Peter Young

Activist and author.

SS: What made you go vegan and why?

In high school, I glimpsed a split second of slaughterhouse footage on a public access station. That image incubated for some time, and when the punk rock and hardcore subculture provided me more of a philosophical and factual foundation for veganism, I did it. I don’t think I met another vegan for another two years.


I became vegan because it is requisite for being a decent person. I could either become vegan, or stand on the side of human tyranny and mass enslavement and murder. The decision was simple.

SS: Has it been difficult for you? If yes what was difficult and did it get easier?

Being vegan 17 years ago was comparable to locking yourself inside a truck stop today – only with fewer flavors of Clif Bars. I ate better in prison in 2005 than I did in the free world in 1995. Even then, I would never say it was “difficult”. Being vegan is not difficult because the alternative is not an option. Its like asking if its difficult to not live inside the pirate’s castle at Disneyland.


I remember reading a lot of ingredients for the first six months of being vegan. After that time, you sort of go on autopilot. You know what’s-what, and it's no longer something you think about.


Discussing veganism with deprivation language like whether or not its “difficult” is something I avoid, because it can communicate to non-vegans that veganism is contingent upon questions of convenience – like how accessible and palatable the food is. That should not be a factor. The question should never be “is it difficult?” (the answer, FYI, is no). The only question is: Are animals still suffering and dying in the meat and dairy industries? Knowing the answer is “yes”, all other issues are periphery and resolve themselves.

SS: What are some animal rights related things that you participate in?

I write, publish, and speak to the media and audiences about animal liberation, as well as continue to attend demos, leaflet, and do my part in various ways large and small.


Warcry Communications is my publishing imprint, and I’ve put out books by former Animal Liberation Front prisoners Keith Mann and Rod Coronado, along with other titles (and more on the way). While I’m no longer carrying out ALF actions, I’ve continued to document the ALF’s history and speak in their defense at every opportunity. One outlet for this has been my website, www.voiceofthevoiceless.org.


I continue to give my voice anywhere it will educate and reach people – the media, film projects, interviews, speaking events, and elsewhere. And I’ll never stop taking it directly to the streets, protesting the animals abusers where they live and work.

SS: What are your favorite animal rights organizations?

My hope is people will de-emphasize faith in groups and revisit the power they have as an individual The blind faith we have in “strength in numbers” is disempowering, and stifles innovation and swift action. And most of the time one’s efforts are dampered when channeled into an organization.


That said, the best thing happening now is the undercover footage coming out recently exposing factory farms to a mainstream audience. Because the impetus of my vegan consciousness was a few frames of slaughterhouse footage, I know how influential this footage can be.


My favorite organizations aren’t organizations at all, but individuals or small groups who find the power to take massive action autonomously and without the direction of a group. From the Animal Liberation Front to Derek Zimmer - who sat outside a lab in New Orleans by himself for a month – it’s the people that act without leadership or social rewards to whom I give my highest respects.


SS: What would you say to somebody who is considering going vegan?

Do it, or suffer the shame of a morally debased, exploitative life with blood on your hands that only veganism can wash away.