Coding with compassion: These vegan tech volunteers work to end animal exploitation

The Vegan Hacktivists logo

What happens when you combine passion for a cause with a keenly honed skill?

Well, for one, the Vegan Hacktivists, a global volunteer-based group of software engineers, designers, data scientists, writers, and strategists who all care deeply about animal protection. 

Hacktvisim, or digital activism that utilizes “hacking” or digital tools to protest or take action, is just one type of activism that calls on creative and strategic skill to benefit a larger movement.

The Vegan Hacktvists emerged in 2019 with the hope of inspiring people to become advocates for animals, using digital skills as the fuel for their activism. The community works together to build projects and advise organizations in the animal protection movement.

Some projects include Vegan Bootcamp, a website with free challenges and courses that take users on a step-by-step guide toward a plant-based lifestyle; an interactive Animal Rights Map locating 2,500 local animal rights activist groups around the world; and even Vegan Linguists, a website that allows vegan content creators to easily translate their content to make their message more accessible to all.

Screenshots of the Vegan Bootcamp and Animal Rights Map projects by the Vegan Hacktivists
Photos courtesy of Vegan Hacktivists

These are only some of the wide array of volunteer-run projects the Vegan Hacktivists have created. The collaborative also facilitates online communities, like the Vegans of Reddit subreddit — with over 1.4 million members. 

The Hacktivists also created a first-of-its-kind Tech & Data Study to understand how the vegan movement leverages technology. The 50-page report explores challenges and opportunities across different areas, as well as recommendations for community members to use technology to their advantage.

These days, the organization mostly focuses on consulting services for advocates and organizations to better build support for the movement. The best part? All services provided by the Vegan Hacktivists are free.

“We want everyone in the movement to thrive,” an introductory video for the group shares. 

All of these projects coalesce under the same mission: “to build data-driven, disruptive, and innovative projects to help see an end to animal exploitation.” 

While many of the motivations of the Vegan Hacktivists come from a desire to provide more meaningful data and technology to veganism, there is also a fundamental need to build active communities within the vegan world.

“Only a tiny percentage of the world is vegan, and a fraction within are active. Many organizations encourage non-vegans to adopt veganism through health, environmental, or ethical reasons,” the Hacktivists’ website reads. “We believe that we can also be effective by creating tools to help, inspire, and motivate more vegans to become advocates for the animals.”

A group of Vegan Hacktivists volunteers smiling at the Animal & Vegan Advocacy Summit
Photo courtesy of Vegan Hacktivists

And their work seems to, well, work.

In 2022, the organization had over 2,600 volunteer applicants, granted over $56,000 in grant money to individuals and developing organizations, and saved partner organizations over $620,000 with free tech, design, and support services.

And while larger population surveys can’t all be tied back to this work, veganism — or at least the embrace of plant-based food — is on the rise.

According to Statista, the market for plant-based “meats” has expanded steadily over the years, and the global market value of meat substitutes is expected to grow to over $35 billion by 2027. 

Although it’s hard to measure the exact number of vegans in the world, spending habits and market changes indicate a much more mainstream embrace of the movement, as well as trends like “Meatless Mondays” or “Veganuary.” 

The Vegan Hacktivists not only want to empower a growing community of people who care about animals and the environment — they want to make it easier to take action.

“Over the past few years, we have worked on numerous projects that have not only helped transition people to a vegan lifestyle but have also empowered them to become activists,” the organization shares in a video. “This is only the beginning for us.”

Those interested in volunteering or learning more can visit the Vegan Hacktivists website.

Header image courtesy of Vegan Hacktivists

Article Details

January 23, 2024 1:07 PM
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