FEATURE: Asanti Owusu

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Asanti is a 25-year old vegan currently living in Finland, the country where he was born, and he’s also a local of Brussels, Belgium. His father is Ghanaian, his mother is Finnish, and he says, “I am neither and both.”

Asanti is an animal rights and climate change activist. 

Asanti states:

“We are all on this boat together. Regardless of our location, the choices we as individuals make each day affect all the people in the world. For the sake of your health, our environment, and the animals of the world, I ask you ask yourself: What are you paying for? Are you paying for cutting throats, or are you paying for planting seeds? Are you buying our humanity's future, or are you spending it?

The most important thing to me is preserving our planet and its resources by reducing our footprints, and regaining the lost snowy winters I remember from my youth in northern Finland. 

I became a vegan when I was 24. First I became friends with a lovely woman who makes great-tasting food, who loved animals, and could express her opinions in colourful ways. She talked to me about animal rights versus cruelty, and things slowly began to click in my mind. While becoming aware of the ethical aspect of veganism, I still didn't make the change until the night I watched the documentary ‘Cowspiracy'.

'Cowspiracy' changed my life for the better. It was painful to learn that using farm animals was a prominent reason for many global catastrophes, like dying oceans, rainforest destruction, and even world hunger! It also made me see a connection between mass animal agriculture and slavery, which affected my dad's homeland as well. After that night I quit animal products cold turkey and went vegan.

Since then, I've advocated for reducing our consumption of animal products for the sake of both animals and humans alike. I joined the Finnish animal rights group "Oikeutta eläimille" (translated: Justice to Animals) in the fight for justice and the end of mass producing animals for the sake of exploiting them. 

'Oikeutta eläimille' is a grassroots-level animal rights group founded in 1995. We promote vegetarianism and veganism as one good way of influencing the position of animals in society. Our day-to-day actions include lectures, speaking in schools and in public, disseminating flyers and literature, setting up info tables in public places, holding demonstrations, protests, and publicity stunts, plus other activity. Apart from civil disobedience, we operate within the Finnish law.

The most visible parts of our activity are photos and videos taken in intensive farms and slaughterhouses that have also recently been shown on TV to the public. Oikeutta eläimille questions the idea of exploiting animals.Our relationship with animals should be based on reciprocity, instead of the current model of one-way profitability. We all have the ethical responsibility to take these requirements into account. ”