I didn’t know I had so much in common with Moby! In this new essay he wrote for Rolling Stone, almost every word that comes from his mouth could come from mine! He is speaking about his veganism and I can deeply relate to everything he says.
From the moment he was born, he has been surrounded by animals and loved them: ‘In the picture I’m looking up at the four animals and they’re looking down at me. I look pretty contented, and they look pretty contented. And I’m pretty sure that at this moment the neurons in my limbic system hard-wired themselves in a way that established that animals were benign and great’ he says describing a picture of himself as a baby. ‘As I got older my mom and I went through a revolving door of suburban pets. The menagerie, over 15 years or so, included: four dogs, 12 cats, about 1,000 baby mice, an iguana, three gerbils, a hamster and a little snake.’ I know the feeling as I have always lived with animals too. He also talked about his cat Tucker that he found in a box when he was very young and barely alive, and about the epiphany he got at 19 while sitting with him enjoying the sun: ‘I love this cat. I would do anything to protect him and make him happy and keep him from harm. He has four legs and two eyes and an amazing brain and an incredibly rich emotional life. I would never in a trillion years think of hurting this cat. So why am I eating other animals who have four (or two) legs, two eyes, amazing brains, and rich emotional lives?’
I got the exact same thought one day. Moby became vegetarian at this precise moment, and I would say I became one when I was in my early 20s, realizing it was very weird and wrong to eat animals. And it was quite sudden too, I clearly remember, I was eating a piece of fish and did suddenly see the complete animal in my plate and decided it was the last time I would eat flesh. What happens in the brain at this precise moment is bizarre but I guess you can call that a revelation, the closest I will ever have to a religious experience.
‘My reason for becoming a vegetarian was simple: I loved (and love) animals and I don’t want to be involved in anything that leads to or contributes to their suffering. At first this led me to give up beef and chicken. Then fish (if you’ve ever spent time with fish you realize pretty quickly that they feel pain and are much happier not being hooked or speared or netted)’ continues Moby. Then he talks about this recent awareness about animal farming and its atrocity, and his decision to become a vegan. Moby is well informed like all people who embrace this lifestyle, he is aware of the consequences on the environment and health. ‘As time has passed, my veganism has been reinforced by learning about health and climate change and the environment. I found that eating meat and dairy and eggs are to a very large extent responsible for people developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I found out that commercial animal production was responsible for 18 percent of climate change (more than every car, bus, truck, boat, and plane combined). I found out that producing a pound of soybeans requires 200 gallons of water but that producing a pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water. I found out that a leading cause of tropical deforestation is cutting down trees to create grazing land for livestock. And I found out that most of zoonotic diseases (SARS, mad cow disease, bird flu, etc.) are the result of animal agriculture. And as a clincher: I also found out that eating a high fat, animal product-based diet can be a leading cause of impotence (as if I didn’t need more reasons to be a vegan).’
Amen to this! So few people make the link between vegetarianism/veganism and environment, although this is so essential! Basically Moby’s essay exposes the reasons why he became a vegan, it’s not preachy at all, even respectful of others’ opinions: ‘To be clear: Just because I’m a vegan I’m not saying you should be a vegan. It would be ironic if I refused to force my will on animals but was all too happy forcing my will on humans.’ He is just encouraging people to get informed and this is why I applause him!
There is such a long list of vegetarian/vegan musicians from Paul McCartney and George Harrison to Jeff Beck, Alanis Morissette, Chrissie Hynde, Prince, K.D. Lang, Morrissey, Thom Yorke, Bryan Adams, Yoko Ono, Eddie Vedder, Joan Jett, Conor Oberst, Johnny Marr, Fiona Apple just to name a few, that I have a always wonder whether there was a link between this type of diet and a sensibility that comes with the ability to create. Moby’s essay in Rolling Stone is just great, unpretentious, non preachy, and even courageous. I have witnessed in the past so much ignorance and disdain for my life style, that I believe it bothers many people when I say I don’t eat meat…. Why? May be because people don’t like to question the morality of their lifestyle. But behind their arrogance of Homo sapiens, their assurance of being the dominant species which has the right to kill other species and destroy the planet, they probably feel guilty.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – September 1985 (Volume 17, Number 4)
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