Rich The Vegan:
My name is Rich, and I’m a vegan activist originally from England but now living in Canada. I spent my life up to this point looking for a reason, a purpose, a passion, some aim in life. I believe I’ve finally found that worthwhile cause. It’s probably the only cause that matters; trying to protect animals from abuse.
I originally started on the road to being vegan approximately ten years ago. I was living in South Korea and worked with a new vegan called Kevin Lahey. We talked about veganism and animal cruelty. One day he showed me a video of a dog being tortured in the Dog Meat Trade. It hit me like a sledgehammer in my soul and I instantly went vegetarian. I lost touch with Kevin but I listened to my heart and kept learning more about the suffering that animals endure in the agricultural industry. It eventually became more than just about my diet and became a complete way of living, and way I approached the world. It’s hard to say exactly, but it’s probably been over 6 years now of being vegan. I’m 100% vegan for the animals and will always be that way.
Push scooter across South Korea to raise awareness about dog meat.
After I left South Korea, I always thought about the dogs there. It used to keep we awake at night. I used to wake up crying in the morning thinking about those poor dogs. I decided I had to do something to raise awareness about the Dog Meat Trade. I was originally going to run across the country but realised I wasn’t fit enough! The idea for a scooter came about as a way to get attention. I would scoot in the day and would meet dogs along the road. Then at night I would be online desperately trying to find help for the dogs. I was helped by a Korean dog rescuer called Jenny Kim and a rescuer based out of America called Sian Davies and we managed to save some dogs.
One of the dogs was called Kathy. She was in an awful state in a cage when I found her. I brought her to Canada but heartbreakingly she didn’t make it and passed away in my arms. She became the motivation for the Canada trip.
One of the biggest things I learnt since doing the trips is that one person really can make a difference. If every person reading this tried – they could do something and save an animal from abuse. By helping and saving an animal, we actually save a little piece of our soul in the process. I also learnt I’m an extremely stubborn person – once I set a goal, I have to achieve it.
Benefits you’ve noticed switching to a plant-based diet?
One major benefit is that my body adapts so quickly. I did no training for the Korea or Canada trip, but my body quickly got used to the physical strain. Something so simple as changing what I eat has had such positive ripple effects across all areas of my life. I’m very spiritual, my compassion has increased, and I interact with people differently. I’ve learnt to speak truthfully.
Pushing For Hope:
After I came back from the Korean trip, I met a wonderful man called Trey Morrow and he put together the Korean video for me. When I told him I was going to do Canada, he said he would do a series of videos for the trip. Once the trip was over, I had so much footage and Trey suggested we make a documentary and I agreed. Trey came up with the name Pushing for Hope and I thought it was great. Trey is working hard to complete it by summertime this year. My dream is that people can watch the film, see how hard the trip was and then realise that they can make small changes and go vegan.
What advice would you give to someone going vegan?
I would say just do it. Think about the animals. Think about the suffering that your actions cause. Make small changes first. Start cutting products out of your diet and then build on that success. There may be challenging moments, but ultimately, it will make you a better person. Importantly, it will save lives.