Mind & Body

Strong Bones

The star of TV’s <em>Bones</em> Emily Deschanel tells us how she balances new motherhood, a demanding career and a crazy amount of animal rights and humanitarian activism.

Strong Bones
Pin it Brian Bowen Smith

You’re a very vocal advocate for veganism and got a lot of press for staying vegan throughout your pregnancy. Are you raising Henry to be vegan?
Henry is basically vegan. My husband isn’t completely, so we agreed to raise Henry as a vegetarian, but most of what Henry eats is vegan. The only thing that’s not vegan that I considered feeding him are eggs from my friends’ pet chickens. We don’t want to put labels on it, but he’ll be educated about why we make the choices we make. It’s an ongoing conversation.

When he gets older and goes to school, we’ll have to tell them he’s vegetarian or vegan so he’s not accidentally fed something we don’t want him to eat. Although other vegan parents we’ve talked to say their kids end up drinking dairy milk at school at some point. We want it to be his choice, but hopefully we can convince him to be vegan or at least vegetarian.

You’ve done a lot of work for animal rights organizations. Why is it such an important issue to you?
Many people are already on the bandwagon as far as not wearing fur and supporting rescue and spay and neuter efforts for dogs and cats, so I focus on organizations that deal with animals used for food. I want to help educate people that buying dairy and eggs and meat from factory farms does more environmental damage than all transportation pollution combined.

I also give money to and try to help organizations such as Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals raise awareness about how horrible factory farming is. Dairy cows are torn away from their mothers right after they’re born. As a mom, that breaks my heart. And the male calves go to veal farms. The natural life span of a cow is 25 years, but on factory farms, they keep them working to produce so much more milk than is natural that they only live four to five years.

People are becoming more aware of what veganism is, but they’re still often confused by it. A lot of people asked me if I planned to breast feed, like it’s not vegan. Or someone will give me a piece of fruit and say, ‘Oh, wait -- can you eat that?’