You truly are selfless! From: the animals, the children, and countless others whom you've helped in one way or another!

His current project, in addition to so much else he contributes on a daily basis, is organizing a march against all forms of animal cruelty. From

The 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals aims to bring throngs of Floridians together who care about animals, from Key West to Tallahassee and Tampa to Orlando, to march in the streets to raise awareness about the plight of animals in our society. All Floridians are invited to join us in solidarity on Saturday, November 16th at 12:00 noon at Huizenga Plaza in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The purpose of the march is to ask people to learn about, think about, and stop supporting cruelty to animals in all forms.
Please share the above image and link to help further this great cause!

Can you tell me a little about some of your main goals in general, some of the most important things to you in life?
AK: When I'm not working, I spend most of my free time volunteering to improve the lives of animals and disadvantaged children. I walk dogs and provide volunteer orientations at a local animal shelter, pass out leaflets about the benefits of plant-based eating, and volunteer at my local Boys and Girls Club where I mentor children. I also spent a lot of time proposing legislation and lobbying for legislative changes to benefit children and animals.

I know no day is ever "typical," but can you run me through what a week might be like in your life as far as leafletting, networking, raising awareness, anything that might give a "layperson" a glimpse into the work you and your organization(s) do?
AK: Sure. Right now, I'm spending 40 hours a week organizing the 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals so I don't have a lot of time for other projects but I'm still managing to keep in touch with legislators regarding issues such as the Farm Bill, pass out Veg Starter Kits, write articles for my blog, and volunteer to help children in various ways.

Do you like to cook? Have you always been this way, or have you developed this skill over time with experimentation?
AK: Yes, I enjoy cooking very much. My dear mother taught me to cook when I was 10 years old. She also taught me how to clean, dust, vacuum, iron clothes, and perform all other household duties. I will always be grateful to her for equipping me with these skills. I cook almost every meal I eat and enjoy my food enormously.

What are some of your favorite dinner meals?
AK: My bean burrito bowl and kale salad are my favorites. You can check out the recipes on my blog, Kirschner's Korner, to see some of my other favorites.

Even though you make a tremendous impact and help multitudes of animals who would otherwise live in cruelty, how do you maintain a positive attitude amongst all the suffering and not let depression get the best of you?
AK: I understand the reality of the situation. I don't know any other way. Short of a catastrophic environmental disaster or historic legislation, the cruelty isn't ending anytime soon but it will decrease every day we advocate effectively. It's easy to imagine what it is like for fewer animals to suffer and that's what is happening as a result of people taking a stand for compassion.

What changes or trends have you noticed lately? For example, I have seen many more veg*n manufacturers and restaurants sprouting up and plant-based diets gaining popularity. Do you think this trend will continue, and what do you think fuels these changes?
AK: I see a big shift in the news coverage of plant-based eating and cruelty against animals. We're seeing more and more stories in mainstream media. I also see a trend in the development of new plant-based foods coming to market. These are positive signs.

Please discuss something that has touched your heart through your campaigning or any experience where you've tried to make a change for the better in someone's life?
AK: I receive letters from people from all over the world. The letters I receive from children probably inspire me the most because they made the connection at such a young age. They ask me how they can help and I give them ideas.

Any words of advice or encouragement for those considering a vegan diet?
AK: Eat your fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans. Eat a lot of red quinoa, kale, and other colorful food. Get your nutrients. Don't look to replace animals with bread, pasta, and rice. You will gain weight and lack the fuel your body needs. Get a full series blood test every year to make sure you're not suffering from D3, B12, or other deficiencies. Once you find your eating groove, you will soon realize it was one of the best decisions you've ever made.

What are some of your favorite websites? Some favorite vegan recipe websites?
AK: I'm so busy with my own activism that unfortunately I don't make time to visit websites, Facebook pages, etc.

Please list the goals and hopes for your website as well as the URL of any favorite websites.
AK: Right now, I'm focusing most of my energy on organizing the state march. To learn more, your readers can log onto

Also visit and bookmark Andrew's inspirational blog which features yummy recipes (of course!), events, legislation, and more: Kirschner's Korner: Trying to Make the World a More Humane Place.

Again, Andrew, I cannot thank you enough and there are no words to describe such a kind and giving person as yourself. I appreciate you opening up and letting us glimpse into your experiences, opinions, and emotions. THANK YOU!