How long have you been vegetarian?
I have been strictly vegetarian for almost three months now, though for a year prior I began cutting meat out of meals where possible, specifically bought vegetarian alternatives, and started making meat-free meals for myself, amongst other things, as ways to wean myself into a healthier vegetarian lifestyle.
Was there one specific event or story that influenced you to go vegetarian or to think about animals differently?
It was after either a NOFX or Alexisonfire show at Luna Park in 2007, and there were a group of people handing out pamphlets detailing the conditions pigs endured within factory farms and slaughterhouses. While the information provided didn’t cause me there and then to reconsider my omnivore diet, I did take the pamphlet home with me and followed the website printed on it (it may well have been PETA!) to learn more “behind the scenes” of the meat industry.
This knowledge and awareness brought about feelings of double-standards; why do I show so much compassion towards my dogs and their welfare, yet happily allow the abuse of pigs, of equal intelligence and awareness, merely so I can eat their skin?
Do you think that people generally don’t know enough about what happens on factory farms and in slaughterhouses?
In a way, yes, but for the most part, I believe it’s more a case of people not wanting to know, which is damn unfortunate.
When people ask me why I’ve adopted the lifestyle, I say something along the lines of, “I wanted to learn where our food came from, so I did, and it did not sit well with me at all.” To this, the most common response I get is, “Fair enough, but I don’t want to know!”
This infuriates me. Why wouldn’t anyone want to where their food comes from and what processes are implemented to obtain it? This indicates to me that people do know, or at least have an idea, of what happens on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. They aren’t ignorant, they’re actively ignoring and forgetting.
Before you went vegetarian, did you have any idea what conditions were like for animals on factory farms?
Before I took the initiative to learn the origins of our meat, I have to say I was still under the impression that farms and slaughterhouses raised animals out in the open, with plenty of room for them to live out an otherwise natural life together. I had to believe that each animal had ample access to clean water and fresh, natural food. I mean, the animal I was eating had to be in tip-top shape before it was slaughtered for my consumption, right?
When I eventually found reason to look into the conditions on factory farms, I was completely dumbfounded by just how incorrect I was. It’s absolutely horrendous to think that not just animals are being treated this way, but essentially our food is, too.
Has adopting a vegetarian lifestyle improved your health, and if so, how?
Having only exercised the lifestyle for a short while now, I can’t say there have been any other obvious, noticeable improvements apart from barely ever suffering from heartburn anymore! Win!
However, I think it’s safe to say that going from paying absolutely no attention to what I consumed for meals, eating cheap, frozen pizzas, pies and other frozen crap for dinner almost every night for a ridiculous amount of time, to actually having to think about what I’m going to cook up for dinner, and to learn (slowly, but surely) how to cook, yes, future-Trent will be thanking present-Trent in a couple of years times for the health and diet improvements, most definitely, haha.
How did your friends, family, and bandmates react to your switch to a vegetarian diet?
I don’t really talk to many people with whom my diet is of any concern, but for those I’ve bothered to tell and for those I had to tell, no one seemed to mind! The only person who takes issue with it is Dad, but only to the extent he has to add a handful more items to the shopping basket, haha.
As for the bandmates, I cop a bit of nonsense here and there, but it’s just guys being guys, they don’t really care, nor should they! I’m probably the “bully” of the band anyway, so all’s fair, haha.
Do you have a favorite vegetarian restaurant?
There are many restaurants around the area I live in of many different cuisines, and the majority I’ve been to have an ample amount of vegetarian options available, so I’d never be missing out! However the only vegetarian restaurant I’ve actively pursued and visited so far has been Govinda’s in Sydney’s Kings Cross. It’s Hare Krishna, all-you-can-eat, and has a cinema! Great place!
If you could tell any of your fans reading this one thing about going vegetarian, whawould it be?
We as human beings are capable of making decisions that require sacrifice, selflessness and careful consideration, and we do so for all kinds of reasons, all throughout our lives. I was a person just like many others who had grown up eating meat, taking it simply as something that we ate without question.
I’d like to say just do it, but instead I’d implore you to jump around PETA and other animal welfare websites and forums. Even look at the websites and resources of the companies that process and distribute animal products. Borrow or buy books regarding animal welfare, dietary choices and habits (I’d strongly suggest Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer). Do anything within your power to inform yourself.
If you’re so inclined, feel free to come talk to me about it before a show, or after I’ve played and packed the kit away! I’m only new to this experience too, so I’m always on the look out for advice, tips and information by any means possible, be it online, from books, or from other people, so maybe we can share something!
Want to follow Trent’s kind example? Take PETA’s Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days to explore a vegetarian diet for one month, and we’ll e-mail you our favorite recipes as well as tips on making the switch to a vegetarian diet.
Posted by Ashley Fruno