Susan Hargreaves, founder of Animal Hero Kids, empowers all ages to be heroes to all species of animals via her award-winning, interactive education presentations, activism, speaking engagements and writing. International and national media have lauded her over four decades-long work to stop animal cruelty. Susan’s mission to create animal heroes has been covered by Yahoo News.
Susan emigrated into the United States as a person of extraordinary ability in the field of humane education, a category reserved for Olympic athletes. She has received references and praise for her empathy fostering work from Jane Goodall, Michelle Obama, Ingrid Newkirk, Joaquin Phoenix and Paul McCartney. The global news magazine, Formidable Woman, wrote a feature article on Susan and her goals to save all species of animals.
Susan founded the youth empowerment education charity Animal Hero Kids and infuses it with the passion, wisdom, and determination acquired during a lifetime devoted to animal activism. The Hollywood Times focused on her empowering work.
Shaun Monson, the acclaimed Earthlings filmmaker has completed an original short documentary entitled The Heart Whisperer featuring Susan. Influential People Magazine covered the documentary.
Her recent Veganza Animal Heroes young adult novel and vegan guide debuted at number one in the New Release categories for young adults, teens and ecology on Amazon. The global tour was featured in International news media including Dublin Live News.
Cruelty-free vegan fare tastings and activities are a featured component in her programs, which often showcase stories of outstanding acts of rescue and courage by youth. Susan unites, celebrates and informs at the vegan events she organizes. She dreams of opening an education center with a vegan cafe and a small sanctuary for school field trips. The Be an Animal Hero summit united pro-active youth and was covered by the Sun Sentinel. Susan can be reached at BEanAnimalHero.org
You have been educating and empowering others to act on behalf of animals and the planet. What changes have you witnessed? Are you making progress?
We are witnessing a global mindset shift around animal based agriculture and its negative effects on the planet. It has been and continues to be an uphill battle to empower, educate and activate others to be heroes to ALL animals and to the earth. When I first began my mission of fostering empathy and awareness of the plight of the most abused group of sentient beings and their suffering no-one knew what the word vegan meant. People were still believing the public relations spin of the factory farming industry.
Part of your service with the “Be an Animal Hero” initiative with the AnimalHeroKids.org charity is to give free programs for all ages and grade levels. Can you give the Moralmoda readers an idea of what your presentations offer?
A custom program for kindergarten to adult levels, each program is catered to specific audiences, like a bespoke virtual or in-person interactive event. The elementary grades enjoy true, animal rescue stories from my Skipping Stone Honor award winning book “Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless” and “Veganza Animal Hero” picture book, whose characters include an Irish flying vegan super hero and the first ever vegan brown mermaid superhero. Large costumed characters like Ronnie V Cow, Horace B Horse, Rocky Raccoon and Kitty T Cat help to get the kind to all animals message across for the younger audiences.
Interactive programs for higher grade levels including adults are peppered with facts from the United Nations study, “Livestock’s Long Shadow” and current world trends.
You are an author as well as an activist and an educator. Tell us about your newest book.
I was thrilled with the reception of the Veganza Animal Heroes world book tour last summer. At every event, and tour stop the positive reactions rebounded. Debuting at Number One on the Amazon new release list for young adults and ecology was my first game changing clue. When the Dublin Live news featured the Veganza Animal Heroes on the cover page with a headline proclaiming this is the “World’s First Vegan Superheroes Book …” I was thrilled. I am grateful to the volunteers who helped with this latest initiative.
Freedom is a new vegan superhero added in the last Veganza Animal Heroes book, his character was inspired by Korin Sutton, a vegan professional body builder who assists with Animal Hero Kids programs. Courage the mermaid character was played by Mitali Deypurkaystha during the United Kingdom and Ireland tour stops. Sean Russell is a producer who helped with his smarts and filming for a future documentary.
What are your signposts of progress?
Vegan products are on a rising trajectory. Emirates Airlines have noticed a 154 percent increase in vegan meals in one year. Saudi’s Prince Khaled, Leonardo DiCaprio, Snoop Dog and Bill Gates have all invested in vegan meats.
Major trendsetters and popular singers like Billie Eilish, Jay Z and Beyonce have all encouraged their billions of followers to go vegan for the animals, the planet or their health. Comedian Kevin Hart just opened his vegan fast food restaurant in Los Angeles and the line up to get in trailed down multiple blocks, he’s laughing all the way to the bank!
People are turning away from captive wildlife displays including circuses with animal acts and aquariums. Here in South Florida there is a tanking of animal act attendance.
What has created this evolving away from cruelty or environmental harm?
Activists of all ages have a larger audience thanks to social media. The education gleaned from books, films and the media have all contributed to this developing reality. Some may call it an adaptive form of evolution.
In 2022, an original documentary film with a cameo by Joaquin Phoenix and other high profile celebrities premiered in Los Angeles called “ The Heart Whisperer “ which features you and your 43 years of dedication. What is your next step with the film?
The power of film to change hearts and minds cannot be underestimated. I am now faced with helping to get this film seen by as many eyes as possible; an entirely new and unknown arena for me.
University classes are invited to book screenings of the short film and I will lead a discussion around our changing economy and progress in terms of how we treat other animals. Free, vegan samplings are included. Here’s the trailer and booking link https://www.animalherokids.org/the-heart-whisperer/
There are some murmurings of live streaming opportunities, perhaps by the time your readers read this it will be a finalized deal.
I am a perennial optimist and feel confident true people will come forward to assist as education is vital to the sustainability of our planet. We human animals can demonstrate remarkable courage and compassion. My lifelong goal encourages more of the same, more animal heroes.
Help the “Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless” book be gifted to every school library at AnimalHeroKids.org
Learn more at www.animalherokids.org