When I first started my vegan journey three years ago, having been a pescatarian for most of my life, I realised that choosing to practice a vegan lifestyle is the only moral choice I could make; for the animals, the environment, broader human rights and my own health. I also came to understand that being vegan is not enough and 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. We’ve been so conditioned to believe axioms such as: ‘you need meat for protein’ or, ‘dairy for calcium and strong bones,’ when the truth could be more different. This erroneous information and social conditional made me determined to get to the truth.
It was a painful journey, uncovering the real facts which industries, such as the meat and dairy, try to hide and dissemble 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 beings. Animals are sentient, they have the same emotional spectrum as ours and feel pain every bit as much as we do. The recognition of their sentience is in fact enshrined in UK legislation, so then, what a perverse anomaly that we pay for 60 billion a year to be maimed, mutilated and exploited for no necessity, or justifiable reason.
Whether it’s the elephants beaten and abused since babies so humans can ride on their back, or the dolphins, stolen from the wild and condemned to live in a concrete tank; or the billions of farm animals tortured and mutilated on the hell-hole farms, or the despicable fur trade which skins animals alive for coats; animals are powerless to defend themselves. We must speak up and out on behalf of those who cannot. Silence is complicity, and no amount of suffering can ever justify a transitory moment of taste or enjoyment at the expense of others.
While a lot of what we see is extremely harrowing, I try to send a positive message by showing people how easy and fulfilling leading a compassionate life actually is - from food to fashion. 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.
It's all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of cruelty going on in the world, so I try to be as active as possible to combat feeling helpless. Whether it's attending marches and demonstrations, engaging in parliamentary debates or simply using my social media channels to raise awareness, there’s always a positive way we can highlight the plight of those without a voice and those who need ours the most.
With Veganism going mainstream and growing at an exponential rate - in the UK alone the vegan market is worth over 7 billion pounds - there’s 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.