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The Album Leaf's Tim Reece

After touring for most of 2004 with The Album Leaf, Tim Reece has learned a few things: Southern California has some amazing vegetarian options, cows are kept in horrible conditions, and different people have different paths in life. But thanks to Sub Pop’s release of In a Safe Place, Tim will be able to take his time and learn more as he continues to tour the world with The Album Leaf.

Was there any one thing that made you want to try vegetarianism?
Funny enough, it was a breakup that made me consider it. I had just broken up with this girl and was heartbroken. I got to thinking about how people—humans—have such an appetite for consuming things. Not just things like material wealth or food—that we know—but also other people’s emotions and thoughts. I thought about it, and it just made sense to me to stop eating meat. I figured, if I want to be a kinder, more compassionate person, then the best way to start is by what I’m putting into my body … by not consuming other living beings. I shaved my head, too. But I’m not a Hare Krishna. I like beer too much for that. It was, ironically, more of a spiritual discipline for me to give up meat. It was not just about animal cruelty but about human cruelty. We’re really a cruel, cruel race, but I think that is reflected in how we treat other species.

If somebody has just gone vegetarian, and they’re having trouble sticking with it, what advice would you give them?

You do it because you feel it’s the right decision for you. If you want to give up meat but have a hard time, then maybe just start with cutting out red meat and poultry. Do it one step at a time. But I do think that we as a society, which includes individuals, need to be more aware of where our food comes from. Most people don’t want to see footage of slaughterhouses because that would cause a moral dilemma the next time they eat a fucking burger. Our love for red meat in this society is kind of sickening. There are a few cattle yards you drive by in California that me and my friends call “Cowschwitz” because they’re just tens of thousands of cows crammed together in their own shit. You don’t really see those types of mass slaughterhouses in Europe. We really are a violent society, and I think it shows in the things we like to consume.

What’s your favorite place to get vegetarian food in San Diego?
Pokez for Mexican and Mamas Deli for Lebanese—I’m really pretty spoiled in Southern California because there are so many choices.

What’s your take on KFC and PETA’s campaign against the chain?
I don’t know how anyone can eat at KFC. It’s just sort of assumed that when you eat fast-food “meat,” it’s probably not what you think you’re eating.

Do you have any advice for your fans on how they can be more compassionate and help animals?
Start with yourself. Treat the people around you with love, and it will come back to you. I also think people should try giving up meat for a while, just to see how it feels. I think it helps you become more aware of yourself and makes you less aggressive.

If you want to see how easy it can be to give up your meat addiction, grab a free vegetarian starter kit. And for more interviews with your favorite bands, movie stars, and athletes, sign up for peta2 E-News!

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