Free-spirited Luna Lovegood of the Harry Potter series possesses a quiet courage: She’s a nonjudgmental, gentle soul who takes the side of the oppressed simply because it’s right. Evanna Lynch—the Irish actress who portrays her in the movies—seems to share those traits. Through her weekly podcast, The ChickPeeps, the passionate animal advocate gently encourages her fans to try plant-based eating, and she’s teamed up with Humane Society International to speak out against the cat and dog meat trade in Asia.

In this edited interview with All Animals, Lynch discusses her advocacy work and shares ways her fans can join the fight for all animals.

Evanna Lynch
Between roles on the screen and on the stage, actress Evanna Lynch dedicates her time to animal advocacy.
Photo courtesy of Evanna Lynch

What drew you to animal advocacy?

I always felt an affinity with animals. Being an introverted, socially awkward child, it was a relief to hang out with gentle, nonjudgmental, unprejudiced beings. They are more innocent and more vulnerable than us, and that is an invitation for us to be kind and to protect these precious creatures.

I went vegetarian at 11 when I started to realize I could question my food choices. In my late teens, I narrowed my focus of activism to animals as I felt they most urgently needed help and change on a global scale. I read the book Eating Animals, and I found myself crying and distressed and agreeing 100 %. I began my vegan transition after that.

How do you maintain a balance between your advocacy and your acting career?

That is a question I ask myself every week. My calling is definitely as an artist so I’ve had to work on establishing boundaries. I also believe there’s a place where both intersect perfectly, in stories like Charlotte’s Web and Babe that drew me in as a child and made me feel for animals. I see that there is much more opportunity for art and animal activism to overlap.

You’ve worked with Humane Society International to speak out against the dog and cat meat trade in Asia. What do you hope people learn from your message?

We’re trying to make people aware that the same cruel practices that happen to farm animals are happening to perfectly healthy, lovable cats and dogs in Asia. They are the same species that are curled up on our armchairs, and they are being raised in cages, transported for days without sustenance and then murdered in front of each other. We need to keep pressure on the Chinese government to stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and make them understand that tourists are horrified by these “traditions.”

I also hope that the parallel conditions suffered by these dogs and cats in Asia and farm animals will wake people up to the injustices of the agricultural industry. I really hope that will give all animal lovers pause.

When your fans make that connection, what actions do you suggest they take next?

Firstly, I would say watch a documentary about animal agriculture—Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Vegucated. Or watch Dominion, a new documentary, which is very hard-hitting.

Another thing you can do is spay and neuter your pets. I grew up in the countryside where cats were forever breaking into our garage and having litters of kittens, and I loved the experience of watching kittens open their eyes and learn to walk. But there are millions of sweet, scared babies being put into shelters and euthanized. The problem is vast and the solutions are not perfect, but spaying and neutering spares other animals. And that way you could offer a home to an old and lonely rescue cat who needs you more than you need a litter of kittens.

Beautiful grey cat named Puff
Evanna’s cat, Puff

Speaking of cats, you share lots of photos of your kitty, Puff, on social media. How does she inspire you to speak out for animals?

Puff inspires me with how sweet and spirited she is. She is my one constant in life, the one soul that I always return to, and that’s very grounding. 

And finally, let’s talk about Luna Lovegood! She’s such a kind and compassionate character. Are there lessons about empathy we can take from her? 

She absolutely has the same way of looking at the world as animals do. She doesn’t make a million judgments in her head. I think humans fail to appreciate the beauty and worth of animals because they’re so different to us. We see them and think “less intelligent,” “weird-looking, “less sentient,” and therefore think they’re less important. If we could look at the world as Luna does, as all animals do, we would look at animals’ differences and just let them be.

I was drawn to Luna for her ability to have compassion and love for every living being. She really does love other beings in a pure, undemanding, good way. Every time she came on the page she made me feel relief, like she was someone I could exist by and never feel like I wasn’t enough or that I needed to try to be liked. That was a radical lesson, and it’s a vibe I aspire to share with others, too.

See more photos of Evanna and Puff on Instagram (@msevylynch). You’ll also find a link to her podcast, The ChickPeeps.

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