Ali Ryland

Former trustee
she/her & they/them

Candidate statement, March 2021

I am currently the deputy Council Secretary, having been a Vegan Society board member for three years; I have been a committed vegan, and member of the society, since I was a teenager. Only three years into a normal four-year tenure, I am standing for re-election as there are still many progressive policies I wish to realise. For example, I successfully proposed a non-binary policy that the society implemented, so that people of all genders can feel comfortable when accessing our communications, while I have always agitated (and voted) for VEG 1 to remain cheap and accessible to all vegans during my tenure. This began when I worked as Web and Digital Communications Officer for The Vegan Society last decade, where I first advised that members of the Society should receive a discount on VEG 1; this continues to this day. If re-elected, I will continue to argue that VEG 1 should be provided for free to vegans on the lowest income, at the same time as proposing other motions that see vulnerable and marginalised vegans protected (e.g. by assisting vegan-friendly food banks, ensuring representation of marginalised vegans on staff and Council, taking seriously our commitments to elderly vegans by strengthening our bonds with Vegetarian for Life, etc.).

Nearly four years ago I left my job at The Vegan Society in order to undertake postgraduate study in English Literature, with a focus on animal studies. Since then, I have engaged extensively with the Critical Animal Studies community, as we attempt to end the exploitation of animals through academia, while contributing to upcoming publications in the field of vegan studies. I am also a member of The Vegan Society's Researcher Network, contributing to their blog every year. My academic background benefits the society by providing an important link between the organisation and new developments in vegan and environmental research, while I keep a keen eye on sociological studies that follow the uptake of veganism. I am also particularly keen to use my knowledge to support staff in the good work they are doing to ensure that the society becomes a leading voice in the fight against climate change.

Three years ago I ran on a platform that emphasised the need for a diversity of experiences on Council; at that time I was the only member of staff under 30. I still believe that this is of demographic importance, thus I would continue to provide a (relatively!) youthful perspective that reflects the views of the largest-growing section of our membership. I would build on my past successes at The Vegan Society – from managing its large social media channels and website, to starting the blog, to fostering effective relationships between trustees, staff and other stakeholders – to ensure that we continue to go from strength to strength as an organisation. I want to ensure we give staff the tools they need, and that we streamline Council business to guarantee that we effectively advocate for nonhuman animals