I love me some Nellie McKay. She just released her new album, Obligatory Villagers, yesterday, so I wanted to give it a quick shout out. Nellie never misses an opportunity to talk about her love of animals and what people can do to make the world a better place for them, and here’s what she had to say when she sat down with the uber-hip peta2 posse recently:
Tell us about the new album, Obligatory Villagers.
It’s a rumbus opus, a ragtime sonata. It’s about the times we live in.
What animal rights issues are you most passionate about?
Every outrage deserves attention. In terms of scope, ending factory farming & our relationship to animals as food is key, because from there, victory in other areas is inevitable.
Do you think schools should be required to offer students alternatives to dissection? Why?
Schools should not only offer students alternatives, they should completely remove dissection & vivisection from their curriculum. Knowledge without compassion is useless.
Do you have any dissection horror stories from your school days that you’d like to share?
In fourth grade we campaigned to remove formaldehyde jars entombing small animals from the science room. We circulated petitions & met w/the principal & made the teachers really nervous. The jars were removed.
Why did you choose to become a vegetarian?
I was fortunate enough to go vegetarian w/my parents. The sight of caged & suffering animals in animal rights literature elicited an instant response of sadness & anger. Kids have a natural empathy w/ animals.
What’s your favorite vegetarian dish?
My Mother’s vegan fish & chips w/ brown beans is always on the top of the list.
Any advice for people who want to get involved in animal rights but don’t know how to get started?
The biggest thing you can do for the animals, the earth, & humankind (including yourself) is to switch to an animal-free diet. It may not be easy, it may not be instant, but start & watch the world change for the better.
What’s up next for you?
I’m working with the Coalition to Preserve Community to prevent Columbia University from demolishing eighteen acres of Harlem to construct a new campus. Among their development plans is a level-3 biotech lab, which would almost certainly include animal research. And of course, I mention ColumbiaCruelty.com wherever I go.