She’s one of the most popular actresses in the world, best known for playing Rachel Green on the iconic sitcom Friends. Since then, she’s continued to star in dramas, comedies, and romantic comedies. She has also founded her own production company and been successful in other industries, like the perfume industry. But is Jennifer Aniston vegan?
No, Jennifer Aniston is not vegan. Although she has supported animal charities for dogs and cats and has spoken out against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, she has never opposed the slaughter of other animals and continues to eat meat and consume and use other animal products.
Jennifer loves dogs
During her time on Friends, Jennifer got introduced to a dog named Norman, who was a corgi-terrier mix. Norman was trained to perform on TV and in movies, but he would often refuse to do what people wanted him to do, so he wasn’t in demand. Because of that, Jennifer was given the opportunity to adopt him, and she took advantage of that opportunity.
Jennifer took Norman everywhere she went. “Norman goes with me on location—I’ve got to take Norman,” she said. He wouldn’t sleep in her bed, though, but he allowed her to sleep in his: “He sleeps in his bed. I could sleep in his bed, which I have done. I know it sounds insane.” She was extremely attached to him, and she was heartbroken when he died of old age in 2011, when he was 15. Because he meant so much to her, she got his name tattooed on her foot. That was the first tattoo she ever got.
Since adopting Norman, Jennifer has also adopted other dogs. When she got married to actor Justin Theroux in 2015, they got married at home, in part because it made it easier to include the dogs in the celebration.
Jennifer is part of the “adopt, don’t shop” movement, which means that she adopts dogs from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores or breeders. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that breeders often mistreat parent dogs, and the second reason is that bringing more dogs into this world can’t be justified when there are so many existing dogs currently in need of homes. She supports at least three charities that help animals get adopted.
She’s also constantly tempted to take in more animals. She explained: “My friend Ellen DeGeneres, as you know, loves nothing more than to bombard me with extremely heartbreaking photographs of animals that need homes. And by the way, if I could have a llama, a pig, an alpaca, sheep, goats, I would. But I have to be very sensitive to [my dogs] because it’s all about whether they are going to be happy.”
Jennifer’s stand against dolphin slaughter
In the 1960s, a man named Ric O’Barry helped capture and train five dolphins to star on the show Flipper. The show became a hit and, as a result, marine parks with dolphins were established. But Ric became aware that life in captivity took a toll on the dolphins. When he saw one of the dolphins commit what he describes as suicide, he realized that he had made a terrible mistake and became an activist for dolphins.
In 2009, the documentary The Cove came out, which follows Ric’s efforts to expose the dolphin drive hunting in a cove in Japan. It documents fishermen driving countless dolphins into the cove, capturing a few of them to sell to aquariums and marine parks, and slaughtering the others to sell their meat to supermarkets.
The documentary opened many people’s eyes, and the following year a number of celebrities recorded a public service announcement to help stop the slaughter of dolphins. Jennifer was one of the celebrities who appeared in it:
Jennifer has stated that her “general philosophy is to eat healthy.” According to her, that means: “Eat as much organic fruits and veggies as you can, keep sugar [intake] low, drink tons and tons of water, and get good sleep.”
But even though that sounds vegan, when asked about her refrigerator staples, she revealed that she also eats animal products: “I always have cut raw vegetables in a Tupperware container. Hard-boiled eggs are always great to have in the fridge, as well as a big head of butter lettuce. I also include protein, such as pulled chicken.”
The protein myth
As you can see, Jennifer uses the word “protein” instead of meat. Many people do this. It’s based on the myth that plant-based food doesn’t count as a source of protein and that we need animal products for that. The animal industries have propagated this myth for decades without any facts to back it up.
In reality, protein is made by plants. The building blocks of protein are called amino acids, there are nine essential amino acids, and plants produce them all. Because all plant-based food contains protein, it’s easy to get enough. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states: “Vegan diets typically meet or exceed recommended protein intakes, when caloric intakes are adequate.”
Apart from believing in the protein myth, Jennifer also has selective compassion. She feels bad for the animals living in shelters and the dolphins who are getting slaughtered, but she doesn’t feel bad for the animals living in much worse conditions until the day they’re killed in slaughterhouses. She actually pays for that and eats their bodies.
Given how compassionate she is towards other animals, it looks like she genuinely has a blind spot. So, hopefully she becomes aware of that.
Jennifer’s backyard eggs
Lastly, it’s worth knowing that the eggs Jennifer eats at home come from chickens that live on her property. She has a large chicken coop, it was there when she bought the house and she decided to keep it. When she spoke about it, she mentioned that she had 15 chickens living there.
There’s a common belief that backyard eggs are a cruelty-free alternative to buying eggs from the egg industry, but this is a misconception. Chickens come from hatcheries that are arguably worse than the puppy mills that Jennifer boycotts. The parents of these chickens have been exploited their entire lives. The male siblings of these chickens have been killed on their first day of life because they were never going to lay eggs. And the chickens themselves have been bred to lay over 300 eggs a year, while their wild ancestors only laid 10 to 15 eggs a year, like any other bird. Laying this many eggs is incredibly taxing on their bodies.
We have no nutritional need for eggs. The egg industry isn’t even legally allowed to call eggs healthy. So, there’s no need to keep breeding chickens into existence to lay eggs for us. Hopefully, Jennifer becomes aware of this too and gives up all animal products.
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