Founded by Chandni Sacheti in 2019, Lives Without Knives is a Hong Kong-based organisation striving to simplify, advocate and implement a plant-based lifestyle through webinars, blogging and social media. We’ve recently had the chance to sit down with the passionate social advocate for an interview on leading Lives Without Knives, transition into veganism and her hopes for the future.
Hi, thanks for agreeing to this interview! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I am Chandni Sacheti, the founder and CEO of Lives Without Knives. My main goal is to encourage an infinite number of people to reduce or eliminate their use of animal products through Lives Without Knives. I also love cooking, learning, reading, writing, art and exploring psychological & philosophical related topics in my free time!
What inspired you to start Lives Without Knives?
I have always wanted to advocate against meat consumption since I was small, but I felt I was too young to have a voice. I wanted to speak up, but I didn’t know if I can convince other people to change their lifestyles. Nevertheless, I came across kids4kids, an NGO that empowers the youth to make a change in their community. After attending their ‘Powered By Youth Forum’, I was inspired to use my skills and start my own campaign towards animal liberation.
What are you hoping to achieve with Lives Without Knives?
We hope to provide an accessible route to a sustainable, meat-free lifestyle through motivation, inspiration and reasoning for this much-needed change. We do this by encouraging others to reduce and eliminate their animal consumption through social media, webinars, blogs, projects and much more! We hope to inspire an infinite number of people to change their lifestyles together as we enter a new age of sustainability, environmentalism and civil rights.
Why do you think Lives Without Knives is important?
In an age where climate change is a prevailing issue; in an age where human rights are demanded by all; in an age where we want to have a positive impact on our community... The advocacy of the power of reducing or eliminating meat consumption is essential to all!
Meat consumption is an incredibly political issue. In fact, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that the biggest environmental organizations began to address the damage intensive rearing has on our planet. This is because exposing a powerful industry is risky; taking the meat and dairy industry head-on means risking a massive reduction in political support and funding. Whilst all these organizations do care about the environment, they are essentially businesses driven by revenues.
Thus, many of us are indoctrinated with outdated and false assumptions about meat while being shielded from the massive impacts it has on our planet. Therefore, it is vital for us to raise awareness about the importance of reducing/eliminating our use of animal products!
Who do you hope Lives Without Knives will impact and why?
We primarily hope to have an impact on the youth and young adults as they are more susceptible to change. The elderly are often quite rigid in their beliefs due to some traditional and outdated beliefs about meat as ‘a primary source of nutrition’. However, we believe anyone has the power to change. Whether you are a toddler or a grandma, you have the power to change and generate a positive impact within your community.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience starting Lives Without Knives?
It has been an amazing experience; whether it was hosting and presenting a webinar, running a blog, social media platform and raising awareness, we’ve enjoyed it in every way we can! Whist there certainly have been quite a few hitches and a lot of hard work, Lives Without Knives has been extremely satisfying knowing our work is making a positive change in our community.
What do you wish you had known when you started Lives Without Knives?
There is nothing in particular that I ‘regret’ or deeply wish I had known! I strongly believe everything happens for the best and that everything unfolds the way it is meant to. However, I had to tell myself something when I started Lives Without Knives, it would be to not be scared that people would not accept the aims of the organisation. If you truly know that your actions are for the good of humanity, there is no reason to be ashamed!
What is the best part of running Lives Without Knives?
The best part of running Lives Without Knives is knowing our platform is making a positive impact on our planet. Additionally, some of my biggest passions include (creative) writing, learning (especially through articles & podcasts) and, creating engaging graphics! Hence, through Lives Without Knives, I have been able to utilise my skills/interests and invest my energy in a cause I am passionate about; animal welfare and environmentalism!
What is the biggest challenge you had running Lives Without Knives and how did you
COVID-19 & protests meant we had to cancel our proposed plan for running an event with guest speakers and other activities. However, we were able to adapt by hosting a webinar with 5 eco-entrepreneurial speakers from which we received amazing feedback!
What are your future goals for Lives Without Knives?
Currently, we have hosted a webinar, ran a blog and raised awareness through our social media platform; we are also in the process of starting a podcast! Our future plans include holding Instagram weekly lives with eco-entrepreneurs, another webinar, and using our funding (from kids4kids) for other campaigns!
How do you balance Lives Without Knives with schoolwork and other extracurricular activities?
Sometimes I end up spending more time on Lives Without Knives and other extracurricular activities as I feel more passionate towards them. However, when I know that the school workload will increase or I won’t have as much time, I try to lessen my time spent on Lives Without Knives by preparing social media posts and completing work in advance, as well as scheduling events accordingly. I also try to ‘study smart’ using a variety of techniques to enhance focus and concentration as opposed to spending hours studying.
Why are you vegan and how does that relate to your work at Lives Without Knives?
I am actually a vegetarian transitioning into veganism! I have been vegetarian since birth due to religious reasons, which is partly why I believe animals deserve to live and not be killed for consumption. I originally began Lives Without Knives solely to raise awareness behind the cruelty of slaughtering animals, while also encouraging people to seek extra variation in their food. Delving into research, I was shocked at the extent animal consumption has on our environment, our health and factory farm workers, and how the meat and dairy industry is actually the greatest cause of world hunger and climate change. Meat consumption isn’t merely an environmental rights issue but also a human rights issue! The system through which OUR plates have meat is broken on every level. Hence, my new knowledge motivated me to expand Lives Without Knives through our social media platform, our blog, webinars, etc!
What have you learnt from your work at Lives Without Knives? Has running Lives Without Knives changed your thinking on veganism in any way?
Lives Without Knives has definitely expanded my knowledge on veganism; prior to starting it, I only knew of the impact meat has on animal cruelty, however, in my Lives Without Knives journey, I educated myself on its effects on the environment, climate change, world hunger, slaughterhouse workers, future pandemics, our health and so much more!
Moreover, I have built my knowledge on influencing people, running webinars, creating graphics, writing, recruiting members, approaching esteemed officials and so much more. The experience has been invaluable!
Who was your biggest motivation going plant-based?
There wasn’t necessarily a ‘who’ but rather, a ‘what’; my biggest motivation was definitely realising the positive impact going plant-based has on our planet! I am motivated by a vision of absolute compassion, greenness and peace in the world, and I believe following a plant-based diet is one of the most crucial steps towards this!
Lastly, are there any tips you would give to aspiring or transitioning vegans?
There are plenty of resources, platforms, websites and businesses currently helping people transition to veganism. However, the main reason people refrain from converting is their ‘WHY’. So once you understand the absolute necessity for this change, there is nothing that can stop you from positively impacting our community.
Interview Credits to Chandni Sacheti
Edited by Kadence Wong