Ian, 48, from Lancashire, lives with his wife, daughter and 3 cats. He leads a happy, busy life, balancing work and family life whilst always being respectful and mindful of both animal and human beings.
I enjoy life and I feel that by being thoughtful and conscientious about the choices I make in life I add to this feeling of fulfilment.
I have always had jobs that have had a compassionate angle; assisting adults with learning disabilities to live independently, and working the elderly people who have dementia and supporting them to access services. I am currently working with carers to reflect on what impact caring is having on the carers well-being and what support is available to assist them.
We all need to work, so why not work in an industry that betters society as a whole? There is good job satisfaction within this kind of work - seeing the difference you can make in someone’s life gives you a really positive feeling.
I became vegan in my 20's, when I left home to study my degree. Cooking and shopping for myself meant it was the perfect time to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan. Being vegan works in the same way as I feel my job does. I know each day I make a conscious choice about what I eat or wear that I’m making a difference. It may only be a small difference to the overall suffering of animals, but it’s a start.
Collectively how we all live and treat animals and people in society makes that difference significant.
Home life is centred around being mindful of what we do and what we eat - we are all vegan at home and this makes cooking easier! We brought our daughter up vegan from birth; she is as healthy and energetic as all her peers, and being vegan has never been an issue health wise or as part of society.
Our life away from work is spent either volunteering for our local wildlife group or supporting the Junior Park Run on Sunday mornings. Our daughter enters to 2Km and 5Km free Park Runs on a regular basis, aiming to beat her personal best record each time - with some success! We are fortunate enough to have some really good vegan cooks amongst our circle of friends, this means we do lots of socialising and when we get together and we feast like kings!
I love to cycle and regularly do 30 mile rides around the beautiful Lancashire countryside. I’ve also always been interested in photography, and think that the nature and wildlife that surrounds us is a perfect subject.
When I volunteer for local wildlife projects I often find myself doing a long, hard, dirty days work at the weekend! I don’t mind though – I always feel like I’ve really achieved something worthwhile, and have made that all-important difference to those animals and society.
We have three lovely cats at home, two of which joined us from Freshfields in April 2013. Abandoned in a cardboard box in a park, they now 'lord it up' spreading themselves everywhere!
We have been fortunate to see wildlife in the wild many times; we do not support the concept of zoos or circuses for animals. Animals in zoo's and circuses are in a false environment, so not a great deal can be learned there. There are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife on your doorstep or on TV, without caging up animals for entertainment. From whales to badgers, our family has enjoyed watching wildlife in its own habitat, learning their ways and on occasions taking pictures.
I grew up in Yorkshire and had the same kind of childhood as those around me - beef dripping and Sunday roasts! No one taught me compassion; I think you learn it from how you treat society and how society treats you, and I feel that by being vegan I can play a part in reducing harm to animals.
It’s easy to follow the crowds and go with the flow, but it’s also empowering to take a stand and make a difference.