May 2011

Vegan Black Metal Chef

Where animal rights and Satanism intersect

Lest anyone doubt that you can be both vegan and badass, one cruelty-free rocker has combined his passions for music recording and cooking to create one awesome YouTube channel. Vegan Black Metal Chef went from vegan to viral in no time, garnering a million views on his first video in a little over a week. The titular star outfits his kitchen with decor befitting the Dark Lord and demonstrates his cooking skills in armor and corpse paint. What's more, he demonstrates his recipe for pad thai musically, growling out cooking instructions against fiery guitar licks. 

Even non-vegans will appreciate VBMC's choice of demonic cutlery as he slices up tofu and veggies. It's cool to see a self-proclaimed ethical vegan getting pretty much unanimously positive attention for a hilarious video. Contrary to some opinions, vegans aren't so serious all of the time. Sometimes they like dressing up and sharing their eating habits in silly ways. Besides, that pad thai looks tasty (and spicy) enough to satisfy the devil himself. 

There's only one recipe video from VBMC so far, although he has set up a domain where you can read an essay on his reasons for veganism. There's also a small forum set up, and you can download the audio for the pad thai recipe if you're so inclined. The VBMC promises more info and further recipes in the future. Vegans, metalheads, and everyone else can check out the Chef's debut video here: 

Is Veganism More Ethical?

Is the logical end to ethical vegetarianism the refusal of all animal products?

My primary impetus for going vegetarian was ethical. I thought animals were pretty chill dudes who maybe preferred not to be eaten. I saw a world where no one ate meat, where no animals suffered for our enjoyment of food.

I've changed my philosophies a little since. After all, I was 11 at the time. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to eat meat, just that it's not for me. After years of vegetarianism, the texture of meat started to freak me out. Whenever I ingested a little accidentally it just felt gross in my mouth. Too sinewy, too close to what powered my own body to move. It felt a little too much like cannibalism. I also found myself reading about and believing in the Buddhist philosophy of never enforcing one's will on another sentient being. If we consider the sentience of animals to be of value, then eating meat is an inherently violent act. Violence isn't really my thing, and so I found more justification for my dietary choice. 

Lately I've been entertaining the idea of going vegan. It's partially for health reasons (I learned dairy's not the best thing in the world to consume regularly) but also ties into my ethics as they've developed over the years. Most of the time, I don't know where my animal products are coming from. I don't know what kind of suffering lies behind any given carton of eggs or gallon of milk. Both egg and milk production can be nasty businesses if done on an enormous scale. Factory farm animals never see the light of day and are pumped full of antibiotics to fight the diseases they get from their inedible feed. It's not a pretty scene. Less gorey than your typical meat production facility, perhaps, but ugly nonetheless. 

Of course, not every egg is laid in a filthy, sunless cage. Many companies boast free range hens. Many small family farms allow their dairy cows to roam outside all day. I've worked on one. The cows were happy animals. Cases like those are where the ethics argument for veganism ends. If you can secure your animal products humanely, why wouldn't you? 
I suppose one could go full PETA and disparage the keeping of livestock as unethical animal ownership, but I'm not sure what else the cows are going to do with themselves than hang out with humans. You can't really set a cow free and expect it not to become food for predators. They've been domesticated to the point of needing our protection. They'd probably evolve back into wild beasts thanks to a serious predatory bottleneck effect, but isn't that giving them a nasty future too? Like household pets, farm animals are probably happier with human protection.