Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Abigail and I am a photographer and personal trainer from Chesapeake, Virginia. I developed my skills in photography at a young age, but I never knew what purpose I wanted to use it for. Once I finally researched the amazing qualities of animals that we share our planet with and discovered the immense amount of suffering animals endure did I realized I wanted to specialize in wildlife and nature photography in order to help advocate for animals.
I have just started my journey and have been hoping to expand my reach through Instagram by sharing my images and selling prints.
I am also a personal trainer who believes first in the importance of good nutrition and that fitness should be enjoyed and not stressful. I personally love fitness that involves learning new skills for building confidence and exercising at the same time. My favorites are Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Longboarding. Content I share relating to vegan fitness can be found on my personal Instagram: @abigail.grace.p.
My website: www.abigailgrace.photography
Here is a video of a sanctuary where I volunteer.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
Three years ago, I got into a discussion with a few co-workers of mine and one of them said that they were vegan. I knew about veganism at the time but had only thought of it as a diet. After much research, I learned that it certainly is a healthy and sustainable way of living, but I also had a revelation about animals. It was so exciting to be learning so much and finding a newfound purpose and plan for my life, but on the other hand, it was depressing to know that the world is so shielded to what goes on behind the scenes. I fell fully into veganism right when I made the connection that nature and beautiful creatures God created were not intended to have a short life full of suffering. They have a place in this world just as I do. There would be no point in the creation of these complex and abundant species if they were to only serve as food, clothes, etc. for humans.
When you first went vegan how did you phase out your non-vegan food, clothing and other items?
When I first went vegan, it was an eye-opener for me, so I instantly converted over to veganism. I researched right away into different things to eat, proper nutrition, what concerns I should have, etc. but the longer I have been vegan the more I realize how truly simple it is and that there are abundant options that will no longer have such a toll on my health. Of course, I have had mess-ups (as we all do) in the past of eating something with dairy or egg without knowing it was in the food or using a product that was not vegan on accident, but I try not to beat myself up since I know I would never intentionally try to eat or use non-vegan products. It is very difficult to be completely vegan in this world, so I always research as much as possible to lessen any suffering that I cause.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Yes, I do believe kids should be shown the process in a respectful and kid-friendly manner. Kids deserve to learn this information so they can try to make informed decisions about how they would like to treat others and take care of themselves.
What does being vegan mean to you?
Vegan, to me, means that I am aligning my morals and principals of compassion, empathy for others, and love for nature with my actions. If I know that I could never intentionally harm an animal, then how could I ask someone to do that for me?
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
In a way, vegans are all somewhat of an activist. By just making that change, you are bound to affect others around you and influence their decisions. Not everyone is meant to be a protester, every human has their own set of gifts and talents, so I do not believe it is everyone’s duty to be an activist. It is up to each individual to decide what they would like to do with their life, they can choose whatever they please. I personally have skills that I use to help advocate for animals and I think it is great if others do the same because you never know what will resonate with someone.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I am just as compassionate and empathetic towards non-vegans as I am vegans. I have accepted that each individual will choose veganism on their own time and if they never do choose it then that was their decision and I cannot control that. I do know that no one, myself included, wants to listen to or be around people who are unkind to them.
Any recommended Vegan books?
Dominion by Matthew Scully (by far my favorite book that has had a great impact on my life at such an amazing time).
What does living cruelty-free mean to you?
Living cruelty-free to me means doing my part to try to ensure to the best of my ability that I am not living in a way that affects the life and health of others. Of course, this extends to humans as well. Humans deserve respect, compassion, and love just as much as animals.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
The only struggle I have had with veganism is having family members judge the decisions that I have made for myself. I guess the only thing I can say to anyone else who is possibly struggling with the same problem is that it is better to go on your path alone knowing you are doing the right thing in your heart than conforming to what others want for you. For anyone, in any situation that may arise, relating to veganism or not, you have to stay true to yourself and what you personally know is right or else you will end up lost. The most important thing you can do in this life is to find out who you truly are, so then you can know what your purpose is from there.