Animal Matters is a series of video discussions with Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, and Sentient Media co-founder Grant Lingel. In this first episode Glenn and Grant talk about why animal rights are important for them personally and introduce the series and its goals. In the post below, Grant describes how the series came to be. Follow our YouTube channel to catch all the episodes.
I have always loved animals.
I grew up in Suburbia in Western New York where my home was surrounded by woods and a pond. There were animals everywhere.
Even from a young age, I felt a strong connection to the animals and at thirteen years old I decided I would stop eating them altogether.
Fast-forward 23 years and I’m still going strong as a vegan activist and co-founder of Sentient Media.
As we started building out this organization, countless ideas have been thrown around (and continue being shared) in regards to different ways we can reach people that haven’t really considered animal rights an issue worth exploring.
Ethical vegans know that most people don’t want to discuss the suffering of animals. When it comes to sharing graphic content, be it an image from a slaughterhouse or a documentary about factory farming, most people will look the other way. Humans, for the most part, don’t want to see animals suffer — even people whose habits and purchases directly support corporations that are responsible for the suffering of billions of animals every year.
I met the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald in 2018.
We are both Americans living in Brazil. We both are extremely passionate about rescuing and helping street dogs. And we are both vegans.
I had been following Glenn’s work since the Snowden days. I had read most of his books and The Intercept was (and still is) my go-to place to read the news.
One day, Glenn posted on social media about the dog rescue shelter he had started with his husband in Rio de Janeiro. I got in touch with the shelter team, and discussed some ideas for promoting the non-profit and the cause.
The next week I was on a short 50-minute flight to Rio to meet with Glenn at his house. After lengthy discussions ranging from dogs to veganism to what it is like to live in Brazil as an American, we arrived at the opportunity to do something bigger together.
Glenn loved the idea of creating a show that is relatable to people from all backgrounds, not just activists or vegans. By discussing these issues in a way that is welcoming to those who have yet to question the reasons why the consume animal products, we believe we are more likely to start conversations that are two-sided and productive as opposed to one-sided, dogmatic, or polarizing.
After about six weeks of back and forth, planning, and scheduling, the Sentient Media team and I were in Rio at Glenn’s house about to drive out to his dog sanctuary in the countryside of Maricá.
Since then, there have been multiple trips to Rio and to date, eight episodes of Animal Matters have been recorded where Glenn and I discuss a wide variety of different topics relating to the political, ideological, and philosophical questions surrounding the animal rights movements and the treatment of animals.
New episodes will be published every two weeks in association with The Intercept. This is the first episode of Animal Matters where Glenn and I discuss why we care so much about animals and what we hope to achieve from this series.
We hope you enjoy the discussions!
Grant is the co-founder of Sentient Media. He currently lives in Brazil and has traveled across dozens of countries on assignment.