Animal rights activists connect through ‘Bunnies and Boba’


Nisha Marino

Along with their mother, Hazel, eight baby bunnies were brought to the Bunnies and Boba event for visitors to hold, pet, and feed.

Nisha Marino, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

Vegetarianism is a widely understood concept. Knowledge about veganism, which takes animal rights to another level, is less widespread. Vegans of the Bay is just one group trying to change that.

Vegans of the Bay connects primarily through Facebook with nearly 10,000 members. They aim to provide resources to vegans across the San Francisco area.

“It’s a great way to just ask a question [about veganism], because everyone’s willing to answer,” Isabella Mattioli, a sophomore, said. “Or even just to get a restaurant or recipe suggestion.”

Vegans of the Bay also co-host several events with the Berkeley Animal Rights Center, a community center whose goal, according to their website, is to “transform Berkeley (and the world) such that every animal is safe, happy, and free.” One such event was Bunnies and Boba, held at the Animal Rights Center on May 12.

“One goal in these events is community involvement,” Kitty Jones, who works at the Animal Rights Center, said. “We want people to see what we’re all about.”

At the Bunnies and Boba event, visitors were able to adopt, hold, and feed many of the bunnies. Vegan boba tea was also provided, and the entire event was free.

“A lot of people usually come by,” Jones said. “When animals are involved, we can have up to 300 people just stopping in.”

Members of the Animal Rights Center and Vegans of the Bay brought their animals to share with the community. Though some brought their animals as pets, others, like Sami Kikon-Sautman, used the event to help the adoption process.

“I run a small rescue, and some of the bunnies are here to get adopted,” Kikon-Sautman, who runs The Ark Animal Rescue, said. “I take [the animals] from people who don’t want them, get them vet treatment, and get them adopted.”

In addition to members of these organizations, many citizens of the community also appeared at the Bunnies and Boba event.

“I just heard about it online and decided to come,” Carolyn Resner, a first-time attendee, said. “I think it’s really cool, and I’m having fun.”

Through these events, the Animal Rights Center and the Vegans of the Bay ultimately hope to reach out to a broader community to spread their message.

“Being vegan is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Just knowing how I get to save thousands of innocent lives makes giving up anything worth it,” Mattioli said. “The truly cruelty-free lifestyle is freeing, and it makes me smile just thinking about it.”