“Imagine... you're allowed to crush the heart of another individual... and you choose not to... that's how beautiful living vegan is… that's how beautiful we can all live!” - Jason Moroney.
Jason and I met while both looking at a stall in Bristol Vegfest. He is very easy to talk to and we have similar outlooks on things. He also shared another view on certain topics and got me thinking deeper!! Recently I took the opportunity to have a chat with him for my show and find out a bit more.
Aka: Vegan Love Baby.
Jason believes if you exist you are equal, and that you don't need to know someone to love them.
He promotes that the physical or mental differences, and with that the abilities an individual has, shouldn't be a criteria for how nice you are to them.
That if you take the physical and mental differences of an individual away, all that's left is their existence. Which means if you exist you are equal, as their existence is the only criteria left, related to you deciding how nice you are to them.
And he cheekily promotes this quote, by chalking it throughout Dublin city: “Imagine... you're allowed to crush the heart of another individual... and you choose not to... that's how beautiful living vegan is… that's how beautiful we can all live!”
- How did your Vegan journey start?
Prompt was: A college friend asked me “if you could eat lab grown meat would you?”, with me answering “yes, if a cow doesn't have to die I don't want her to!”
From there I looked up lab grown meat, which led me to articles which illustrated that no animals products are required at all. The same thought applied “if a cow or anyone doesn't have to die I don't want them to!”
Once this was realised I stopped. My food tasted like crap because I didn't know how to cook, though I felt too bad. I couldn't even wear my boots anymore, walking around in someone else's skin, effectively promoting it as an acceptable thing to do.
I couldn't do that, I couldn't benefit from their loss anymore, and I definitely couldn't promote the acceptance of it, passively influencing others to do as I do. That's what happens, when someone sees you wearing their skin, it tells them, this is an okay thing to do.
I couldn't have that on my conscience, it was bad enough knowing I’ve paid for such terrible things to happen to them for so long. I had a duty to do whatever I could to rectify, to somehow counterbalance the destruction that came from my ignorance.
Prior to this whilst in Vietnam, the indifference vail related to eating other animals had started to be lifted. We drove along on the scooter and stopped at the cafe that was the busiest, as it's a sure sign the food will be good there.
Sitting with a large group of travellers and being open to new experiences we randomly ordered from the menu. Chewing on the meat, which I only refer to as flesh now, as that's what it is, the semantics we use breaks the connection that we are eating someone’s flesh.
I was there chewing away and it was super tough, I took it out of my mouth and asked a person working there, though they couldn't understand me, though a local eating there did and told me it was a dog.
I sat there in awh, we all looked at each other and to my surprise half of us kept on chewing and continuing. The rest of us dropped it to the plates in dismay. That’s Delilah I thought to myself, that's Samson, that's so many of the individuals that have been there for me in my childhood.
Who I was chewing on, was probably someone that has been there for some other child, captured, taken away and murdered, just for me. I didn't stop eating other animals, as at that time I was still under the impression that we needed to, I just felt bad, because now I had a connection to someone with a personality being killed when they simply didn't need to be.
It made me feel for (all the other types of animals) who had to die for me to live. Before I had never thought about it. Thinking of them in that way was not encouraged, so those thoughts never rooted.
Thinking about it, the reason I am vegan is because of my Dad. I witnessed him as a young child. An uncle was gifting him a portable CD player, this was when we had cassette tapes, so like the height of technology at the time.
My Dad noticed it looked second hand, so asked where it came from. He told him it came off the back of a truck, though from the US, so there's nothing to worry about. My Dad gave it back, saying he can't benefit from another's loss.
What I witnessed, it became my default thought process: “am I benefiting from someone else's loss?, if so, don't accept!”. So here I am.
- What are your go-to vegan meals?
For snacks: Smoothies, porridge bowls or fruit bowls with some smoothie poured in and toasties (like with almond butter, cacao buttons and banana), as they are damn tastey and so easy to work everything in!
For meals: Most of the time I eat my dog mates food, and add some coconut and tinned tomato, along with mushrooms or nuts, things like that. And in their food there's potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, kale, lentils, rice, quinoa trio, flaxseeds, all sorts of goodness.
There are the roasts, mushroom stroganoff, spaghetti bolognese, traditional breakfasts, the list goes on really. Pretty much youtube your favourite meal with the word vegan at the end, and susans your auntie! You've got your favourite meals sorted and a virtual chef showing you how, it's so easy now!
- what is veganism like in Dublin and Ireland in general?
Veganism, well with the ism on the end, it's a low % like a lot of places. Most people don't look at other animals as equals, you know basic rights bearers, and so don't actively fight for them. They just don't want other animals to be going through what they are, born to be killed, and messed with before the killing part.
Vegan on the other hand, it's pretty great, I think Dublin has been voted the most vegan friendly city in the world by some publishers and in the top ten by others. I guess they mean in terms of product availability and friendliness.
- What are the organisations you volunteer with and what activism do you do?
I volunteer with any organisation that I have the time available for. I had the thought that “until you can help the other animals yourself, help who's already helping them!”.
So with that besides the opportunist activism of doing different things myself, like speaking to people on the streets, chalking messages and the like, and going to various events as they come up, like saves, and outreach in Belfast…
..I consistently volunteer at vego, in Dublin city centre, it's a combination of a vegan table, food sampling, TV’s, VR headsets and posters. This is every week for 5 hours, the outreach on a weekly basis can be anywhere from 5-15 hours.
This is all pre lockdown, so now most of that time is spent on the animal sanctuary, I'm on the charity board for “Back into Daylight”. We’re working on developing various aspects of the sanctuary, improving the functional space and the daily food and medical needs for the residents there.
For this we were working on strategies to collaborate with others (the general public and partners). And to develop the online factor, all to help increase the sanctuary's profile, and with that the revenue to fund the daily running expenses and future development.
- Can you share some of the conversations you had with people on the street? (maybe include some positive changes that have happened)
So many... I’ve had people let me know that as a result of the conversation they've changed their perspective and no longer feel it's right to use other animals. When I’ve expressed personal dispar online, I’ve had people then let me know “you are making a difference, after our chat I’ve cut all animal products out and do activism now too”.
It's hard to relay the conversations, though in a nutshell, they cover principle logic matched with emotional connection. Such as wants vs needs, ie: if something an individual wants takes away something another individual needs, the want is wrong. Asking them to acknowledge this, matched up with on reflection, how do you feel about yourself, when you are benefiting from their loss, when your want is taking away their need?
It's a case of principle logic being agreed to, matched up with emotional self reflection. There's more use cases to the conversations although these two elements are the framework if you like, that gets the job done.
- What is the most effective form of activism for you?
For me.. because I need to feel like I'm being there for them. To get the sensation or certain stimulation to feel that, what's most effective for me, is straight conversations. My past career was in direct field sales, so i'm extremely comfortable engaging with people on the fly.
For everyone listening, I’d like to ask for us to think of it like this.. All the world is, is relationships. All we are doing is using different mediums to storytell between each other. Find the medium that is most comfortable and effective for you and express your story through it.
Whether that be through speech or art or development or business, whatever component that you can work on, that contributes to the medium being able to get the story across, that's what will be most effective for you.
And no one achieves anything on their own, it's a group effort and we all play different roles in the story getting across, in a receptive manner for who we want to receive it, and engage back with us as a result of it.
- Can you talk to me about Back Into Daylight Animal Sanctuary?
Yeah, we can talk all day. Declan and Sharon are simply great. They take care of 99% of the day to day care for all the rascals there. There’s over 400 of them there, a lot are birds, and the most mischievous are the goats and pigs, well they are all a bit cheeky.
It's actually Declans sanctuary outreach table that I first came across. You know when I mentioned “until you can help the other animals yourself, help who's already helping them!”?. That was them, so I immediately started volunteering, it's been 6 or so, maybe 7 years. And that led me to volunteering at the sanctuary, helping stuff getting built and being there for them.
As a result of all of this I’m on the charity board, they (or we) are in massive need of establishing a sustainable model, so we are working on strategies and reaching out to different industry sectors to see what collaborations can actualise this.
If you have a skill of any kind or time, please do contact us. If you are looking for your way to contribute to the story getting across, for you to contribute to your component, you could contribute to one of the projects we are working on now, or help with new ideas.
No one achieves anything on their own, we’re nothing without each other, remember “until you can help the other animals yourself, help who's already helping them!”
- What will a vegan world look like for you?
Well vegan to me, means all life is equal. So that means all lives are treated as equals, which means there is no bias, no discrimination because of another individuals physical or mental differenences.
So a world of peace, where needs come first and wants come second. A world where wants aren't taking away others' needs.
No starving children, no murders... no blood, no bones in anybody's kitchen!
I live by this mantra: Empathy Understanding Love
With empathy for someones life experiences, you can have understanding for why they behave as they do, and with that you can have love for them.
It's actually this mantra that enabled me to learn how to cope. You see with my perspective of all life being equal. My reality is akin to me being a white person, in MLK times America, having loads of black friends. And having loads of white friends who are paying for them to be killed and eaten, whilst joking to me about doing it.
It was extremely stressful. I couldn't cope with the hurt, so much so that I wanted to end being able to feel anymore. And I tried, only to have an hallucination of a cow saying to me “Jason, if you take yourself out, there's one less person left, who cares enough about us to help us”.
This meant I couldn't follow through with it, though I was still left with the excruciating pain, that I still couldn't cope with. This mantra brought me to that place, a place I found inside of myself, that enabled me to feel different.
I was no longer crying every single day. I was no longer planning different ways to sacrifice myself, in a way that would hopefully jolt people into questioning themselves. I gained so much understanding of why Buddhist monks burned themselves to death.
With greater understanding, came greater strength. I realised how to feel at peace again. How to see the joy which was clouded in hurt for so long.
I realised that hurt is healed through joy. I'm now on a life mission to help people realise, what their joy is, and how they can do that to help their hurt.
6 songs Jason likes, because Jason likes it: (and reason why chosen)
1) Bread: The guitar man
It’s so unwinding, the vibe. So insightful, making you look inside of yourself, to take focus, to keep searching, to find yourself a message and some words to make your own, to keep your mystery and the love of doing what you do to fuel yourself.
2) Macka B: Cucumba
It's so bright, upbeat and fun, it helps you live the silly that's inside you! Whilst keeping you focused on the best way to express yourself! Cucumba!
3) Harry Chapin: The Rock
As a child, this was one of the songs I listened to as me and my Dad drove around. I used to listen to those songs at night as I slept.
It taught me that you always do what you feel is right, regardless of others appreciating you for it or not, regardless if you may lose out by doing it. It taught me empathy, that your principle of what you feel is right is worth more than the life you have.
4) José González: Heartbeats
Simply for the mellow soothing vibes.The magical guitar and wise words influencing progression and striving for what's good enough.
5) The Cranberries - Ode To My Family
For the simple mind pleasing simplicity of the line do do do do, do do do do.. And the line “my happiness… was when I was young, we didn't give a damn… cuz we were raised… to see life as fun… take it if we can!”
6) Maxcence Cyrin - Where is my mind
Nothing too deep. When I listen to it, I ask myself “where is my mind” and I put it where I want it to be, where I feel I need it to be, whilst I feel like I'm floating in the sky, through the clouds with the gentlests of breezes.
Many Thanks again to Jason for his time and work for the animals.
www.facebook.com/veganlovebaby - Jason On Facebook
Some of the groups featured in the show,
https://backintodaylight.com/ - Back Into Daylight Sanctuary
www.facebook.com/allianceforanimalrights/ Alliannce for Animal Rights (AFAR)
www.facebook.com/theveganinformationproject - Vegan Information Project VIP
www.facebook.com/VKindNI - Vkind Peaceful Vegan Activism
This film has been a long time in the making and all the hard work involved has worked!!
Do check it out on Netflix and share it around!!
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My name is Berty Justice and I'm going to add things here. If you like life from another angle, you'll love this!