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Image for Dan Mathews - Beast Of Burden

Dan Mathews - Beast Of Burden

Dan Mathews, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is a gentle man. His philosophy that we can live our lives without causing much harm is reflected in his new book, Committed; A Rabble-rouser‘s Memoir. He’s famous for being the man behind the highly successful I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur campaign. He’s also an openly gay man, so when we meet, the conversation soon turned to the parallels between gay rights and animal rights.

“Whenever somebody is cruel, it comes from a very similar place – when somebody beats their wife or kids or gay bashes, or someone is cruel to an animal, it often derives from an inferiority complex. People don’t really know how to relate to those who are different to them and some of the dimmer, less evolved people on the planet react to things they don’t know about by striking out against them. It’s just always been that way; it’s a dark part of human nature. I realised that first hand when I was a kid, and people would beat me up for being for being gay or being a punk rocker, whatever,” he said.

Dan is also a gorgeous man and I ponder for a moment inviting him home to meet my pussy, but decide to keep it professional. So why should a gay man or lesbian care that the chicken in the freezer has more room now than it did when it was alive? Why should we care if the product on our head was tested on animals?

“As gays and lesbians who have often grown up feeling a bit misunderstood and persecuted ourselves, I think we can open our minds to recognise that others have a similar suffering. My organisation, PETA, has always had a lot of gay supporters because they are able to make that connection. People that have a dog or cat will know their undying love and devotion and many will want to return that kind of respect and defend animals. We‘re all neighbours on this planet, it‘s just a matter of being better neighbours.”

The parallel soon became obvious: if we don’t care about animal rights, why should anyone care about gay rights?

“The core of gay rights is once people realise they have a gay co-worker, a gay brother, a gay person they commute with on the train each morning, they realise that we have a lot more in common than we have differences. And when people realise that, they get a lot more respect. One of the things I always try to point out with animals is that we have a lot more in common with them than we have differences. Animal rights is just about extending our circle a little bit. You know, we live in a very hedonistic world, especially in the gay world and I think that’s a reaction to there being so much confusion and violence in the world. It becomes our responsibility that we create a lot of pain when we buy products made from animals. You don’t have to do much, other than just be a responsible and decent individual. It’s easy to have a very full life without killing.” he says with passion.

I can’t resist the Kylie question. Recently Mathews had written to La Minogue regarding a large cobra skin handbag the diva has been touting of late. He pointed out to her that pythons are nailed to a tree, skinned alive, pumped full of water with a hose down their throat so that they almost explode. But Dan adds kindly that he thinks Kylie just didn’t realise, that a lot of stars have stylists that don’t think about where these products came from. He has yet to receive a response and intends to follow it up, but is sure that she would not want to be a part of that. As Fergie once said to him, “you know, we have four appearances a day and six photo shoots and you just walk into a room and are set up and you often are too tired and you just don’t think about it.” Fair enough. He talks a little about stars he has met who are “a little bit more modern, a little bit more considerate”, like Pink and Pamela Anderson.

PETA has been especially concerned by our very own antipodean style of mass cruelty: mulesing and kangaroo hunts particularly. “PETA pressured big companies in the US and Europe that use wool from Australia, including Abercrombie and Fitch, to refuse to buy Australian wool until they stop these mutilations. Sometimes you have to act up a bit to get people to pay attention. And kangaroos are these unique incredible creatures, they were here before humans were, just leave them alone for Christ’s sake. Nature has balanced itself for millions of years before humans set foot on this planet and the idea of culling is nothing more than people playing God and coincidentally, making a dollar.”

I wonder how the gay leather scene would receive his ideas. “I’ve got my own skin,” he quips. “I don’t need to wear anybody else’s. The only reason to kill an animal is in self defence. Having a pair of Prada shoes is not self defence. You can find plenty of other shoes that didn’t involve an animal having it’s hooves and lips hacked off so it could be skinned.”

He sums up his beliefs simply, “I think that everybody makes a choice, but it should be an educated choice. Causing harm to animals is pretty easy to avoid once you learn.”

He’s certainly got a valid point. Eagerly, I rush home to tell my pussy all about this wonderful man I have met. He yawns.

Dan Mathews’ book – Committed – A Rabble-rouser’s Memoir is in bookstores now.

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Comments

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1315
rapple

rapple said on the 22nd Oct, 2007

It's Mathews with one T not two!
Us poor people with only one T have to make a stand!

Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor said on the 22nd Oct, 2007

thanks rapple! i love it. long live "single T pride".

rheiner

rheiner said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

"Having a pair of Prada shoes is not self defence." Love it. Cool article too... nice to see someone trying to open out the concept of respect more broadly instead of everyone sticking to their own little issue.

etbmfa

etbmfa said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

7 Things You Didn't Know About PeTA

1. PeTA has stated repeatedly that their goal is "total animal liberation." This means no pets, no meat, no milk, no zoos, no circuses, no fishing, no hunting, no farming, no leather, and no animal testing for lifesaving medicines.
2. PeTA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals.
3. PeTA funds the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine an animal-rights organization that presents itself as an unbiased source for nutritional information and has links to violent animal-rights groups called SHAC and ALF.
4. PeTA has used their contributors tax-exempt donations to fund the North American Earth Liberation front and the Animal Liberation Front, FBI-certified domestic terrorist groups responsible for fire bombs and death threats.
5. PeTA regularly targets kids as early as elementary school with anti-meat and anti-milk propaganda. They are totally opposed to traditional farming methods.
6. PeTA spends less than one percent of its $13 million budget actually caring for animals. PeTA kills animals.
7. PeTA has repeatedly attacked groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases.
source: www.consumerfreedom.com

etbmfa

etbmfa said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

7 Things You Didn't Know About PeTA

1. PeTA has stated repeatedly that their goal is "total animal liberation." This means no pets, no meat, no milk, no zoos, no circuses, no fishing, no hunting, no farming, no leather, and no animal testing for lifesaving medicines.
2. PeTA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals.
3. PeTA funds the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine an animal-rights organization that presents itself as an unbiased source for nutritional information and has links to violent animal-rights groups called SHAC and ALF.
4. PeTA has used their contributors tax-exempt donations to fund the North American Earth Liberation front and the Animal Liberation Front, FBI-certified domestic terrorist groups responsible for fire bombs and death threats.
5. PeTA regularly targets kids as early as elementary school with anti-meat and anti-milk propaganda. They are totally opposed to traditional farming methods.
6. PeTA spends less than one percent of its $13 million budget actually caring for animals. PeTA kills animals.
7. PeTA has repeatedly attacked groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases.
source: www.consumerfreedom.com

etbmfa

etbmfa said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

7 Things You Didn't Know About PeTA

1. PeTA has stated repeatedly that their goal is "total animal liberation." This means no pets, no meat, no milk, no zoos, no circuses, no fishing, no hunting, no farming, no leather, and no animal testing for lifesaving medicines.
2. PeTA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals.
3. PeTA funds the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine an animal-rights organization that presents itself as an unbiased source for nutritional information and has links to violent animal-rights groups called SHAC and ALF.
4. PeTA has used their contributors tax-exempt donations to fund the North American Earth Liberation front and the Animal Liberation Front, FBI-certified domestic terrorist groups responsible for fire bombs and death threats.
5. PeTA regularly targets kids as early as elementary school with anti-meat and anti-milk propaganda. They are totally opposed to traditional farming methods.
6. PeTA spends less than one percent of its $13 million budget actually caring for animals. PeTA kills animals.
7. PeTA has repeatedly attacked groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases.
source: www.consumerfreedom.com

etbmfa

etbmfa said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

7 Things You Didn't Know About PeTA

1. PeTA has stated repeatedly that their goal is "total animal liberation." This means no pets, no meat, no milk, no zoos, no circuses, no fishing, no hunting, no farming, no leather, and no animal testing for lifesaving medicines.
2. PeTA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals.
3. PeTA funds the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine an animal-rights organization that presents itself as an unbiased source for nutritional information and has links to violent animal-rights groups called SHAC and ALF.
4. PeTA has used their contributors tax-exempt donations to fund the North American Earth Liberation front and the Animal Liberation Front, FBI-certified domestic terrorist groups responsible for fire bombs and death threats.
5. PeTA regularly targets kids as early as elementary school with anti-meat and anti-milk propaganda. They are totally opposed to traditional farming methods.
6. PeTA spends less than one percent of its $13 million budget actually caring for animals. PeTA kills animals.
7. PeTA has repeatedly attacked groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases.
source: www.consumerfreedom.com

rheiner

rheiner said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

I always find it a bit oddly hysterical the way people in the west baulk at concepts like "no meat" and "no milk" when a signficant proportion of the global population goes without these things on a daily basis.

And no circuses? Sounds like a step forward to me...

dreadcircus

dreadcircus said on the 23rd Oct, 2007

Deff good points.. I've been a supporter of Peta for over a year and would gladly involve my band in anything they were doing.. In fact I'm thinking this weekend I'm going to hit the clubs in a nice jacket made from bigoted humans.. ohh I can just hear the comments "Phew not only is that white jacket vulgar but it smells like offal or john howards attitude.. gross!

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 24th Oct, 2007

PETA also started the war in Iraq, etbmfa, and eat Kraft Kitten Paste on toast for breakfast every morning. Don't be such a nobhead. :rolleyes:

Thephotomaker

Thephotomaker said on the 26th Oct, 2007

Does Dan Matthews really support Pink's stance on mulesing?

Maybe we could introduce the other side of the story....http://www.woolisbest.com/animal_welfare/mulesing/

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 26th Oct, 2007

Photodude, there is no cred in posting arguments by the Australian Wool Industry. I mean, like they don't have an agenda. You can google evidence of anything you want. The kangaroo slaughter industry also has sites full of rationales. However, regarding mulesing, a group called 'Australian Wool Innovation' has been trialling a clip and an injection system, which removes wool from the breach and tails of lambs. Lambs with the clips grew to 26 kilos, while the mulesed lambs grew to 24 kilos. I also believe the CSIRO is experiment with genetic techniques. While the clips are still in the research and development phase, but it sure sounds a whole better avenue to follow, than the cruel methods advocated on the site you recommended.

hazyinseptember

hazyinseptember said on the 28th Oct, 2007

1 thing we knew about etbmfa

1) has to spam to get his/her point across..

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 28th Oct, 2007

Well golly, the whole point is that we have a choice to cause harm or not in our lives. No one is judging your choices. The PETA campaigns simply try to make people aware of the suffering they might be causing in their lifestyle choices. I think it's good to know we can live with a little loving compassion for all things that breathe, and that we can easily do without those things that mean a life of hell for many of our four footed/finned friends.

taylor-dayne

taylor-dayne said on the 29th Oct, 2007

hey shayne - i am with you. i've seen mulesing first hand and it's disgusting. imagine having skin hacked off of you downstairs without pain relief. so cruel... sure, PETA's methods can be heavy handed at times, but no more heavy handed than slaughter houses or ivory poachers. this is a really good article becuase at the core of it, it's saying - lets be kinder to one another.

Thephotomaker

Thephotomaker said on the 29th Oct, 2007



I'm all for the cause of respect towards our fellow inhabitants of this earth. BdyHLL, I gawk at even using pesticides for kitchen cockroaches. I get it. And I really do want to make sure we do our best by those around us, but Shayne I think its really important not to give just one side of every story. There are yes, a many ways to improve every systems care of animals. And I think everything should be done into pressuring every industry to ship-shape. The squeaky wheel gets the oil right?

However, nothing beats understanding the story from both sides, that way when anyone of us is confronted with someone who knows a great deal of what they are talking about, we can understand their argument and turn it on it's pretty little bum.

I guess it just scares me when I see an article that is so incredibly onesided (even if ironically enough I do agree with its side) It scares me because people can walk away from this kind of article in some sense whitewashed by its messages, passively accepting its ideas rather than actively engaging with the topic. Yes, this is primarily an article about the interesting link of respect between gay rights and animal rights .... but it also touches on so many other issues without being brave enough to look at the issue from the whole way around.

Isn't that something that should be important to us?
Shouldn't we seek to inform and enquire?
Rather than just advertise the ideas of who ever we are interviewing?


Lemme know :D

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 29th Oct, 2007

I'm not sure what you are asking me, Thephotomaker. Would you like me to tell you that rabbits enjoy having their eyes propped open so cosmetic manufacturers can drip their product into them until they are blind? Or that minks like having their heads stuffed into jars to suffocate them without damaging the pelt. And kid goats loive the bath in boiling water to make their pelt soft? Or that kangaroos that end up being skinned alive because of imprecise killing methods are happy about it? And their orphaned joeys skip for joy? Or that the millions of cats and dogs kept in horrendous conditions for the faux fur trade across Asia like the lifestyle? Or that pigs that we keep in metal cages too small for them to even turn around are contented? There are 1000's of instances where animals suffer horrendously to feed our endless need for gratification. Before you tuck into your bacon and eggs, you might like to consider the suffering of animals in battery farms. Dan Matthews is a man who has made it his mission to educate consumers so that they can make informed choices about what harm they contribute to the animal world. In each instance of cruelty there is an alternative choice we can make. I think that is a good thing to know. I think that in choosing to cause little harm, we feel better about ourselves, and that can only make the world a better place.

shaynesydney

shaynesydney said on the 30th Oct, 2007

Mmmmm...good karma. Sign here: http://www.liveexport-indefensible.com/vote_against_animal_cruelty/

Thephotomaker

Thephotomaker said on the 15th Nov, 2007

sorry shayne. i didn't want to give you the idea i supported any of that.. or that i even eat meat. Just was trying to generate some debate on the topic.



(edited for bad spelling :))