Brian Sumner has a few things going for him: He has a deep and searching faith; he has the strength of his convictions; and he has his frontside bluntslides on lock. He’s closely involved with the hugely popular skate film, Livin’ It, and he’s also an animal lover, who earned the nickname “nature boy” as a kid for his animal-friendly steez. Brian recently took some time to sit down with peta2 and talk to us about how faith can fit in with extending a little compassion to all God’s creatures, by, like, maybe giving some thought to not torturing them in laboratories or factory farms.
Brian’s attitude is that we are naturally moving toward a society where animals are no longer mistreated and abused but that we still have a responsibility to do everything in our power to persuade people to act with compassion—and to live, ourselves, in a way that minimizes suffering. At peta2, we’re kinda feelin’ that philosophy, which is why we have the peta2 StreetTeam—an easy, effective way of getting off your asstoday and doing something to make a real difference.
How has being a father changed your perspective? Do you still get to skate as much as you want?
Yes, I do—even more so now. I film, skate skateparks, and get to hang with many different people.
Are there any animal issues that you feel strongly about (such as factory farming, fur farming, or animal experimentation)?
I dislike any kind of pain or suffering to anything. Does anything deserve that? Becoming a Christian, I see things differently—the Bible says that in the Lord’s days the lion will lie down with the lamb, so I am confident that all will be OK, but moving forward in love to help the little guys helps.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Being dressed in a leotard as a kid and my sisters making me walk along a broom. I was about 5, so it’s not a big deal! I got over caring years ago—when He is for you, who can be against you?
I read that you were vegetarian. What influenced you to choose a vegetarian diet?
At that time my sisters were vegetarian, and as I got into skating, many skaters were. I used to be called “nature boy” as a kid because I loved animals so much, and so it just made sense.
What are your favorite vegetarian foods at home, and when you’re on the road?
At home a sandwich shop here called Jans—it is amazing. The soy turkey tastes so good. At home just veggie tacos and such. I am not fussy—so anything!
What would you tell your fans about the importance of having compassion and getting active to help animals?
We have a voice and it is important to use it. My life is based on the saving of people first because that is where you can change their hearts and that also will end up taking care of the animals.
We have a campaign against this company called Covance, which tested on monkeys and left them to die alone. What are your feelings on the way animals are used in these sorts of experiments?
It is all disgraceful. Why would anyone do these sorts of things? Animals can show such companionship to people, but we all know man destroys everything he has going for him.