When I first started my vegan journey four years ago, I concluded that it was the only moral choice I could make - for the animals, the environment, broader human rights and my own health. I realised that when I said I was an 'animal lover' it didn't tally with my actions. Yes, I love my dogs and companion animals, but what of the others with equal or superior intelligence? Those that through my consumer choices, I was causing untold and needless suffering.
From this point on, I also came to understand that being vegan is not enough; that I had to do everything in my power to raise awareness around the exploitation and abuse of animals worldwide; from the deplorable lives endured by farm animals to the unconscionable use of animals as entertainment.
The more research I did, the more I came to understand how much information is hidden from us. It was a painful journey, uncovering the real facts which industries, notably the meat and dairy industries, try to hide from us. Paul McCartney once said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls then we'd all be vegan," and I firmly believe that it is morally incumbent on us to educate ourselves and others about the actual cost our choices have on other living, feeling beings. Animals are sentient; they have the same emotional spectrum as we do and feel pain every bit as much as we do. The recognition of their sentience is enshrined in UK legislation so then, what a perverse anomaly that we send over 60 billion land animals a year to suffer a terrifying and painful death.
Whether it's the elephants being beaten and abused since babies so humans can ride on their back, or dolphins who stolen from their families in the wild and condemned to live in a concrete tank; or the billions of farm animals tortured and mutilated on dairy and meat farms, or the despicable fur trade which skins animals alive for coats and hats.
Animals are powerless to defend themselves. We must speak up and out on behalf of those who cannot. We live in an age where information is a digital click away, and by sharing this information, I hope I can encourage people to make compassionate lifestyle choices and make the transition with enjoyment.
With Veganism going mainstream and growing at an exponential rate - in the UK alone the vegan market is worth over 7 billion pounds - there has never been a better time to align morals with action and live with compassion for others.
The Whale Bowl is an award winning documentary I narrated and which has gone on to win critical acclaim internationally. I was honoured to be a part of this project, which highlights the desperate plight of captive cetaceans the world over.