This Article first appeared in the July 2017 issue of Vegan Italy magazine
When I first learned about Glasgow, Scotland based Lynn Jolly, I knew I wanted to interview her. The story of her pivotal encounter with young bull Prince launched her into the public eye and also was a critical moment for her own path towards launching a vegan animal and education sanctuary in Scotland. Plans are in development for Lotus Animal Sanctuary and I wish her all the success, knowing animals will find a wonderful home at her sanctuary and humans an interesting and restorative experience as well.
Annika: Do you consider your area vegan friendly?
Lynn: Yes Glasgow is known as the vegan capital of the UK and named as the UK’s most vegan friendly city, so I am lucky!
Annika: What is your perception of the growth of the vegan community in general in Glasgow in recent years? In Scotland?
Lynn: In the past 18-24 months the vegan community has exploded in Glasgow and it’s starting to take off in other cities in Scotland too like Edinburgh, Aberdeen& Dundee. Not only has veganism been on the increase, but animal rights activism and vegan advocacy has also become a massive part of this vegan community. We have a very well organised Save Movement group called Save Movement Scotland (SMS) for which I am one of the organisers and have been part of since day 1. I am currently getting new groups to form in other areas too including Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Borders and Stirling. We do vegan advocacy as part of Save Movement Scotland and that area is known as Awakening Compassion.We also have a very active Earthlings Experience (EE) group who do events 1-2 times per month.
I recently took almost 1 month unpaid leave from work to organize and manage a trip to Scotland from global peace & animal rights activist James Aspey. He delivered talks in schools, colleges universities and he did vigils with SMS, events with EE, BBC radio and STV interviews along with a host of other events over a 2 week period including a visit to Manchester England to do a vigil with Manchester Pig Save. It was a hugely successful event.
Annika: Prince, Berry & Bramble feature significantly in your path to sanctuary building, correct? Before you met any of them did you have the thought of a sanctuary in mind and how have they influenced your thoughts on sanctuary space? How are they all doing?
Lynn: Yes, I have always dearly loved cattle. It was in 2010 I realized I wanted to have a sanctuary! I had a vision board on my wall and “Lotus Sanctuary” was on that – the vision board is still on my wall today! That’s why I stuck with the name Lotus to be honest – it felt like the right thing to do! The Lotus is significant in Buddhism (something else I have tattooed on me), it symbolizes purity in body, speech and mind as while the roots of the lotus grow in mud, it’s beautiful flowers bloom above it all – from dirt and murky depths beauty can rise up, grow and develop.
Annika: The mission for Lotus Animal Sanctuary has at it’s heart not only safe space for animals but also restorative & healing activities for humans. This is a great feature, what led to you including this in the mission?
Lynn: I follow a Buddhist path and I feel it’s that which led me here. We must show love and compassion to all beings, not only human and/or non-human animals, we must show it to all earthlings. Before I worked in the railway I did holistic therapies, stress management, relaxation, meditation & mindfulness and counselling, so helping people and animals has been a big part of my life for a long time now.
Annika: How have locals responded to your plan for an educational sanctuary? What has the response from around the world been thus far?
Lynn: People desperately want to see this happen, they know how badly it is needed and so we have received a lot of great support, locally, nationally and globally; I have had contact from Germany, America, Canada, the Caribbean, Italy, France and Sweden, it’s truly amazing!
Annika: Favorite meals to make for your family?
Lynn: Anything healthy, I LOVE salads with a difference, stir fry and curry – if it contains veg, fruit, legumes, pulses etc I am happy!
Annika: Favorite restaurants in Glasgow?
Lynn: Stereo, Usha’s, but my very favorite is The Bohemian in Newcastle.
Annika: When did you become vegan & why?
Lynn: 2010 – Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh made my vegan penny drop – he talked about the animals, world hunger and our environment! He is a great vegan advocate.
Annika: Did motherhood have any influence on your vegan outlook?
Lynn: I think when you become a mother you tap into those positive mental formations in a much deeper way, so I think when I heard the Buddhist monk talking about Buddhism I heard it from a mothers point of view, but not a mother to just my boy, but to the world – we are one, we inter-are, everything and everyone interconnects, so when you believe that, you feel very differently about others around you.