We’re delighted to welcome Nirva Patel to the podcast this week for a wide-ranging conversation about the different ways she’s working to make the world a better place for animals. We begin by discussing Nirva’s background in Jainism, how the religion informs her beliefs regarding the treatment of non-human animals, and the work she has done in that realm to create change, despite some surprising pushback. Nirva also tells us about her work at Harvard Law School as a Global Policy Fellow and her role as Chair of the Board of Directors at Farm Sanctuary. Plus, Nirva shares her reasons for going back to school for a Master’s degree and how it’s helping her meet her goals of bringing animal rights issues to the forefront of people’s minds all over the world.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Mariann’s interview with Nirva Patel*
Nirva is the Global Policy Fellow in the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School and a passionate advocate for animal welfare. She is also a registered patent attorney, biomedical engineer, and executive producer for several plant-based films, including The Game Changers, The End of Medicine, and Meat Me Halfway. For nearly a decade, Nirva worked in animal advocacy in Mumbai, India. In the U.S., she has sparked many advocacy campaigns, including successfully pushing to ban the sale of fur in the town where she lives and encouraging Jain temples across the U.S. to remove ghee and dairy from their offerings. She has provided strategic fundraising efforts for numerous non-profit capital and development campaigns in Boston. Nirva holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University, a J.D. from The New England School of Law, and an M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. Her passion for animals is predicated on the Jain philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence), which advocates a vegan lifestyle. She lives in Boston with her husband, four children, and two rescued rabbits, Goji and Spice.
“At Farm Sanctuary, animals are allowed to grow old.” – Nirva Patel
Highlights for Episode 674:
- Why there is still debate within the Jain community about whether they should continue to consume dairy products
- Nirva’s work encouraging Jain temples to give up dairy products and the pushback and encouragement she has received
- Nirva’s work at Harvard Law School as a Global Policy Fellow, including an assessment of live markets and their potential for spreading zoonotic diseases
- Public health implications of disregarding animal welfare
- How different countries approach animal rights legislation and why it matters
- Why Nirva decided to undertake a Master’s in Animal Law and Policy from Tufts University and how it helped her clarify how she wanted to move forward with effecting change for animals
- The emotional response Nirva and her classmates had while bearing witness to animal exploitation and cruelty as part of the agriculture program at Tufts University
- Nirva’s role on the board of the International Vegan Film Festival, how she became involved, and how documentaries and films highlight animal rights issues
- What the folks at Farm Sanctuary are finding from observing animals going about their day uninterrupted and their plans for the future
Connect with Nirva Patel:
- Nirva Patel on Facebook
- Nirva Patel on Instagram
- Nirva Patel on LinkedIn
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Our Hen House:
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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.