Fans of Canadian band Propagandhi will probably already know that the group’s members are dedicated animal advocates.
Touring Australia soon, they took some time out to talk to PETA about what animal rights means to them.
What made you decide to go vegan?
I think I had just seen too much brutality as a kid: chicks stomped flat at a hatchery, gophers skinned alive, frogs who had their legs pulled off and were left to die, deer hanging from the rafters in garages and bleeding out into buckets, pigs and cows destined for slaughter who were clearly in distress. I lived out in the country for many years as a kid, and for me, the endless procession of unnecessary violence towards non-human animals became too much. I felt like I had to at least symbolically withdraw my support from the industries that profit from this violence, so I stopped eating animal products.
How do you feel since giving up animal products?
It’s been more than 25 years now since I stopped consuming animal flesh. I am glad about that time frame and think that I’ve had a better quality of life because of it. But the industries still exist, and that keeps me from getting too uppity about it.
How has your interest in animal rights influenced your music?
Well, the interest has definitely crept into the lyrics over the years. I think the band has largely been a platform for our private doubts about the world we live in, and the industrialized confinement and slaughter of animals is most certainly one of the awful aspects of our world that deserves a hefty serving of doubt.
What advice would you give to fans who are interested in following a plant-based diet?
Do it! Check out vegan nutrition literature and websites to help you along. They bust a lot of myths and will help you develop tastes you didn’t even know you had. Learn to cook – I’m still figuring this out. If you can, grow a garden or look into plant-based food-sharing projects in your community. Try to eat whole foods as opposed to processed or packaged foods. You will notice the difference. To this day, I’m still blown away by how different I feel after eating a bowl of quinoa and kale – two things I would have NEVER touched with a 10-foot pole as a kid. If you’re involved in any sports, try quinoa and kale before a game. I swear you’ll feel like a goddamn superhero.
What do you think people don’t know or get wrong about what you eat?
Mostly facts about nutrition and variety. There are myths about protein and calcium especially that are entirely false. And people who have never eaten much outside the modern Western diet don’t know what they are missing in terms of the variety of foods and tastes. It will blow your mind, folks. Trust me. I was a meat-and-potatoes guy before going vegan, and I now know how bad I was missing out.
What do you usually eat when you are on tour?
Quinoa and kale! It’s my preferred meal before a show or a hockey game. Gimme a bowl of that, and look the fuck out!
Do you have any favourite restaurants in Australia?
Every city we’ve been to in Australia seems to have a killer vegan place. I can’t wait to check out any new ones when we get there!
What do you think about Australia’s live export of sheep and cows and the mulesing of sheep used for wool?
To me, it seems cruel and callous, not unlike most human endeavours that value profit over lives. Our prevailing economic system is amoral. It is anathema to a humane society. If we’re serious about reducing animal suffering, we need to confront the system itself in parallel with our efforts to promote veganism.
Posted by Claire Fryer