1. Why are you vegan?
I see no way that the incalculable suffering of animals reared for food can possibly be justified. Factory farming causes as much environmental damage as all forms of motorised transport, i.e cars, trains, planes etc combined, and it is the main cause of human hunger in the world. Meat eating is unsustainable and harmful to human health and the egg and dairy industry is now as horrendous as the meat industry.
The treatment of most farm animals is utterly disgusting and I want as little part of it as possible.
Vegan food is delicious and healthy and a lot more readily available than it used to be plus there are some fantastic vegan restaurants so being vegan is easier than people think.
There are also a lot of health benefits to being vegan or veggie which puts less strain on the NHS.
2. Why does VS write about animal rights?
I write lyrics to express my feelings and the treatment of non – human animals has always been a subject close to my heart. Animal Rights are closely linked to Human Rights so even if you have no natural affinity with other animals you can’t pretend that our treatment of animals has no effect on the human population. Over the years we’ve converted a few people to vegetarianism and veganism through our songs so music can help open people’s eyes to what’s going on. I’m aware that there are a lot of kind people around who give money to animal causes and adopt rescue dogs etc but don’t feel that they can give up meat entirely and I think it’s important not to alienate them so I try not to preach. Every act of kindness is important and can make the world of difference and should be encouraged.
3. What are the ‘politics’ of VS?
We all have different views and I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but my own feelings tend towards Green issues because without a planet we’re all stuffed !!! Having said that I have most definitely caused a lot of noise pollution over the years. I can’t abide the selfish, hypocritical, greedy and plain stupid policies of the current UK government and I have voted tactically in the past just to keep them out. Unfortunately there are a lot of ‘aspirational’ people i.e jumped up desk sucking blotter jotters who give themselves grandiose job titles and like to look down on those less fortunate than themselves who voted in the last election hence the current crop of clueless millionaires running the country. Maybe they should aspire to be decent human beings first and foremost. I vote because Suffragettes died to give women the vote.
4. Is it at all connected to the environmental debate and protection of the planet?
Not consciously, but like I said before we would all be stuffed without the Earth so environmentalism has to be part of politics. I find some so called ‘green’ people hilarious, they drive around in a gas guzzler for the school run because their kids are too lazy to walk, buy expensive cuts of organic meat, consume tons of dairy produce, heat every room in their large houses and recycle a few bottles. Poorer people get criticised for eating cheap, unhealthy food and driving old cars which pollute but they don’t have the money and sometimes not the education to be green. Also, if you’re trying to find the money to pay the bedroom tax and avoid being made homeless recycling isn’t going to be very high on your agenda.
There is a saying that a meat eater on a bicycle causes more environmental damage than a vegan in a four by four, and I personally feel that going veggie or vegan is the best contribution that you can make to the environment.
5. Can you tell me the background story to the song Humane?
It’s the first Animal Rights song I ever wrote so it’s not the most eloquent but it was written with passion and belief. It was also written at a time when the Animal Rights movement was a lot smaller than it is now so I got quite a lot of stick for it.
6. Why do you think punks tend to distance themselves from party politics but are very outspoken and ‘political’ in other ways?
There is a tendency to believe that ‘ All politicians are the same ‘ but I can’t see any similarity between Tony Benn and Iain Duncan Smith. The problem is that a large part of the electorate are Little Englanders who only care about themselves and each party has to make sure that they don’t alienate them, so even the best sort of politician has their hands tied. It’s true that ‘ Whoever you vote for the government gets in ‘ and Punks want personal freedom not governance, plus some feel that by using their vote they are condoning the system. I think Punks should vote as they are often some of the most intelligent people around. If you think about it many Punks have been ‘ political ‘ since their early teens and they often know more about what’s going on in the world than the rest of the public. I don’t like the system we have but by not voting you get an even worse government. It can’t be denied that poor people were better off under Labour than they are under the current government and you didn’t have disabled people killing themselves because of Atos assessments, so what appears to be a slight difference in policy can have a huge impact on the individual.
If it’s a choice between the poorest people in the country working the benefits system to their advantage and the richest people in the country working the tax system to their advantage then I’d choose the former as it’s much less damaging to the economy and less offensive to my sense of morality.
7. Can you tell me the background story to the song Voice of The People?
It was inspired by the Diaries of Despair, which were leaked documents originally exposed in September 2000 by Uncaged Campaigns. Imutran and Novartis were involved in gruesome pig to primate transplant experiments and reclassifying the suffering of the animals as ‘moderate’ rather than ‘severe’. There was an attempt at a cover up and the documents were only made public when the vivisectionists lost their case at the High Court. In spite of the fact that MPs receive more letters about animal rights and welfare than any other topic there is still no proper legal protection in place for lab animals as those who are supposed to protect them tend to have a vested interest in the continuation of animal experiments. The cover ups merely prove that what vivisectors are doing is likely to cause public outrage.
The line of the song ‘ Voice of the people, they ain’t gonna listen, A million letters better left unwritten’ is my way of saying that the UK is only democratic if the elite say so, we are told to campaign peacefully while acts of terrorism take place legally every day.