Describe your veganism in a word

Fiona was asked to describe her veganism in one word & then expand on that.

This is what she wrote:

I’m a vegan human.  I don’t know how to define my veganism in one word as it applies to all aspects of my life, the way I live that life and the very reason I live.  I have been vegan for most of that life – over 40 years.

I am an athlete because I am vegan not a vegan because I am an athlete.  I am a sanctuary owner because I care passionately for all animals everywhere and want to be able to offer some hand of help, refuge and and comfort to those who suffer abuse.  I am an ethical vegan because I believe any form of cruelty or exploitation of our human or non human brothers, sisters and our planet is wrong.

If I had to use one word to describe myself it could possibly be ‘activist’ in that I feel actions often speak louder than words and cannot be so easily and readily ignored.  I know I am not important or significant enough to be judged wholly on my opinions alone, I learned this through experience years ago.  This is when I reasoned my only hope to give a voice to the voiceless was to have a platform on which to speak in order to magnify my capacity to be heard.  That “platform’ I have spent the past 20 years of my life ‘erecting’ through my running, breaking World Records and winning for the animals proudly sporting my Vegan Runner vest.  No way can people ignore the word, the fact, when it is displayed so visibly for all to see. In other words, I am not a runner, my reasons for running are in order to create proof positive that veganism is a viable option for the masses, to destroy the myth that it is lacking in dietary requirements, unhealthy and inhibitive to sporting excellence, endeavour and endurance.

By breaking 3 World Records in extreme endurance sports I hope I have achieved this coupled with the longevity and consistency of my career and results.  Results being the important factor in the equation as, so often, words, opinions and ideals can and will be ignored, distorted or ridiculed.

I am not a talented or gifted athlete, just a tenacious and angry woman who is frustrated and desperate to find a way to encourage the masses out there to try and see the world as I do.  To understand the reasons behind their reluctance or inability to open their hearts and minds to the suffering of others and equip them with the tools they need to enable them to do so – not only for the animals but for the environment, the people who share this planet as well as themselves.  To give them the keys to unlock the door to compassion is the reason I run – to illustrate that being vegan could be of such great benefit to individuals in so many ways they may not have even considered.

Ethical veganism does not mean denial as is so often portrayed and promoted by the media and press, instead it offers liberation from the slavery of mass marketing of major corporations who simply wish to make money, very often through the exploitation of the innocent, vulnerable and voiceless ‘others’.  Veganism is the healthiest option for people and the only ones to ‘suffer’ from its growth and popularity are those who profit from the misery involved in ignoring it.

Why I run my Sanctuary, get up at 3.30 am every day, 365 days a year is a much less complex matter.  The animals need help, hope and hospitality in other words they need a home.  Doesn’t everyone want a safe, secure and solid place to call home – their own Sanctuary.  Why should animals be so different? Why should they not have the rights humans demand for themselves?  We seek so much for ourselves yet expect so little for them – how can this be right?

Simply said, it isn’t and this is why I run Towerhill Stables Animal Sanctuary which offers a home of love, dignity, peace, security to 400 rescued animals.  Rescued from what?  The abuses of mankind and the reasons behind my ethical veganism.  So yes, veganism is a way of life, my way of life.  I try to weigh up and make all my judgements and decisions based on what I believe might or will benefit the animals the most.

I am not perfect, I am not always right, I realise I have my limitations, I can’t change the world, I have a very limited time to make any difference at all but, as I said above, I am just human!

Fiona Oakes

for our future