I casually went vegetarian after reading Gandhi‘s autobiography. When I told my family, my mother and grandmother reminded me that milk and meat came from the same place, that mere vegetarianism was hypocritical, and implied I should drop it. Instead, I went vegan.
That was in the iron (rations) age of veganism, when sausages came as dry mix you reconstituted with water.
Fast forward to the present, and I’m a BBC-trained media freelancer whose work has been broadcast on UK national radio.
I’ve done a wide range of jobs along the way – a doctorate in biochemistry, digital project management, and even acquired a licence to busk – singing opera and musical numbers – on the London Underground.
It’s nice to find something that lets me combine my science, my voice, and my digital and audio experience!
I’ve learnt that if you look at the world differently – if you look at other animals as minds rather than things – I can discover some amazing stories that conventional media doesn’t cover (like vegan politicians and the science of attitudes to vegetarians) or new angles to stories it does (like lab meat and vegan cats).
As you’d expect from someone who worked for the BBC, I aspire to journalistic ethics of accuracy and impartiality.
When I say “impartiality”, you’d be forgiven for thinking I mean that TVO is impartial about veganism.
Any news outlet takes some opinions for granted, excludes others, and represents the debate those in between. When I make episodes of The Vegan Option, I assume veganism, but include a range of voices on the many interesting things that vegans don’t agree about (lab meat? vegan cats? welfare reforms?). I like to joke that I try to guess what public service radio would be like if it was run by vegans!
Like many people, the way digital media, I’m excited by how blogging and podcasting changes and democratises the media landscape, the blooming of indymedia, and how making a good radio show is within the reach of many.
I began making radio in 2007, podcasting my culinary adventures in Southeast Asia under a nom de pod.
So welcome to The Vegan Option. I’d like to think that my experience offers the world of vegan podcasting a unique contribution, and I really hope you enjoy the show.
Declaration of InterestsI’m a member of the UK Vegan Society. I don’t receive any income from groups I cover. I’ll reflect a range of views, and my own should be irrelevant, but – in the spirit of transparency, for anyone who follows these discussions and cares, I’ll let you know where I’m coming from on the big questions within the animal movement. Philosophically, I’m a utilitiarian, broadly agreeing with Peter Singer except that I think that veganism has a clarity and transparency that makes it worth sticking to. On “abolitionism“, you could say I’m a welfarist in theory but an abolitionist in practice. On cross-contamination and minor ingredients, I’m relatively strict, although I recognise that’s largely for my own sense of comfort.
6 responses to “About Ian”
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Good to see new voices (hmm, synaesthetic or metaphorical bloomer there?) writing about vegan culture. Ian and I tend to meet up at random vegan events or at Buddhafield Festival, an -erm- Buddhist and vegetarian/eco festie where we eat as much vegan food as possible and argue with people selling animal skins or about soya consumption not destroying the rain forests. New Agers, eh? They are very good for me, making me attempt – not always successfully – to develop patience, tolerance and such.
But I digress… it’s vital that we have diverse voices and intellectual rigour; there are too many urban myths and self-justifying nonsenses out there and it often feels as if people have inhaled lines of gullibility and anecdotal stories and forgotten to use their brains. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go use our hearts as well as heads. Eh by gum, it’s a fine balance but hopefully Ian & Diana are up to it!
(Incidentally, anyone who does British summer festivals and reads comments on the vegan option should probably give Buddhafield a look.)
It’s good to hear from you too, Jane. Intellectual rigour is definitely what we try to bring to internet radio; it’s been both a challenge and a lot of fun to put together shows that aspire to both inform and entertain. I hope you think that, once we’ve done a few shows, you’ll decide we are indeed up to it :).