Activist Father Shares His Wisdom
Just in time for Father’s Day, we had the chance to talk to animal rights advocate and super dad Alistair Currie. He’s been fighting the good fight for animals for many years and is passing on his compassion for animals to his son, Alex. It’s amazing to see the animal rights message spreading from one generation to the next, and it all started with an argument! Check out our Q&A with Alistair to find out how he gets active for animals and shares his passion with his family.
How did you first get interested in animal rights?
When I was about 18 I tried to talk a veggie friend out of his vegetarianism and lost the argument. It took me another 10 years or so to get involved in AR campaigning, when I finally concluded that, for me, just keeping my own hands clean wasn’t doing enough. I got involved in my local group and then went on to work in various professional AR groups, coming to PETA four years ago.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment within the animal rights movement?
Last year here at PETA, I was involved with getting a major European agency to issue new guidance which prevented around 4 million animals being used in duplicative chemical tests. That was a pretty good day at work, but I also think getting just one person to go vegetarian or vegan is always something to be proud of. We need more individuals doing the right thing, and you don’t need to be a professional activist or have technical knowledge to achieve that.
How do you share your passion for animal rights with your family?
My wife was already vegan when I met her and is a professional animal campaigner too. While our son is too young to understand the issues, he already loves our rescue rats, and that sets him up well for a life of compassion.
Are your children vegan, and how have other people reacted to that?
There was never any question for us that we’d raise Alex vegan, as we know plenty of other parents who’ve done it and their children are all healthy and happy. Our son is innocent and embraces life and has never done anything harmful in his 10 months on the planet. The thought of putting the flesh of a dead animal in his mouth just seems unimaginable. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the attitudes of health professionals. At our first appointment with the midwife, my wife told her she was vegan. The midwife replied, “I don’t worry about people like you – I know you think about what you eat and nutrition. It’s people who eat burgers I worry about.” Alex loves his food and eats pretty much anything and everything we give him. I think the fact that he is so energetic and a long way from anaemic and skinny-looking makes it pretty difficult for people to criticise his diet, even if they want to.
Do you want your children to get involved in campaigning?
I think it’s a parent’s job to bring up their kids with strong values and a belief that they should stand up for others less fortunate than themselves. Alex will be going with me to a foie gras demonstration outside Fortnum & Mason this Father’s Day. When he’s old enough to decide for himself, I’ll be very pleased if he wants to get involved in campaigning.