If punk rock and BMX had a child, it would be Sean Burns. Sean is a professional BMX rider, and when he’s not doing tabletops somewhere in Seattle, he’s riding for Metal Bikes, èclat, Osiris, and Bone Deth. He’s also sponsored by the likes of Guy Skinny, Wipperman Chains, and Dick Maul’s Bike Shop. Obviously, Sean is a sought-after dude in the BMX community, and once we found out that he’s one of the most animal-friendly riders out there (he’s even vegetarian!), we couldn’t resist him either.
Being vegetarian for six years hasn’t slowed Sean down. In fact, his healthy diet and high energy may be why he won Ride BMX‘s Nora Cup Award for “Best Video Part of the Year” for appearing in Dead Bang. As an animal-loving BMX pro, Sean likes to refer to KFC as “Killing Fun Company” and thinks that you should adopt “pretty-looking wee creatures” from your local animal shelter. Could he be any more awesome? I think not.
Here’s Sean in his own words:
peta2: How did you get your start in BMX, and how long have you been riding?
Sean: When I was 10, I assembled together a weird-looking skateboard …. It was a dolly cart with a big piece of plywood nailed to it, and I surfed it into my neighbor’s garage. My father then bought me a BMX bicycle thinking it’d be a lot more normal than me nailing and duct-taping things in the garage together. Since then I have been jumping off of everything! I started at 10 years old, so it’s been about 14 years on the bike.
peta2: We hear that you’re vegetarian! How long have you been vegetarian, and what made you decide to remove meat from your diet?
Sean: I have been a solid vegetarian now since 2003, so … about six years. Before that, even at the early ages of 9 to 14, I absolutely hated the blood from steak on my dinner plate. It always made me gag. I would take my meat and hide it under the plate. It has always disgusted me. Throughout high school, I always avoided school lunches and spent my money on sweets at the school store. I slowly but surely just realized when I was 18 to 19 that I couldn’t eat any meat products at all anymore.
peta2: Thanks to pressure from PETA, the company that coordinates the purchase of chickens for all KFCs in Canada has asked suppliers to phase in the use of the least cruel method of slaughter available, and most KFCs in Canada have even added a vegetarian chicken sandwich to their menus. But KFCs in the U.S. refuse to follow suit. How do you feel about KFC?
Sean: Filthy, rotten, dirty! You obviously have got to have no sympathy or morals in order to kill animals for a living. Are they pulling mental patients out of psycho wards and putting them straight to work in slaughterhouses? KFC equals Killing Fun Company!
peta2: More than 8 million unwanted animals end up in animal shelters every year, and half of them must be euthanized because of the lack of good homes. How do you feel about adopting animals from animal shelters rather than purchasing them from a breeder or a pet store?
Sean: Animal shelters are a must, especially since some of [the animals in the shelters] come from abused homes and such. It’s understandable if a family wants to have their own baby and not adopt. But to be selfish and want a fresh young pup or kitten ’cause “it’s cute” is actually a little bit disgusting. There are plenty of pretty-looking wee creatures at the shelter. I myself like cats like my women—thick and voluptuous. And if you like big fat cats, there are plenty at the shelter. Massive, jumbo, hungry, big fat cats.
peta2: You don’t look like a guy who would wear fur, so you might not be aware that the U.S. gets a majority of its fur from China, where PETA has gone undercover and filmed workers in the fur industry skinning animals while they’re still alive, including dogs and cats. How do you feel about the fact that animals such as bunnies, foxes, and even dogs and cats are still being killed for their fur?
Sean: If you’re going to wear bunny and cat fur, you might as well use their skulls as your morning coffee mug. I find it repulsive. Once again, we’re not cavemen anymore. We don’t need fur to keep us warm.
peta2: Are there any other animal rights issues that are particularly important to you (animal testing, circuses, factory farming, etc.)? And why?
Sean: Circus folk … the long-standing freaks. Sure, it’s a good way for ex-cons to make a living, but making a living off of the embarrassment of animals is downright low. I went to a few circuses when I was young, and I never understood why they whipped the animals. I always thought it must be a terrible life to travel around in the back of a truck, get out, and do tricks for a big crowd. Hell, that’s why I personally don’t like contests for riding bikes. You drive really far, get out, everyone is staring at you, and you have to perform. Not my style—nor should it be for the nervous elephant.
peta2: What’s next for you?
Sean: Keep on keeping on. I plan to just keep doing what I’m doing—riding bikes and having fun!
Sean stands out in the BMX world not only for his insane tricks but also for his courage in standing up for animals! Be sure to check out Dead Bang so you can see him in action, and keep your eyes on Metal Bikes and èclat to see what’s up next for Sean. But before you do that, make sure you follow Sean’s lead and take our Pledge to Be Veg. Not only does going vegetarian save the lives of 100 animals a year—it’s also better for you and the environment!