In 2015, animal rights activist James Aspey of Australia took a vow of silence for an entire year as a publicity stunt to "raise awareness for animals and promote peace over violence." After not speaking for 365 days, James went on the Australian morning show Sunrise to share with viewers why he sacrificed his voice for critters.
Here's his story:
At 17 I was diagnosed with leukaemia and told I had 6 weeks to live. I beat the cancer after 3 years of chemotherapy and during that time I began partying and abusing drugs. Lots of drugs. I became a passionate personal trainer so I could help others with their health. After 7 years while working on a cruise ship, partying way too much and developing an eating disorder, I met a wise Indian man who told me eating animals is bad karma.
I went vegetarian for a 7 day experiment and felt surprisingly great. I researched into the health benefits and realised I'd been missing out! Cutting animal products from your diet is incredibly healthy and reduces our chances of developing so many illnesses and diseases. The food also happens to be delicious!
Upon more research I discovered the shocking and violent truth of what is being done to animals for food, clothing, entertainment and medical testing. It led me to the question, "If we don't need to kill and eat animals to be healthy, what are we doing this for?" The best justifications I could find were incredibly weak and still to this day I haven't heard a good excuse.
I decided the only way to live in alignment with my values of respecting others was to become vegan. My first major form of activism was a 1 year long vow of silence which I used to raise awareness for animals and promote peace over violence. I travelled around Australia and cycled 5000km from Darwin to Sydney to show vegans can be fit and strong. I broke my vow of silence on Australia's most popular morning TV show. The interview went viral and was seen millions of times by people all around the world. I appeared in the news in numerous different countries and since then have given over 100 free talks on my journey and the many things I have learned.