Ms. Palak Mehta (vegan) is a remarkable young woman from India who works tirelessly to promote the vegan lifestyle. She is the Founder and CEO of Vegan First, a renowned plant-based media publications and events company. She is also the co-organizer of the Vegan India Conference, an annual event attracting participants from over 30 countries. Palak is the Vice-Chair of the World Vegan Organization (WVO) India Chapter, and a member of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) task force, which is responsible for setting guidelines and regulatory standards for the vegan food industry in India. On today’s program, Palak Mehta explains how vegan principles are deeply ingrained in India’s traditional culture. “Ahimsa, which is non-violence or compassion towards animals, is something which we have been the pioneers of, in fact. Our saints and sages have always told us to abstain from any animal products.”“So people who are vegan don’t eat any animal products. They don’t drink cow’s milk, they don’t eat any meat, and they also abstain from animal products in their lifestyle. And some people who get more sensitive, they also start avoiding going to zoos or not do horse riding. So, it’s the whole philosophy that animals are here with us and share the planet.”However, Palak says, most vegetarians in India still consume dairy products. She shares her thoughts on the logic of milk consumption. “The moment the cow starts giving the milk, the calf is snatched away from the cow, and all that milk is then given to human beings. The cow is impregnated again and again and again, till the time that she cannot be pregnant anymore. And at that time, she’s given to the slaughterhouse for beef or leather. […] Once you start understanding that milk is really not milk, this is beef or leather or somebody’s mother, you start understanding this was a living, sentient being. You will understand that we don’t really need milk. It is fully brutal.”From its humble beginnings, Vegan First magazine has become increasingly popular, and now has a readership around the globe.