Aadith Kannan: Vegan and Environmental Activist

Rajasi Laddha, writer

Veganism has steadily risen in health and diet culture as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle while eating clean. The animal product and textile industries have a reputation tarnished with millions of cases of animal abuse and cruelty. Due to this, many animal cruelty activists start eating vegan and buying from ethical stores to stop funding and supporting these industries. Many Cupertino High School students have started to go vegan; however, there are a few select students who go above and beyond to help animals throughout the world.


Aadith Kannan first stepped into the world of activism through a conversation over hot chocolate. Two years ago, a friend refused a cup of hot chocolate. When asked why his friend explained that the dairy industry actively abuses cows and calves. Later that day, Kannan deeply researched the universal practice of abuse in the animal product industries. Then, he decided to go vegan as he believed veganism was the only way to make the most impact on the animal product industry”. 


Being vegan was not always easy, but his brother helped him along the journey.


“When my brother and I first went vegan, we would go out with family-friends and friends, and they would be like it was just this one thing or a scoop of ice-cream. [he would keep me on track to stay conscious of eating vegan. There was a system where we would support each other, ” Kannan explains.


 Kannan ended up not only convincing the rest of his family to go vegan but also his friends. Nevertheless, he wanted to spur more change and to work towards a future with animal-free farms. Kannan currently leads a division for the Youth Agriculture Revolution, where he and his fellow members advocate for food system reform in hopes of making it more environmentally conscious. They also focus on political action by calling legislators and government officials. As of the past few months, Kannan has been advocating against the Farmers Bill and has been talking to legislators non-stop, enabling him to be able to change the animal abuse from within the government itself. 


In hopes to make even more change, Kannan started the San Jose branch of Students Opposing Speciesism(SOS). He takes a more traditional approach to activism at SOS where they rent out protest kits for different demonstrations, such as one for the animal cruelty at Sea World, and go to different places to present these demonstrations. Similarly, at Cube of Truth, a demonstration by Anonymous for the Voiceless, Aadith goes out on the street to hold one-on-one conversations with strangers in order to educate them on animal cruelty. 


“We don’t go out there expecting positive reactions from everyone,” Kannan explains, “but we do it because it is important to have those one-on-one conversations.” 


Cube of Truths helped Kannan grow as well as he recounted one of his fondest memories of his activism journey. 


“On my first demonstration, the organizer, Cole, gave me more details about what actually happens [in these industries]. he was the one who told me what happens in the veal industry, the dairy industry, the egg industry, etc. That same day, I communicated what Cole taught me to other people we met on the street. He was the one who really got me involved.” 


These various organizations impacted Kannan immensely. He takes his knowledge and applies them to his lifestyle by being a lot more selective about different products, such as what he wears or what shampoos he buys. Kannan hopes to help others undertaking the same journey as him, and he encourages aspiring vegans to reach out to him and ask him questions. 


“Non-humans do not have the physical means to communicate with us and speak up for themselves,” Kannan states, “It’s up to us to oppose the wool industry, the industry that cuts the tails off innocent sheep. It’s up to us to speak up against the dairy industry, the industry that rips calves away from their mothers. It’s up to us to reject the egg industry, the industry that macerates live male chickens. It’s up to us to oppose animal exploitation. It’s up to us to work towards animal-free farms.”