With an astounding 17 Democratic candidates currently vying for the presidency, it’s no surprise that there is a varying mix of professional, cultural, and political backgrounds on the stage during each of the Democratic presidential debates. Still, even with the mix of backgrounds, many of the candidates have similar or even identical stances on many of the important issues that have rightfully been the focus of the debates.
One issue that has candidates standing apart from others is the less addressed issue of animal welfare. In fact, only two of the Democratic candidates, Senator Cory Booker and Julián Castro, have fully fleshed out plans for animal welfare in the United States. Of those two, Booker is the only vegan.
Booker, the Senator from New Jersey, has been vegan since 2014 and has received questions regarding his diet during past debates. During the last debate, Booker was the one to bring up veganism. In a response to questions regarding the heath of the candidates running for the presidency in 2020 Booker stated, “I feel qualified to say this as the vegan on the stage. Going back to the fact that … we asked three people about their health. When looking at this stage, we know that the most unhealthy person running for the presidency in 2020 is Donald Trump.”
Booker first went vegetarian in 1992 after reading Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth while attending Oxford University. He remained vegetarian until doing further research into the impacts that animal consumption has on the environment, at which point he went vegan.
Now, running for president, his proposed animal welfare policies include measures to create a more sustainable environment, not only for humans but also for animals, as well as making it illegal for factory farming corporations to hide the horrific abuse that animals experience at the hand of factory farming.
The debates aren’t the only thing the Senator has brought veganism to. At the recent Iowa Steak Fry, Booker helped to cook and serve 1,000 vegan burgers during the meat-centric event in September.