Ep. 56: Jess McKay, Change a mindset, change an industry

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Meet Our Guest: Jess McKay Puppets makes professional hand puppets for film/tv/web and stage projects. All puppets are made using 100% vegan materials. Jess McKay is also a SAG-AFTRA puppeteer, and the creator of Probably Witch, the internet’s most musical witch.

In his industry, there is a huge blind spot: feathers in puppets. Ostrich feathers are a very common building material. It takes at least 40 turkeys to make one big bird costume.

Jess sees a direct parallel between the use of fur in fashion and the use of feathers in puppets. He has been speaking up for animal rights in the puppet industry and working to make using feathers taboo.

He has been developing feather alternatives and sharing his finding with the industry. He has already made some waves, and lots of people agree with him. He has received so many messages of “I just didn’t know” and “I never thought about the birds”.

Another big issue for Jess as a puppeteer is that he will not participate in any shows that promote animal abuse. This means pretty much no cooking shows or commercials that promote non-vegan goods or services. This sets him apart from most other puppeteers in the industry. He also speaks out against this abuse, which angers other puppeteers in the industry. He has been told multiple times that his vocal activism costs him work, and he considers that a form of anti-vegan bias and discrimination.

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