Jobless and without a home, 36-year-old Danish activist CASPER HILT works 60 hours a week to change the reality for sentient beings.
Was there anything in your background that set you on your path to animal activism?
Personally, I have experienced a lot of injustice, suffering and illness in my life and I believe it shaped me into choosing, not just a compassionate way of life, but an active compassionate way of life. I truly want to help the helpless, those who suffer the most and those that are oppressed, and I can’t find anything in life that’s more important than that. I believe that if you have experienced suffering yourself, your empathy towards others’ sufferings grows, it’s like you lose the privilege of ignorance. Their pain becomes your pain, becomes our pain.
How long have you been vegan?
6 years and 6 years as an AR activist. I was vegetarian before that for many, many years. I thought I was doing all I could do and I believe I lived a very ethical life, but I was lied to. When I finally discovered the truth about the wool, dairy and egg industries I got very upset. Then I saw Gary Yourovsky’s ‘best speech you will ever hear’ on YouTube, and this was the turning point for me. I knew for the first time in my life, from the bottom of my heart, that I would never support any form of animal exploitation ever again. A fire was lit.
You gave up your job as a psychiatric nurse to work 60 hours a week on Animal Rights activism; street outreach, bearing witness at slaughterhouses, factory farms rescues, writing, editing videos and movies, administering your website and so on. Activism is therefore your full-time job. How do you manage to pay the bills?
First of all, to make this possible, I lowered my expenses to an absolute minimum. I don’t have a home; I have no mortgage or rent or any other large expenses, so I really don’t have any bills to pay. Secondly, I never use any money on myself. I never go out, never buy new clothes, never go on vacation etc., so I don’t need money for that either. I only use money for travelling to where I do activism, for staying there and to put food in my mouth. Mostly it can be done quite cheaply. I wish I had funds to buy better equipment though, I would love to be able to upscale the quality of material I get with different types of cameras and lenses, lights, microphones etc. Hopefully I will be able to afford that in the near future.
What is the hardest part of your work emotionally?
Not being able to stop this, or save everyone I meet! But also to become aware of the massive scale of the abuse, something I didn’t know before I witnessed it myself. On another note, It is truly draining and emotionally hard to witness and experience how the vegan and AR community has so much infighting, drama, cliques, backstabbing and so on, and that is mostly why I choose to work alone. I am not here for saving a community, I am actually not even a very social person, I am only here for helping the animals and inspire other people to do the same.
What is the most dangerous part?
The most dangerous part is the emotional stress. If you break (and you will break from time to time), you change, you will never be the same again. That doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, it can ‘just’ lead you in to a different path, because you now have new experiences and newly-gained wisdom. But we all need some kind of balance to not break completely. We need to be able to do this for as long as possible, as this massive abuse won’t end tomorrow or the day after.
What is the most rewarding part?
To see that you make a difference. If you just continue and do this long enough, you will see the differences you have made, the people you have changed, and the animals you have saved. And you will see that the stone you threw in the water actually created ripples that will work for you on and on and continue to make an impact. The work you do has an impact, maybe not instantly, but it has an impact. Sometimes it has a huge impact.
What skills do you need to make you a successful activist?
Any skill! I always tell people to find out what they are passionate about and good at and then do way more of that! Become even better and grow, become even more skilled at your skills! And be open to that fact that whatever your passion is, it might change after a while and that is alright. Sometimes a path leads to another path and that is completely fine, you are growing and you are being a stronger advocate for the animals. But the best skills are, if you ask me, integrity and decency. Do what you do and let others do what they do. Let your inner fire guide you and let what other people think of your work, be their business. Treat others with decency, loyalty, respect and kindness, and ignore those who might not treat you with the same decency.
The film making, video editing and so on that you do. Do you have any formal training in this or do you learn as you go along?
I am self-taught and I was terrible at it to begin with, but I am so glad I continued and therefore got better. Hopefully, in a couple of years, I will think that some of the work I do now is ‘terrible’, because I will have become even better at it at that time!
Do you believe that animal exploitation is coming to an end?
Yes, I do believe that and I do believe it will happen faster than we expect.
On the other hand, to be more specific, I do not believe we will end animal exploitation totally, we will end 99 percent of it. There will always be criminals and sociopaths who will exploit those who are the easiest to exploit, but we will change the cultural and legal paradigm into not accepting exploitation of vulnerable innocent beings, and we will succeed in shifting all animal exploitation industries in to cruelty-free and plant-based industries instead, using modern knowledge and modern technology instead of slaves. Everyone will agree that it is the best solution for all of us, both humans and non-humans, as well as our planet earth. It will not be easy to get there, it will be with great cost and great loss for many of us, that’s why we have to be united.
How can our readers follow you, and support the valuable work you are doing?
I’m working on a website as we speak, but it continues to be delayed because of other more important projects. But people can always find me and follow my work, contact me and support me on ‘Casper Hilt – Animal Rights Activist’ on both Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. On www.Patreon.com/casperhilt you can directly support my work for our beloved animal friends.