Plant-powered Men / Vegan activists

James Aspey breaks his one year vow of silence for animals

James Aspey copyWhat is Voiceless 365 all about? Why did you embark on this project?

Voiceless365 is a campaign to raise awareness for the voiceless and most oppressed victims of this planet: the animals. I took a 365 day vow of silence to draw attention to their plight and promote peace over violence through my blog and on my travels around Australia. I embarked on this project because I could see something wrong with this world, with the way we treat non-human animals, which is inconsistent with the natural ethic most of us aspire to adhere to. The ethic of non-violence. I felt a duty to act and do something to help those in need. The ones whose voices are not being heard.

Can you tell us a bit about the people you met on your trip? Did you make an impact on some of them? What has the feedback been?

It was a colourful range of people. From hardcore, vegan, animal rights activists, to commercial fisherman and slaughter house workers. I found it interesting how many people I met had never spoken to a vegan before. I think vegans have a unique view of the current ways in which we treat animals so to speak to a vegan for the first time is usually a thought-provoking, eye-opening conversation. I saw many changes in people after coming into contact with me. From something as simple as a new thought planted into their mind, all the way through to someone making the decision that, in light of the new information and in order to be true to themselves, they must go vegan. The feedback has been immense, mostly since my interview with Sunrise when I broke my vow and spoke for the first time. Countless messages of gratitude, praise and encouragement from people inspired by my journey. And even more exciting than that, countless messages from people who have gone, are going, or want to go vegan!

How has the media responded to your action? Do you have any media tips for activists who want to do their own projects?

Since the interview I’ve done about 10 radio interviews, all with very positive, interested hosts who have been excited by my mission. Some people are working on getting me on The Ellen Show, so we’ll see what happens about that. In terms of media tips for activists, I’m the worst person to ask. I had friends that knew what they were doing and contacted the media for me. So I guess that’s my advice, get cool friends on board who care about the cause and will help you make it happen.

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What does being vegan mean to you?

Being vegan to me is just such a natural, normal thing to be. We usually are against animal cruelty and harming others, yet we’ve been conditioned to making an exception of it by eating meat, cheese, milk and eggs, or by enjoying some other pleasure out of their suffering. Going vegan is realising that harming others is not ok, for any reason, and then living in alignment with that belief. It is a conscious attempt to minimise the cruelty and suffering you are personally contributing to by not purchasing any products created from violence, torture or murder. It is a peaceful, beautiful thing that once you embrace it, you feel an inner transformation and know without a doubt, you are on the right path.

How did you manage not speaking for an entire year? Did you need to write a lot of notes to order in restaurants, for example?

I become a master at playing Charades. I made up my own sign language which was using actions that described the word I was talking about. If that failed, I’d resort to the pen and paper. I also mouthed words without the voice. It was challenging and frustrating, but it was all for the cause and that was all the motivation I needed to keep it up till the end. 

Where was the most memorable place you visited and why?

Sadly, the most memorable place I went to was a pig farm. I’ve been to plenty, and they are all horrific, nightmares of places, but in this particular place I witnessed something that truly broke my heart. There was a tiny baby, being trampled by her brothers and sisters as they all fought to feed from their mother who was stuck in a cage so small she could do nothing but stand up and lie back down. We moved the baby to an empty corner of their cell, and I watched her writhing in pain and struggling to breathe. I’m sure she would have died soon later. I looked around at the countless other pigs, whose fate was equally as tragic, and have never felt so helpless. It was a moment I doubt I’ll ever forget.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes. if you aren’t vegan, please go vegan. It’s so easy, so rewarding, and so vital if we are to live in peace with our fellow Earthlings, and with ourselves. Let’s leave the cruelty and violence behind, and embrace a more kind, loving, and respectful world. Once you have gone vegan, please help others to do the same.

Website: Facebook/Instagram: Voiceless365 

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