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Vegan pro skateboarder Ed Templeton has been skating for more than a dozen years. He is a living legend. Ed is respected for his creativity, and he is regarded as one of the icons who have made skating what it is today. His creativity is evident in everything that he does, from his boarding to his photography and art shows in major galleries to his illustrations on his company’s Toy Machine merchandise.
Ed took a moment to answer some questions for us about where veganism fits into the rest of his life …
peta2: What are your favorite veggie foods—at home versus on the road?
At home, I eat food my wife makes. She makes the best salads and sandwiches. We get all of our groceries from Mothers Natural Market in Huntington Beach. So all of our stuff is organic and fresh. We eat out a lot, too, at the Mothers restaurant or in L.A., where there are some great places to eat vegan. On the road it has become much easier in the last four years. Almost every city has a Wild Oats or Whole Foods in it. And looking in the phone book always brings up something interesting. I get fatter on the road than at home!
peta2: How long have you been veg? How long have you been vegan?
In 1989 or ’90, I decided to stop eating meat, but did it the wrong way. I ate all the same food, just without meat—Whoppers with no meat, etc. I kept reading about it as I went and quickly learned that not eating meat and replacing it with cheese was very unhealthy. It also does the same amount of damage to the animals. I went vegan in 1990/91.
peta2: What made you become veg?
At the time, it was the people I was skating with. Mike Vallely and skate photographer Christian Kline were both vegetarians and would take me out to dinner as long as I didn’t order meat. They also gave me things to read. Once you read about the meat and dairy industry and the things they do, it is hard to keep supporting them. I didn’t want to partake in the killing of animals or spend my money on the whole system.
peta2: In the sports world there seem to be more skateboarders who are veg and vegan than any other athletes by far. Why do you think that is?
Skateboarders are always ahead of the curve. It is a group inherently in the know, full of artists and do-it-yourselfers.
peta2: What other areas of animal rights are you interested in?
I have an interest in all aspects. The things I do are to not spend money in the whole food system as it is operating today as much as possible. No fast food chains, very limited use of major chains, boycott of certain products and chains. I inform interested parties about vegetarianism through skateboarding, but not in a preachy manner at all. If they ask, I tell. I have found that teaching by example is more effective than by force.
peta2: Do you have companion animals?
Yes. I have a cat named Ptah. He is 12 years old. My other cat, Cy, I think was abducted by a psycho neighbor. We miss him.
peta2: What do you think is the main reason that people should go veg?
At least do it for yourself. I would rather spend money on food now than on doctor bills later. The health reasons are staggering! Do it also to take yourself out of the cycle of killing and abuse to living things. Show some compassion, and act on it.
peta2: Who have you looked up to as an animal activist?
The artist Sue Coe has done some very amazing drawings and paintings that can be seen in her book Dead Meat. They inspired me to be more political in my artwork. I like people who do interesting things to get people’s attention and get their minds thinking.
peta2: Do you find that your stance on animals and living with compassion is reflected in your art and photography?
I think any artist’s sensibilities come through in their work. For sure it comes through in mine.
peta2: What pisses you off?
The people who read and KNOW what is going on, who say they care, then continue eating and buying the stuff they just said was bad. It is hard to respect someone like that. Most people just don’t care about much these days aside from what is coming up on channel 4.
peta2: If you died tomorrow, what would you want your headstone to say?
Nothing about veganism; that’s for sure! I think the way I eat should be commonplace. I treat it that way. There is no need to be overly proud of it. It would be like proclaiming: “I didn’t cheat on my wife!” Well, of course, you are not supposed to be doing that. You shouldn’t be eating meat, either. My tombstone would say: “Ed Templeton, Loser.”
peta2: You are so busy with skateboarding, your art, and Toy Machine, maybe this is a silly question—but what do you do when you aren’t working?
There is no “Aren’t working” for me. I guess when I truly am not working, I just hang out with Deanna or do fun stuff with my friends.