Cricketer Jason Gillespie sits down for a frank chat
Three years ago my dad suffered a fatal heart attack outside our home. When you are trying – and failing – to revive someone, it gives you a window into your future. My dad was not as fit as he could have been, he didn’t eat well, and he had some stress in his life. After his death I started to look at things a bit differently from a health point of view. Then a year or so later my wife and I stumbled across some documentaries and did some reading. We watched [documentary] Earthlings, which really challenged our thinking, and it all just made complete sense.”
Cricket legend Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie – one of Australia’s best ever fast bowlers – caused a media storm earlier this year with his comments about veganism. The much–respected player–turned–first team coach (at the time of going to press, he was coming to the end of a successful stint coaching Yorkshire County Cricket Club) was outspoken with some of his views, criticising the use of leather balls in the game. “We treat animals like sh*t,” he said to a journalist – adding that the dairy industry should be shut down. It’s safe to say this caused some friction with Yorkshire County Cricket sponsor Wensleydale Creamery.
“I was just chatting to a journalist for about an hour,” Jason tells Vegan Life. “For about 58 minutes we were talking about cricket, two minutes were spent on my views on animal welfare and those issues – the whole article was on that. That’s how the media works, I’ve been around long enough to know that. But the things I said about the dairy industry are things I believe – I didn’t set out to offend anyone. I did cop a little bit of grief from the sponsor but I stand by my comments.”
It’s unusual and very exciting to see someone of Jason’s profile being so upfront about the ethical and environmental reasons for being vegan. This stems from his deep belief – built on research – that veganism is the best option all round. He says: “I learnt about how animals are treated and from that moment I stopped consuming animal products – I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs overnight and I kept doing my research. That was almost two years ago…