First Blood's Carl Schwartz Breaks Down His Animal Rights Philosophy
"The extent of my activism for veganism and animal welfare issues extends usually as far as the audiences of the musical groups I have performed with over the last decade, as well as through the activist groups that have supported us," Schwartz told Noisecreep. "Over the last several years, I have become involved with peta2 and peta2.com through various Internet interviews and outreach campaigns, because their organization has remained dedicated to reaching out to the younger audiences of various music scenes to raise awareness of the suffering and death that animals endure for the animal industries."
He continued, "But more importantly they are educating and providing the steps that people can take to sever their own attachments to these cruel industries to help make this suffering stop."
The help and guidance of a close friend led Schwartz to the vegan lifestyle, along with the positive influence of prominent animal rights author John Robbins. "An old friend of mine introduced me to a vegetarian diet and the idea of eating more whole, nutritious and cleansing foods, while reducing -- if not eliminating -- the many unnecessary and unhealthy fats, cholesterol and chemicals from my daily fare," he remembered. "I felt healthier and began taking pride in focusing on my health while making simple adjustments to my diet."
He then read Robbins' 'Diet for a New America' and learned how such simple adjustments in diet and lifestyle can have such a profound effect on the welfare of animals and the environment at large. That's when he decided to cut out any kind of animal byproduct for good. "I knew in my own heart I had to take vegetarianism a step further and become a vegan.
"If more people were made aware of the cruel and unsanitary conditions that factory farm animals are forced to endure until their vicious and often painful slaughter, I firmly believe that meat consumption would see decline. If more people were made aware of the gross misuse and waste of resources that enable factory farming to continue, and if more people were made aware of the environmental and the health consequences that result from modern meat production and its consumption, not only would more people choose to boycott the industry, but I really believe there would be outrage."
Schwartz also realized that his conviction didn't develop in a vacuum, either. He reasoned that it came as a result of being fed the status quo for so long. "Just as so much of society remains sheltered by industry propaganda, for many years of my upbringing I was kept hidden from the horrors of animal food production," he admitted. "Perhaps I felt a sense of betrayal, and this could very well be the reason for my strong position against animal industry."
As far as work goes -- and part of First Blood's work is to spread the message of animal rights through music -- the band will be on the road full time and will have "all systems go in 2011 to present 'Silence Is Betrayal' to the world," Schwartz said.