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#3 - Zoonotic Disease & Veganism: Juliet Gellatley Interview

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

To hear the second part of this interview, and read some more extended thoughts, please go to:

Juliet Gellatley is a renowned writer, animal activist and founder/Director of Viva!, Vegetarian International Voice for Animals. She has spent most of her life campaigning on behalf of animal rights. She’s the author of countless books and widely acclaimed vegetarian books including The Livewire Guide to Going, Being and Staying Veggie!, Born To Be Wild: The Livewire Guide to Saving Animals, among others. Juliet has been on countless TV and radio stations talking about the positives of veganism for decades, and has won the Linda McCartney Award for Animal Welfare in 1999.

I’m not someone whose overly ingrained in the vegan community. I know certain names, certain phrases, certain charities, but I probably couldn’t tell you much about any of these in-depth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very passionate about the philosophy and try to be active where I can, I’m just not overly familiar with specific people or institutions.

So when I heard I was to be chatting to the founder and director of Viva! one part of me recognised the prestige and status they hold in the vegan community, while another part didn’t fully grasp the enormity of what this truly meant.

However, when it came to recording, it soon became apparent that I was in the presence of a genuinely impressive and very wonderful, giving, human being.

Juliet Gellatley is super knowledgeable about zoonotic disease and its links to animal consumption, through factory farming and wildlife trading; the primary statistic being that 3 out of every 4 new infectious diseases come from animals. This was the building block for Viva’s 3 in 4 campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the links between the abuse of animals and human infections.

This conversation is loaded with breathtaking incites into zoonotic diseases, factory farming & wildlife markets, antibiotic resistance, Covid-19, pandemics and veganism. It’s truly remarkable when presented with information such as this, that we are not currently witnessing a global transformation of animal agriculture, to avoid any further (potentially more lethal) pandemics, especially in our interconnected global food networks and systems.

Though this conversation was recorded back in mid-May, most of what is discussed are hyper-relevant to today, and my guess is Juliet and Viva’s knowledge has only expanded since then.

For those of you who don’t know Viva! (something that I’m sure isn’t true for most of you) then their aims are essentially twofold; to end animal suffering and to encourage people to go vegan. The methods in which they do this are (quite frankly) never-ending, including direct activism, running campaigns, podcasts, films, recipes, health advice, organising vegan festivals, the list goes on and on.

I’ll briefly mention that in the second part of this conversation, I referenced something from The Disclosure Podcast, in which Earthling Ed talks to Dr. Michael Greger M.D about pandemics. I couldn’t remember what was said at the time, but essentially (at 7.52) Earthling Ed was researching swine & avian flu’s at the height of the pandemic and saw that new strains were being discovered all the time, the fear being if one of these strains were to ever morph into the deadly combination of being both highly infectious and having a high fatality rate. I thoroughly recommend people listen to this podcast episode as it’s dense with subject matter related to this conversation. I’ll post a link to it below.

It was such an honour to talk with someone so passionate and insightful, but on top of all that, Juliet has a contagious, uplifting energy that makes time spent with her super enjoyable. I sincerely thank her for her time and hope you’re all as enthralled with her words as I was.


Viva! 3 In 4 Campaign

Zoonoses: A Ticking Time Bomb (A report from Dr. Justine Butler)

Disclosure Podcast - Ep.16: Can We Stop A Future Pandemic? In Conversation With Dr. Michael Greger M.D.

Viva! Website

Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story - Talk by Juliet Gellatley at Vegan Campout 2019


The Savage Balance Podcast is a weekly podcast offering a new story, essay, interview, thought or leftover scribble from the back of a napkin.

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