The Barefoot Walk For Those Who Can’t Talk

by | September 20, 2018

Morgan Redfern-Hardisty, the owner of Cool Beans Café, would rather take part in a barefoot walk across the country, than serve dairy.

This July, the owner of Cool Beans Café in New Zealand updated his menu to be exclusively vegan, nixing animal-based milk in favor of plant milk, in a bid to reduce his environmental impact. Support for the new menu was overwhelming as business increased by 25 percent after the changes.

However, the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) Charitable Trust, owners of the premises has said that the change is not permitted and that the menu must include dairy options.

Redfern-Hardisty says that MAZ is “stuck in the past” and decided that he would close his business on October 22, rather than choosing between “taste and suffering.” He does accept MAZ’s rights to terminate the business agreement, but he questions their motives. MAZ claimed that they received a lot of complaints from people requesting that dairy is put back on the menu, yet according to Redfern-Hardisty, the trust could only produce nine of those complaints as evidence. The area is “surrounded by dairy farms so there’s heaps of suspicion around that,” Redfern-Hardisty said in an interview with Newstalk.

When asked if he thought the trust had received monetary donations from “dairy money”, Redfern-Hardisty said it is possible there had been some collaboration. “You’d have to look into is a member of the trust to find out their interest in dairy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them had worked with dairy or ice cream or something,” Redfern-Hardisty said. “It’s New Zealand’s backbone, and it’s a sensitive challenging time for the country, looking like dairy’s on the decline,” he added.

Chairman of MAZ, Colin Gallagher, is very familiar with the dairy industry, having previously run an ice cream business and was a director of a chocolate manufacturer that used animal-based milk. “We have been extremely fair and generousanimal-basedand it is squarely his decision not ours that he changed from offering both dairy and vegan additives to coffee for our customers, to vegan only,” Gallagher told Newstalk.

An online petition was launched to convince MAZ to reconsider its demand that Cool Beans must stock dairy. In under two weeks, it garnered over 14,000 signatures. Redfern-Hardisty announced he would take part in a barefoot walk the length of New Zealand, along the Te Araroa Trail, with the intention of raising money to combat animal cruelty.

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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