Vegans in Office - Interview with Entrepreneur and City Council Candidate, Bryan Pease

Vegans in Office - Interview with Entrepreneur and City Council Candidate, Bryan Pease

Vegans are people who care deeply about the life on this planet, but protests and charitable ventures can only go so far. To truly spread your values and make a difference in the world requires bold action. By doing things like starting a vegan business and taking leadership positions, you can spread the vegan message in an undeniable way that generates tangible results.

Meet Bryan Pease - A Vegan with a Vision

It takes a lot to follow your beliefs - a lot of time, dedication, commitment, and resources. Few people know this better than Bryan Pease. For 10 years, he owned and ran the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) Thrift Store in San Diego. While that presented a series of unique challenges, Bryan now has his sights set on running for city council, a role in which he’ll truly be able to make a difference.

Vegan Since Age 16     

Every vegan has a different story of how they advanced down the path to living on a plant-based diet. For Bryan, the choice to go vegan seemed to be innate, even as a teenager.

I've been vegan for 23 years, since age 16. I first went vegetarian after opposing animal dissection in high school biology class. Then I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins and went vegan.

Dedicated Vegan at a Young Age

When choosing to go vegan, it’s common for a lot of people to have questions and comments about your change in lifestyle. Bryan’s case was no different, but he was always willing to hear their questions and help people understand his vegan decisions.

In high school, yes absolutely, as well as family. However, I was very outspoken and happy to engage people in debate. I also used to get arrested a lot at animal rights protests. My younger brother now owns three vegan restaurants in Manhattan with my college roommate.

A Champion for Animal Rights - Founding the APRL

Upon learning about the abuse that happens in factory farms, Bryan Pease developed a powerful love for animals. The poor treatment of animals inspired him to create the Animal Protection Rescue League. Bryan explains the goals of the APRL and that it exists to make lasting positive change for animal rights.

APRL exists to document and expose animal cruelty and work on legislation and litigation to improve our society's treatment of animals and free speech rights for activists.

Challenges of Running the APRL Thrift Store

The APRL Thrift Shop was beloved by locals for its eclectic array of products and the fact that all of the proceeds go to helping in the fight for animal rights. From books and jewelry to functional electronics and art, every visit to the APRL Thrift Store was a different experience. Bryan describes some of the challenges involved with running the store and why it eventually had to close.

I ran the APRL Thrift Store for 10 years, until our lease ran out and the owner of the complex it was in developed other plans. We faced all sorts of challenges small businesses face: rising taxes and costs (payroll taxes and workers comp costs even though we never had a workers comp claim), burglaries and theft, vandalism, a corporate commercial landlord constantly tacking on extra costs and requirements to our lease that we had to fight.

Making True Change - Bryan Pease Runs for City Council

We all hear people complain about politics or how those in power are doing things wrong. Well, Bryan chose to do something about it and announced that he was running for city council. It was interesting to find out that Bryan has vast experience in successfully battling the city in court. That experience will work in his favor as he tries to implement meaningful change that reflects his values as a passionate vegan.

I'm constantly winning cases in court against city agencies both in San Diego and in other cities for violating environmental laws, constitutional rights, freedom of information, and other issues. As a councilmember, I will be able to ensure that the city follows the law and avoids such lawsuits. I am running to give a voice to low-income individuals and families as well as environmental and other nonprofits whose issues I currently work to advance on a case by case basis as a public interest attorney. There are specific policy proposals I also want to advance in the areas of homelessness, housing affordability, and environmental protection.

Will His Vegan Influence Factor in When Making Decisions in Office?

The vegan lifestyle encompasses a series of issues that vegans care deeply about, including environmental protection, animal rights, and whole organic foods. What better way to enforce these issues in your local community than by making a run for public office? That’s exactly what Bryan did, and he confirms that his vegan values will be a key part of his leadership on the city council.

Yes. I've already worked with the City Council on many animal rights issues, such as banning the retail sale of non-rescue dogs, cats, and rabbits in commercial pet stores in San Diego, protecting the La Jolla seals, and getting a majority of the City Council to pledge to go veg for Veg Week.

If Bryan Could Accomplish One Goal While on City Council?

Rent Control.

The Present and Future of Veganism

As of 2018, vegans comprise half of one percent of the American population or 1.62 million people. Efforts to make the vegan lifestyle more accessible and mainstream are worthy for vegans since they’d result in more vegan restaurants, shops, and value-based businesses. More importantly, an increase in veganism means that fewer animals would be raised for slaughter and that more people would learn to appreciate and protect the environment.

Best Way to Reach Non-Vegans?

Bryan Pease has fought for the vegan cause on multiple fronts and may soon be writing and supporting policies that turn his vegan beliefs into law. Much of his job will require him to deal with non-vegans and those who don’t sympathize with or understand the vegan lifestyle. Bryan believes that that once non-vegans see the horrific farm videos that show how animals are treated that they’ll be a lot more understanding of why vegans avoid animal products.

People need to see the videos of what happens to animals on farms and realize this is standard operating procedure.

What Are the Biggest Obstacles Facing Vegans in 2018?

In the effort to spread the passion for animal rights and other vegan values, Bryan sees significant obstacles that will have to be overcome.

Convenience as well as massive subsidies and advertising campaigns aimed at convincing people to consume more animal products. My friend and APRL board member David Simon wrote a book called Meatonomics explaining all of the market distortions that incentivize mass consumption of animal products.

How Will the State of Veganism Change in the Next 20 Years?

While anyone can venture a guess at where the vegan movement will be after the next couple of decades, Bryan Pease has a unique perspective on the situation. Having dedicated his life to helping animals and spreading vegan awareness as an entrepreneur, Bryan points to one product that is poised to revolutionize the vegan lifestyle as we know it.

By then we will have Clean Meat, which is meat grown in a lab rather than from animals, which will eliminate all animal suffering associated with meat as well as the deadly bacteria and viruses caused by animal agriculture, for those who want to continue eating meat. People will also be much more informed that a plant-based diet is the way to go.

Final Thoughts from Bryan Pease

District 2 is represented by an anti-environment Republican masquerading as an environmentalist in a Democratic-majority district. This is a non-partisan race, so most voters don't realize the current council member is Republican. We need to win so that we can implement measures such as evidence-based solutions to homelessness, basic tenant protections, a styrofoam container ban, citywide composting and e-waste recycling, and more. Please get involved at!