My name is Heidi, I’m an actress, writer and passionate vegan activist, happily obsessed with ethical living, health & well-being. I am also an Angel Ambassador for Angels for the Innocent Foundation.
I have written a series of children’s books, ‘The Adventures of Freddy’ www.heidimumford.com which explore vegan themes in a fun and educational way - I belive everything starts with education, and it’s never been more time critical to start enpowering young minds.
My Vegan Journey
My vegan journey started three years ago, after watching undercover footage on UK farms, and then the seminal documentary, 'Earthlings.’ Seeing first-hand the colossal scale of cruelty and suffering which the meat and dairy industry inflicts on animals, as well as the havoc that animal agriculture wreaks on our environment & eco-system, was soul-destroying.
As if that wasn’t enough, I attended a demo outside London Fashion Week, where the sounds of mink, racoon and foxes being skinned alive for people to wear, was the most haunting thing I’d ever heard. The terror and agony in their voices to this day still affects me, and I can no longer accept people have ‘a choice’ to wear or eat what they choose. Personal choice stops being one when there is a victim.
It made me determined to do everything in my power not to add to it, and to try my best to educate as many others as possible to do the same.
I decided that the only way to live with my conscience and to align my core beliefs of non-violence and compassion with my daily choices was the vegan way. I also realised that there is no logical argument against being vegan; from our collective resources and health to animal rights, climate change, species extinction, global poverty, environmental and ecological degradation - eating animals is the leading cause of all of this atrophy, and it is entirely unnecessary.
Having grown up with animals, I could no longer say 'I loved them' while I continued to eat particular ones while living with others. It made no logical sense at all, and it struck me as gross hypocrisy. A meal is quickly forgotten but when there is a victim, and that victim has suffered days, months or years of misery, I couldn't accept that any taste could justify that.
What I quickly discovered was that a vegan lifestyle enables you not just to live, but to THRIVE. Three years in & I have never felt more alive (or eaten better) & I have discovered a world bursting with taste and beauty. I only wish I had done this years ago. With elite sportsman, business pioneers, academics and medical professionals all extolling the virtues of leading a vegan life, the trajectory was made very easy for me to understand.
The reality is that we’ve become conditioned by anxioms like ‘we need meat for protein’ or ‘dairy for calcium’ and we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that we cannot be healthy without animal products, when nothing could be further from the truth. http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/facts/
But I, like many, just didn't understand what was hidden from me. The terrible reality of what goes on in the farms and slaughterhouse which are secreted away behind walls and doors.
The Reality Of Our Choices
'If slaughterhouse had glass walls then we'd all be vegan' Paul McCartney.
As fellow animals who share this planet, I feel it's critical to stand up for the most vulnerable in our society - those without a voice or a choice. Those innocent, playful, loving beings who have never harmed me, and who deserve compassion and respect. They are not here for me, but with me.
Animals are perennially mistreated and exploited, either for food or entertainment, with no recognition of them being the individuals that they are; the non-human beings with feelings, sentience, families and desires; precisely the same as ours.
Like humans, they care for their young, have complex social structures and a strong desire to survive. They have a central nervous system and a face, eyes, noses and ears; simply put, the same cognitive and emotional spectrum as ours - from joy and happiness to sadness, boredom and terror. Believe me, they smell the fear, terror and blood acutely, as they are herded into the gas chambers or to the kill floor, looking on helplessly as they watch their friends and relatives slaughtered in front of them.
Ultimately, I kept asking myself, what if that was me? Wouldn’t I want someone to intervene? To stand up against the cruelty and bullying - and that’s all that happens on these hell-hole farms and in the killing factories. It’s the worst kind of bullying though because animals have absolutely no way of defending themselves.
When we look at farm animals as the sentient, thinking and feeling beings that they are, and no different from our cats and dogs, in many cases a lot smarter, then our natural feelings of compassion and protectiveness are evoked. This is something that all children are born with, but society conditions out of us as we become adults.
For example, I never knew that a pig has problem-solving skills equal to primates, or that they dislike soiling their environment; or that mother pigs 'sing' to their young while nursing them. Now can you imagine the level of agony these sensitive beings endure?
I also didn't know that pigs recognise their own names from when they are babies, or that they enjoy playing ball. I only saw them as the headless, tailless, sanitised packets of flesh that fill the supermarket shelves; ingredients to go into a dish.
Nor did I know that distraught mother cows cry for days or weeks after their babies are forcibly taken from them so we can steal her milk.
Did you know that cows are highly social and love games and that pigs are more intelligent than 3-year-old humans and dogs? No, nor did I.
Farmers who raise animals to be eaten claim that they treat them with 'respect' and even ‘love’ them. I do not see how this is logically possible. Even if it was the nicest 'organic' farm in the world, all animals end up in the same place - the kill floor and the gas chambers, where they are habitually punched, kicked, cut, burnt, electrically prodded and other horrendous things to appalling to cite, which I have witnessed.
Sadly these are not rare or isolated incidents, as countless documentaries and undercover investigations have proven. 'Land of Hope and Glory' 2018 documentary being a primary example. https://www.landofhopeandglory.org
Farmers know what goes on in the slaughterhouses, so to claim they ‘love their animals’ is either a gross lie or a gross delusion.
Facing Up To Facts
The ultimate question is why we would use and exploit animals, knowing that in 2018 we do not have to? Unlike them, we do have a choice and a voice.
Sometimes people become defensive or even aggressive when you ask them why they continue to eat animals. Most often this is because they already feel guilty about the mass suffering that consuming animal products causes on a micro and macro level, but it’s easier to ‘look the other way.’
In some cases, though thanks to social media not many, people will say that ‘didn’t know.’ Whatever the reason, I believe we all have a duty to speak up and out on behalf of those who can’t. Really the question is, if it’s not good enough for your eyes, then why your stomach?
Most people are inherently good, and the idea of causing pain to any living creature is hurtful to them, even if they do not realise how they are contributing to it. It's critical always to speak up and help educate people to the horrendous realities involved. Education is vital in enabling people to align their beliefs with their choices.
Being Vegan: How It Really Is
Contrary to some pretty out-dated preconceptions, not all of us vegans are hippies who exist on a diet of lentils and pulses, as yummy as they are. Nor are we prepared to live a life, which involves feeling ‘deprived’ or ‘going without’. Far from it. By the same token, we are not, for the most part, preachers with a holier than thou smugness and wings poking out from beneath our ‘Ditch Dairy’ tank tops. We’re not perfect -we are human & we all had to start somewhere, and few of us were lucky enough to be raised vegan.
My hope for this blog is to break down some stereotypes & dispel some myths on what it means to be vegan in 2018. There shouldn’t be any frontiers or boundaries to a life of practising kindness and compassion to all life, not just the animals we choose to share our homes with.
I want to help show that it’s not just possible but easy to THRIVE being vegan; to live a life full of passion, fearlessness, creativity and kindness. Never before has living a beautiful and compassionate life been more accessible or more fulfilling, with a plethora of ethical alternatives - from beauty and food to fashion and travel.
Today’s market is full of meat and dairy alternatives, and it's growing exponentially; from vegan eggs and cheese to milk & seafood, (experiment to find your best substitutes-there are plenty - from tofu & seitan to plant milks (all tastes & brands differ, and it’s often a case of experimenting until you find your favourite)
The bonus of being vegan is the sense of well-being and purpose I’ve felt since I no longer pollute my body with toxic animal products. More importantly is the knowledge that by not consuming animal flesh or their secretions, I’m actively helping what’s been called the most significant social justice movement since the abolition of slavery.
I’ll be sharing my adventures as I explore the coolest restaurants & cafes, discover the latest vegan beauty and health brands, not to mention insanely good vegan food!
So relax, put your feet up and enjoy the latest in my top picks on beautiful food, gorgeous beauty, inspiring interviews, travel, news and lots, lots more.