Raise awareness
Vee are the People: Meet Roee Shpernik
Matan Buganim
January 12, 2021

With his photography, Roee Shpernik seeks to raise awareness for those who don't have a voice. Read on to learn about his inspirational journey from being an indifferent carnivore to establishing a revolution called "Total Liberation" and "Glass Walls."


What inspired you to go vegan?

"I grew up in Netanya, where the barbecue is the family thing. I liked eating animals and everything that comes out of them. Only at the age of 22, after the army, as part of my personal development process, I read a book about karma and the animals' experiences in the abattoir. I was captured by a story of a cow who experienced horror in the slaughterhouse, and whoever eats it eats meat with these horrifying energies. Suddenly this huge question hit me. I never asked anything: if it's delicious, I'll eat it. Then the question popped into my mind - would I take a knife and cut a cow's throat and eat it for lunch? I didn't think so, so from that moment I never ate meat again.

I was sure I was the only vegetarian in Netanya.

These are the actual studies of the researchers. They intentionally caused mental disorders to test the monkeys on psychiatric pills, open their skulls, and examine their brains. She switched from carnivorism to veganism because of her exposure to this reality, which led us to watch a documentary film about how the animal industry funds studies to claim animal-products are healthy. All the while, those who oppose this "all you can eat" worldview have no resources. There are no huge corporations that say 'eat healthy'. A lie led us to veganism."


What moved you to begin speaking out for animals?

"9 years ago, if I saw a lame, crying dog, or a friend told me he volunteered at a dog shelter, I couldn't hear it, I would change the subject. It was too hard for me. Fate - I believe in fate, and that reality has led me to the issue of animals. I am a professional photographer, and fate has led me to this point that I used my skills as a photographer to help animals, reveal what they experience and how their reality really is. It's not what you see in the advertisements and marketing campaigns made by corporations whose whole purpose is to engineer human beings' consciousness to consume as much of their products as possible. It's a mass industry. In little Israel alone, a million animals are slaughtered every day, and hundreds of millions are raised at any given moment.

For such a production to be profitable, in order to enslave tons of animals... and we're talking about tiny Israel's data. Think about the global scale of it. How many polluted and crowded cages. They are not supposed to be in this world naturally. It's an artificial creation. These animals were created for human consumption. "


What brought you to found "Glass Walls"?

"My affair with veganism and the animal struggle began when I attended a vegan Lag BaOmer event. After the first event, I attended more events and started going to protests.I am a professional photographer, so I started taking photos and making videos that shatter vegan myths. I began showing things from my perspective, gained supporters, and became connected.

I had one very significant moment - I was sitting on my bed with the laptop, and I went through my Facebook feed. Within a few months, I gained hundreds of new vegan friends. Suddenly I realized that my Facebook feed is full of animal abuse, trampling, electrocution, dead dogs, horrors and horrors. I said to myself: I'm either unfollowing all these pages - after all, I have not eaten animals for years - or I'm doing something that is far beyond what I have done so far. I just grabbed my two cameras with me and got out of the house. I started walking and decided that I would tell the story of the animals.

I got to the city market. I studied documentary photography, and you usually photograph the colors, the people, the smells. You create an atmosphere. That's what I learned in my training. Suddenly I came as an undercover investigator. I walked around the market and got to a fish stall, and the owner asked me if I wanted to buy fish. I got anxious, made two pictures of the eye of the fish, and kept going. I decided it was too big for me and left the market.

All of a sudden, someone yelled for me from a meat shop. I thought I was busted. I got into the shop and didn't need to ask the owner to do anything. He just started modeling everything. He took a tongue from the shop window, wore it as if it were his tongue, and said, "photograph this." He thought I was a reporter from the newspaper and that he is doing an advertisement. I got eight good pictures from that day. I edited them in Photoshop. I uploaded an album to my profile and called it "Glass Walls." I wrote a line: Today, I started telling the story of animals. "


Did it have the impact you wanted?

"Even as I uploaded the album, I still had mixed feelings. I wasn't sure I was going to continue with it. But then it gained quite a lot of likes and comments. Discussions were like "Enough with your nonsense, meat is great," "Well done, what a beautiful picture quality," or "Strong image." I felt like I wasn't done. I wanted to do it professionally.

I consulted with people who understand the field. I consulted with Ronen Bar, who did the Animals' investigation on "Adum Adum" and transformed many people to vegetarianism and veganism at that time. And with Tal Gilboa, my girlfriend for several years. Today, they are shaking from us together, but back then, if we would go to a barn, the farmer would talk to us and explain his methods.

From the moment I met Tal, we clicked. We quickly set up the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a field movement that focuses on direct activities, protests and performances, and I uploaded all the documentation to my Facebook album 'Glass Walls.'"


You see terrible things on a daily basis. How do you cope with the horrors?

"I have developed an elephant skin. I am one of the leading documenters globally, not as a cliché but as a reality. Our documentation project in the dairy and poultry industries is one of the most extensive in the world.  I encounter death, and in front of my eyes many times.

It was hard for me to see animals suffer, but today I eat sandwiches while watching slaughters. Not in the sense that I became a zombie, but more like a veterinarian or a surgeon that deals with blood, see surgeries, and is not disgusted... I work. That's my job."

Do you believe that radical activities like yours help address this issue?

"Yes. The main problem is that people are not exposed to reality. They don't want to be exposed to reality. When you watch cooking shows, the flashes you get about something vegan related are super short. If you already manage to infiltrate an investigation into the existing media system, it will usually be censored. In the news, they will prefer to blame the junior employee or correct the deficiencies. In recent years it has improved a bit but also not well enough.

We create insane deterrence in front of the industry. They are afraid of us. They know we see them and can do a covert investigation.

'Glass Walls'" is an ideological approach to reveal reality, create the right publicity about it, and break the lie wrapping the 'product' - The brand. The meadow. The shining sun. The happy chicken. The smiling cow.

People want to eat delicious food. The majority are not interested in being yogis who do Vipassana fasts. They are interested in doing a BBQ with the family.

Today you have solutions. There are achievements and progress. We're reaching a more significant public consciousness. We're succeeding in creating another path, a path that bypasses the animal extermination industry. You see the results - in the increasing number of vegans. This field is very prosperous, and its economic data is wealth and happiness. This is where the world goes - keeping the environmental interest so we can live in a good world and not a world of destruction.

I am happy about this decision I had that day of going and taking pictures. I believe in a higher power, in God, in destiny, and prefer to be on the right side of karma. I am glad that I made a decision that, looking back, was very significant. The quality of the materials, the number of materials, the crazy push we did in the field. We're still pushing, from other angles as well, not what we did in the past. We build a good structure for where we are today. There is no rule book. Not everything that applies in 2017 applies in 2021, and not everything that works in France or Chila or Brazil works in Israel. There are complexities, and Israeli society is also changing."

How has public perception changed regarding animal rights during this time in Israel?

"In Israel today, 95% of the public oppose animal abuse, and there is a massive demand for this process to be improved. Even meat-eaters are willing to spend more money on their meals to soothe their conscience.

One of the main things here is social networks. In many areas, social networks reveal problems that have never been exposed. In the past, you were fed by one channel. Social networks have given us tremendous momentum for messages and help gain exposure.

Eight years ago, only 2.5% of Israel's population was vegan or vegetarian. Today, 5% of the Israel population are vegan, about 7% are vegetarians, and there are many reducers.

There are a million people who do not eat meat in Israel. It's political power, and it's economic power, it's something that counts."

With such successes in public opinion, what are the current challenges for the Israel animal rights movement?

"We were very naive when we started seven years ago, and we lost that innocence. I'm now the association's director, and Tal is no longer part of the association. She's now an adviser to the Prime Minister - that's politics.

We also need to mature, jump into the deep water. We cant raise a "meat is murder" sign for 30 years. I don't underestimate this, but we are no longer there.

The country ultimately has a lot of interest groups: Kibbutzim, Moshavim, coopers, cowherds, butchers, breeders, slaughterhouses, lobby groups of hunters, traditional people in the Muslim and Jewish public. There is a struggle here, but we got to the point where we went through the process of knocking on the door, and Tal is sitting where she should be sitting in the Prime Minister's Office. If I have a particular problem and I used to pick up signs and protest in the past, today it's resolved in a phone call many times.

The situation could be worse. In countries like Georgia or Ukraine, even Australia, where there is a high vegan percentage, 40% of all exports are livestock industry. Rich people have more power than countries. The world is built on this economy. It's useless to come up with empty slogans without a solution. We have to be the solution.

I respect everyone who protests. We want to develop into a vegan empire, be a light to the Gentiles, export to the whole world of cultured meat, to have countless vegan products, weaken the industry, and dilute it. To the point that people switch to veganism because they value it more - it's tastier, healthier, more economical. There are still problems, but twenty years from now, it will be a completely different game."


Can you give any advice or tips for activists wanting to get into this kind of work?

"This style of work is like being in the Mossad or the Shabak. It's not for everyone.

Anyone can take a photo, but you need to do it wisely. It scares people when they see an activist who goes all the way.

My advice is to develop durability because it's not going to end soon, it's going to be a long road, and I say this to any vegan who doesn't want to stay vegan only on his plate.

True, even liking and writing a comment is a kind of activism. Only a few take on the heavy burden of leading it, sometimes with grave personal consequences.

Happily, today we see fruits for our work. But, most of the time, we would come back from very difficult documentation and encounter human alienation, people mocking animals without caring for anything other than eating their meal.

We must be resilient and strong leaders who can utilize our power to help animals. To bring an end to one of the worst crimes this world has experienced and I believe that the end justifies the means here."

Do you need to have any specific skills?

"Leadership is an acquired skill, I was not born a leader. You need certain qualities, but mostly you need a vision. There is an existing reality. In 2012, it was reality X, which was dark. One has to imagine, not 30 years ahead, but try to predict a year, two years, five years on, try to lead a specific line and achieve it.  

I want to end the animals' holocaust. Changing the state of animals means several strategic fronts, which we need to reach in a few years, and today my strategy is different."


What is different today?

"We used to think that if a thousand people would climb on an abattoir, we could end it all, now I know this is nonsense. We would have been evacuated. We got arrested in the past. There is no way to reach masses of vast numbers of people paralyzing the industry and not snatching crazy lawsuits. It's a dead-end.

Eventually, From an activist platform, we got to the legislature, and we fight from there. I believe that Tal's connection to Netanyahu has completely changed the game. I see it in front of my eyes. We're progressing fiercely. My girlfriend, the co-founder of "Glass Walls," is now the Animal Rights Prime Minister Advisor."


What did you do before becoming an animal activist?

"Before I was an animal rights activist, I worked at a hostel for people with autism, managed a project for people suffering from mental illness, and worked in a kindergarten for four years, accompanying kids with special needs. I was born into a particular world with a huge urge to do good. In the end, I got to the weakest of all. I volunteered for weakened and poor populations, but the poorest are animals, and most of the world's populations do horrible things to them."


How can people make a difference?

"Be vegan."

What activism gave to you?

"I am grateful for the opportunity that activism gave me to give and help others. I'm not doing this to make a profit, but I'm gaining a lot of satisfaction from it, that it heals. I believe in God. I have experienced this throughout my life. I look at myself in the big picture and say - overall, this guy is trying to do good."


Share it with others


Be the change
Our team of experts will help you make your impact goals a reality.
Resources for teams
"I Rode a Horse Today"
How volunteering on a farm can help change lives.
Resources for teams
"Love and humanity will save the world": 3 personal stories from Ukraine
These stories moved and inspired us, and we know you'll feel the same.
Raise awareness
'Heart to Plate' is bringing generations together
How two students decided to bring joy to elderly folks living alone
Resources for teams
5 Trendy Ways to Engage Employees and Boost Motivation
Show interest, build community, cooperate, communicate, and...
Raise awareness
Action Tutoring is closing attainment gaps all over England
Volunteering as a tutor for just 8 hours can have a great impact.
Resources for teams
An HR Guide for Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19
4 steps to a smooth return to the office and renewed growth.
Resources for teams
Are you hiring?
Why you should prioritize candidates who volunteer
Resources for teams
Best Places to Volunteer this Thanksgiving
Meaningful opportunities in NYC, San Francisco, London, and Florida.
Raise awareness
Children in Care
We must talk about youth at risk of abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
Resources for teams
Employee Volunteering: Why is it Important for Business?
Volunteering boosts employee pride, retention, and development.
Raise awareness
Enjoy Every Moment: A Conversation with The CMT4B3 Research Foundation
When 3-year-old Hunter got his diagnosis, his parents took action.
Resources for teams
Everyone Loves a Good Post: A How-to Guide for Impact-Driven Social Media Managers
How to share authentic and inspirational content about volunteering.
Resources for teams
Hand in Hand (Hebrew)
A special video in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.
Resources for teams
How Can Employee Volunteering Improve Your Employer Branding?
3 reasons why volunteering will boost your brand image right away.
Raise awareness
How a Wall Street Professional Became a Climate Activist
Three days after 9/11, Soledad Haren began a new journey in life.
Raise awareness
How to Leverage Corporate Volunteering for Your Nonprofit
Learn how to build trusting relationships with qualified volunteers.
Raise awareness
How to Recruit Volunteers Online?
Easily promote your activities to skilled volunteers in your area
Up your game
Learn how to make your startup a reality
An entrepreneur's journey: special live webinar with May Piamenta
Resources for teams
The Great Resignation and the Greater Good
Volunteering will help you attract and retain top talent.
Raise awareness
The Hunger Crisis
By 2030, more than 840 million people are expected to be hungry.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Adam Folkman Lubrani
How one nonprofit helped small businesses survive covid lockdowns.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Daniel Kovler
This startup founder with ADHD is changing STEM education for good.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Gadi Solomon
Gadi's main goal is to make volunteering part of his company's DNA.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Gili Singer
How one woman connects with African refugees in Israel through dance.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Inbar Shashua Bar-Nir
Providing grants to help rehabilitate small businesses post-covid
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Kama Berman
An actress shares her insights on the healing power of the arts.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Keren Sade
How volunteers can find hope in seemingly hopeless situations
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Leah Tonic
A movement of mutual aid takes a stand against oppression.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Maayan Zweig
The role of Impact Development Consultants in social entrepreneurship.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Michal Ben Shabtay
How kids are volunteering to help their friends with disabilities
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Mor Cheayat
Mor has found a way to nourish her soul by protecting the vulnerable.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Mor Yahav Peretz
This week's interview is with Mor Yahav Peretz
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Ori Knafo
Leveraging innovative approaches to support students in rural Israel.
Raise awareness
Vee are the People: Meet Roee Shpernik
Using photography to raise awareness for those without a voice.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Sagi Braitner
This singer, actor, and beatboxer found his purpose by volunteering.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Sheggy Shachar
The life of an ecological activist and entrepreneur in the desert.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Shiran Nissan
The Princess of Volunteering shares her story and expert tips.
Success stories
Vee are the People: Meet Yaara Zered
Standing up to injustice and seeking truth as an EMT and a journalist.
Up your game
Webinar: How Volunteering Can Boost Your Financial Performance
Join our webinar on Monday, May 23, 2022.
Up your game
Webinar: Transform your organization by empowering women
Get practical tips to recruit more women to your organization and empo
Resources for teams
When's the last time you did something for the first time?
Volunteering helps you learn new things, meet new people, and grow.
Resources for teams
Why is it important to volunteer?
Volunteers help community members understand that they're valued.
Raise awareness
Win $1,000 for your women-led nonprofit!
We're giving away $1k to 1 women-led nonprofit in NYC for Women's Day.