A lioness and her four young cubs in a national park in Kenya. World Animal Protection believes that wild animals should be left in the wild and not be used for entertainment. Credit Line: iStock. by Getty Images

Honoring 10 AAPI Leaders in Animal Welfare



Learn about members of the AAPI community who are making positive change for animals.

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month recognizes the influence and cultural contributions of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in America. Each year, AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated in May to commemorate the first arrival of Japanese immigrants to the US in May of 1843 and to recognize the completion of the transcontinental railroad (built primarily by Chinese individuals) in May of 1869.

This year’s theme of AAPI Heritage Month is leadership, and we’re honoring ten members of the AAPI community who are leading the way in animal welfare.

Sandee Ting Simshauser

Sandee Ting Simshauser is Vice Chair at Farm Sanctuary. She helps lead the organization to fight against factory farming, work towards reforming the US farm system, and maintain its farm animal sanctuaries in New York and California. Additionally, Sandee is a board member of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, a non-profit that empowers Asians and new immigrants. Sandee leads a vegan lifestyle and is passionate about animal rights.

Nirva Patel

Nirva Patel is an animal lawyer and Global Policy Fellow at the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School, where she works to improve the lives of wild and farmed animals through the legal system. Nirva has produced the documentary The Game Changers, which features elite plant-based athletes. She also serves on the International Vegan Film Festival board, is a board member of Farm Sanctuary, and leads a vegan lifestyle.

Anupa Asokan

Anupa Asokan is a Senior Advocate in the Nature Program, Oceans Division at The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Anupa works to protect and preserve California’s marine ecosystems, wildlife, and biodiversity. Additionally, she sits on the board of the Surfrider Foundation, an organization that fights for ocean protection and coastal preservation.

George Lee

George Lee is a chef and author who creates and shares plant-based recipes. While growing up in Taiwan, George fell in love with Taiwanese cooking. Upon studying Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, George became interested in alternative meat technology and incorporating plant-based foods into his diet. George shares his delicious plant-based recipes on social media (his Instagram and TikTok have a combined 1.4M followers) and is currently working on a plant-based Taiwanese cookbook.

Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan

Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan are the founders of plant-based instant ramen brand Immi Eats. They both fell in love with cooking while working in the food markets in Thailand and Taiwan. Immi Eats was initially founded to help their families improve their health through plant-based foods and education and offers ramen flavors like Black Garlic “Chicken,” Spicy “Beef,” and Tom Yum “Shrimp.”

Crystal Pang

Crystal Pang is a blogger and founder of Vegan Eats NYC. With over 60k social media followers and featured in VegNews, Crystal scopes out plant-based restaurants and plant-based menus and grocery items in NYC and worldwide to share with her audience. She advocates against animal cruelty and abuse and has led a vegan lifestyle since she was 12 years old.

Aubry and Kale Walch

Siblings Kale and Aubry Walch are the founders of The Herbivorous Butcher, one of our favorite plant-based food companies! Aubry spent years creating plant-based alternatives to the foods she loved eating while growing up in Guam. Inspired by Aubry, Kale transitioned to a plant-based diet and co-founded what is now perhaps the most well-known fully plant-based butcher shop. The Herbivorous Butcher’s products can be found at its flagship in Minneapolis, MN, and in retailers nationwide. Aubry and Kale have recently launched a non-profit farm sanctuary, Herbivorous Acres.

Jeff Kurosaki

Jeff Kurosaki is the co-founder of vegan apothecary Meow Meow Tweet. Jeff sought to create small-batch vegan personal care products that are low-waste, cruelty-free, and inclusive. In co-founding Meow Meow Tweet, they hoped to show consumers that personal care products can be high-quality and kind to animals and the environment. Their products have certifications through B Corporation, Plastic Negative, and Leaping Bunny International.

This year’s theme of AAPI Heritage Month is leadership, and we’re honoring ten members of the AAPI community who are leading the way in animal welfare.