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Kindness Stories

 PhilWollenPhilip Wollen is someone very special. He is a big man with a big heart and most importantly he's BIG on vision. Phil is a 59 year old Merchant Banker, OAM, Queens Birthday Honours 2005, Australian of the Year Victoria 2007 and Founder of The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust (WCKT)www.kindnesstrust.com . Phil and his partner Trix work tirelessly to help those in need and sponsor over 200 non profit organizations around the world. When Phil founded the WCKT he stated it had five fingers, namely, "Children, Animals, the Ill, the Environment and Aspiring Youth".

This passion, alongside WCKT's first core belief: "Act. Don't react. See a need, fix it first. Worry about the details later. If you wait until you are asked you have just missed a golden opportunity. They are fleeting and rare." sums up Phil as a man of action who has all bases covered!

Q What made you become vegan and when?

Phil: I was the merchant banker whose favourite meal was fillet mignon and lobster. Around twelve years ago I was mandated to act for a large corporate client and visited one of their main subsidiaries. It turned out to be a slaughterhouse. And I had never seen a slaughterhouse before. My blood ran cold. This didn't just turn me into a vegetarian. It turned me into a genuinely compassionate human being. Anybody who eats the murdered carcass of an innocent animal cannot claim to be compassionate - not with a straight face anyway.

The slaughterhouse turned my life around. I ultimately became vegan eight years ago when I saw what happens to millions of chickens - their beaks burned off, millions of tiny male chicks being hurled to their death into grinders, premature calves being deliberately induced and being killed by crushing to death. It is a crime of unimaginable proportions. It is so tiresome to still hear the hideous lies and self delusion from those who profit from this ghastly trade.

I am a vegan because I love life in all its forms. The life of a human necrovore is not a life. It is a life sentence. Short, nasty, and brutish.

Q What's your favourite meal?

Phil: Trix is the best vegan cook in Australia - so anything she cooks is a banquet!

Q What do you cook the best, do you have a favourite recipe you'd like to share?

Phil: Mexican Beans I do quite well, here is the recipe

1 can 4 Bean Mix (rinse well)
1 stick of celery
1/2 yellow capsicum
1/2 red capsicum
1 onion roughly cut
1 tbsp of good quality mild curry powder
1 dessert spoon soynaise (vegan mayonnaise)
cooked rice for two people

Put a dash of oil in the pan, add onion celery and capsicum
stir fry a few minutes (don't let the veggies get too soft or soggy)
Slide vegies to the side of the pan and add curry powder
fry the curry powder for 30 seconds
add the beans and cooked rice - continue to stir fry add Soynaise and stir fry some more until all ingredients are well mixed

This is delicious hot or cold or as a side salad or in a wrap. It lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge

Q Are many of your family and friends vegans?

Phil: Yes my closest family are all vegan and 90% of my friends are vegan or vegetarian

Q What makes you happy?
Phil: Using the word ahimsa in a speech or saying the 'V' word without getting a blank stare. When someone actually "gets it" is a great feeling. And best of all is unexpectedly finding time to spend with Trix and not having the phone or email to interrupt.

Q What do you do to relax and unwind?

Phil: Meditation, music, and reading.

Q How do you keep fit?

Phil: Golf; long walks with our four rescued dogs; Pilates, and the physical work of running Kindness House www.kindnesstrust.com/KindnessHouse.html

Q Do you have a favourite movie/book/blog that inspired you that you'd like to share
Phil: The simplest book of all - by John Waddell But You Kill Ants; Gary Francione's Rain Without Thunder; The Abolitionist website www.abolitionistapproach.com ; Singer's A Companion of Ethics and I recommend the films: Earthlings, Peaceable Kingdom and A Delicate Balance.

Q Do you have a favourite restaurant?

Phil: Yes right down the street from Kindness House - The Vegie Bar www.vegiebar.com.au located at 380 Brunswick St Fitzroy VIC 3065.

Q What's been the best part of being a vegan?

Phil: Being able to look in the mirror without feeling profoundly ashamed.

Q Have you found any difficulties being vegan?

Phil: Being vegan is the easiest thing in the world! I think you asked precisely the wrong question. You should have asked "have you found any difficulties being a necrovore?". And then I could have written several books on this particular subject without pausing for breath. I would find being a necrovore utterly impossible!!

Q Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Phil: We now know beyond any shadow of doubt that the livestock industry releases more greenhouse gases than cars, trains, buses, ships, planes all put together - by a country mile.

We now know that meat and milk are four letter words for good reason. They kill. These noxious products are grossly inefficient sources of food for a hungry planet. They are profligate wasters of precious drinking water. They are indescribably cruel. And they are horrendous polluters of our rivers and oceans.

Clearly, it is no longer (just) an animal rights issue. It is a social justice issue. Make no mistake about it. Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear stained face of a hungry child.

Unfortunately, flaccid governments are influenced by lobbyists who don't care if our planet ends up in a ditch, as long as they get to drive. So we continue this ludicrous charade of governments pretending to be concerned about jobs - and caving in to the industry with subsidies for low paid jobs for unskilled work. So much for being the clever country.

But the writing is on the wall. Intelligent people are fast learning that this planet is being trashed by an industry that is well past its use by date. The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones. The meat industry will end because we run out of excuses.