Donna Oakes

Donna_withnameI founded Cow Jones Industrials Vegan Boutique in May of 2007. For 5 years, it was a brick and mortar shop in Chatham, New York. At the end of September 2012, the shop closed but the business continued as an e-commerce site.

I wanted to have a business that was a reflection of my beliefs. I have been vegan since 1989 – it was and will always be because of the animals. When I first considered opening a vegan shop, it seemed that there were designers out there who were specifically creating vegan products. The timing seemed right to open a storefront where I could be a presence for the animals, showing consumers that there are beautiful and sustainable options that don’t involve harming our animal friends.  I am the granddaughter of coal miners – my father was involved in various unions all his life and so fair labor practices are also very important to me .

After transitioning to veganism, I became very active with the organization Trans Species Unlimited in NYC and smaller, informal groups of activists. I read everything I could get my hands on as far as animal rights books, etc. There seemed to be a lot of momentum back then for effecting change. I moved out of the city in 1997 and my involvement in activism changed through the years. Opening the shop in 2007 was a different form of activism – to some, it might only have been a shop, but there were photos of animals with messages on them scattered throughout the shop and in the storefront windows. I had brochures for numerous sanctuaries and I had my own personal library of books on animal rights that people could borrow.

A spark was ignited for me again when I became involved with The Ghosts in Our Machine ( as one of the coaches of the 5-Day Ghost-Free Journey

This has been a true honor for me to be involved with this and has motivated me to begin delving again into the issues – this time around, I am mostly interested in how to help people to make connections and to facilitate change.



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