Talks – meet the speakers

We are delighted be bring you an exciting line up of passionate and capable guest speakers from around the country who are looking forward to sharing their stories and expertise with you.


10:20am – From slaughterhouse worker to animal activist

Cortnee Butler

“Hi, I am Cortnee and I became vegan during the time that I worked in a meat processing plant. I will share my story of how I went from slaughterhouse worker to a vegan animal rights activist. I am using my experiences to speak for the animals who suffer at the hands of these industries.”

11am – Another benefit of veganism — helping to end animal testing in Aotearoa!

Tara Jackson

Tara Jackson (Kāti Māmoe) is the Executive Director for the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS). NZAVS is a non-profit organisation that campaigns to end animal experimentation and defend the animals used in science in Aotearoa. Tara has worked for NZAVS for over five years now and has extensive knowledge of the animal experimentation industry. Tara is the Founder of the popular online resource, A Guide to Vegan where she spends her spare time promoting vegan-friendly products, recipes and restaurants to make veganism easier for people living in Aotearoa. She is also Founder of the animal rights group, the Animal Justice League NZ. This group works alongside the many other anti-rodeo groups in Aotearoa to help end the animal abuse involved in rodeos.

11:45am – Healthy Eating with Kindness

Kylie Dale, Eat Kind Officer, SAFE For Animals

Throughout Kylie’s Healthy Eating with Kindness talk, you’ll discover that each of us has the potential to change the world. Kylie will offer insight into how animals are raised for food in New Zealand as well as include some wonderful stories of animals who have been spared. She will also discuss the environmental and health benefits before she covers how to start eating kinder for animals, for our planet and for you!

“As an individual, choosing not to include animal-based foods in your diet can save around 100 animals every year. It is also the best way to protect the environment and safeguard your body into living a long, happy and healthy life! I think you’ll be surprised at just how easy and enjoyable it can be,” says Kylie.

Completely new to the idea of plant-based living? Or need a little refresher on nutrition? Maybe you’re wanting information around a plant-based diet for growing teens, for athletes, during pregnancy, or how to deal with social situations as a new vegan? If so, the Eating with Kindness talk is for you!

About Kylie Dale

Kylie’s background is in Food Science and Nutrition, and work to provide Kiwis with access to positive and informative tools and resources, to empower people to make cruelty-free, plant-based and vegan choices – through her role at SAFE For Animals, the animal advocacy organisation. Along with a passion for food, Kylie loves to run, and since being vegan has ticked off 5 ultra-marathons.

“Along with a desire to contribute to a better Aotearoa for animals, I am passionate about advocating foods that are kinder to our bodies and the planet,” say Kylie.

12:30pm – Our Foodprint vs the Planet: why dietary change is inevitable

Rowan Taylor

In his day job, Rowan is a senior policy analyst working on steps the government can take to address environmental problems. On weekends, he works on his own steps. At the Vegan Expo, he will talk about the most significant step he personally has taken – going vegan. He will present data showing how our daily diet can be either the cause or the cure of our environmental problems, depending on the choices we make.

1:15pm – From dairy farm worker to animal rights activist

Jessica Strathdee

Former dairy farm worker Jessica Strathdee will talk about her experiences as a dairy farmer and her consequent journey to being an animal rights activist. Whilst the dairy industry likes to paint a picture of idyllic farm life, Jess will talk from first-hand experience about the systemic abusive farming practices necessary to participate within the dairy industry which led her and her partner to leave it and to educate the public about the horrific realities of Aotearoa’s dairy industry.

About Jessica

After spending four years living and working on a West Canterbury dairy farm Jessica Strathdee and her partner left as vegan animal equality activists. They moved to the farm as two meat and dairy eaters and left with a vastly different attitude towards animals and animal agriculture. The systemically abusive farming practices necessary to participate within the industry were a reality they couldn’t continue to deny or close their eyes to. Jessica became a breastfeeding mother while dairy farming and the parallels between her experience and what she was forcing upon sentient maternal cows, separation from their newborns and theft of their maternal milk, became almost too much to bear. The vegan consciousness awakening that Jessica and her partner experienced was profound and they now strive to educate the public about the horrific realities of Aotearoa’s dairy industry.

2pm – Identifying fuels for cancer and cancer prevention

Dr Anthony Raizis

Dr Raizis received his PhD at Otago University. His research interests are in cancer genetics research and diagnostics, the molecular mechanisms associated with the onset of cancer, genetic diseases, nutrition and aging. Dr Raizis also has a keen interest in environmental issues, and sustainability.

2:45pm – The clash of neo-liberal capitalism and environmentalism, problems and solutions

Dr Anthony Raizis

Dr Raizis received his PhD at Otago University. His research interests are in cancer genetics research and diagnostics, the molecular mechanisms associated with the onset of cancer, genetic diseases, nutrition and aging. Dr Raizis also has a keen interest in environmental issues, and sustainability.

About the Vegan Expo

Originally launched in 2007 as the Vegetarian Expo in Christchurch, this inspiring annual food and lifestyle event has continued to demonstrate growth and popularity for the past ten years and is now held nationally.

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