Being kind to animals is second nature to the guys in Silverstein. The idea of supporting cruelty to animals just doesn’t make sense to them. So as you can imagine, they had a lot to say about animal rights when they stopped by our office for a chat.

Josh SilversteinShane, Paul, Josh, Bill, and Neil don’t go for products that are tested on animals because of the extraordinary cruelty of animal-testing industries. And they certainly don’t wear clothes that were made with any fur. Why? Well, as Paul says, “I don’t know why you’d want to wear a dead carcass on your body.” Keep reading to find out more about what these animal lovers have to say about animal-testing, fur, their companion animals, and being vegetarian …

Was there any one thing that made you want to go vegetarian?

JOSH: I don’t know what it was because it was a long time ago. I was getting into like underground music and all the stuff that goes along with it. It just seemed like a good thing to do. It makes me feel better as a person. 

PAUL: I’ve been vegetarian for a little while. I was always brought up to eat the meat and potatoes just by my family’s standard. But I always tried to avoid eating the meat and hide it or not eat it or do something to avoid it, or get sick or whatever I needed to do because I didn’t like it. And eventually you grow up, and you become a teenager and you have friends like in the music scene that talk about being vegetarian and you realize you don’t have to eat meat. There’s other ways to avoid it and it like just got to the point where I’m just like “yeah, I’m gonna stop” and I finally had like all the parental support and just did it and just been going that way ever since.

SHANE: For me it was always weird for me that people ate animals. I’d go to McDonald’s with my family and I’d be like “This is an animal.” I always thought that was really, really weird. And then I actually went to college and I was out on my own. I remember it was the first day and I wasn’t even officially vegetarian, but I went to the food place and I just got something that was vegetarian and since then I’ve never eaten any meat. So it’s kind of weird how when I was out on my own I stopped, and recently went vegan just because I always wanted to, but being in a touring band it’s very hard. Well, I thought it was going to be very hard. I’ve been vegan for a few months only and I’m really enjoying it. I feel a lot better too since I went vegan too.

What was the reason that you finally decided to give up milk and eggs and go vegan?

Shane SilversteinSHANE: Ever since I was vegetarian, I kind of wanted to be vegan too. I always thought it made sense that if I’m not going to eat meat (dairy’s a byproduct of the meat industry), I really shouldn’t be doing that too and I always felt that I should be vegan, as well. It’s been good, it’s been fun. 

Do you have advice for people who don’t want to buy leather anymore but don’t know where to shop or what to buy?

SHANE: Converse All Star shoes. It’s vegan. They’re a classic look. We’re also sponsored by a shoe company called Etnies that makes some good vegan shoes. There’s lots of options. I think even Nike makes some shoes that are vegan. I think it’s important that people look. There’s little symbols on the shoe that mean what they are—the upper is not leather or something. You should totally check it out.

Do you feel animal testing is wrong and if so, why?

JOSH: It’s a no-brainer. It’s not right. It’s second nature to us.

SHANE: There’s no reason to do that. Most of the time you’re not even going to use the same stuff on humans in the same way. Some of the tests that they do like 100 times, get the same results like 97 times. What’s the point? You know you don’t have to do that. I took science in school and I know you’re supposed to repeat things over and over again, but when it comes to some feeling being’s life, there’s no reason to do that.

Do you go out of your way to buy cruelty-free household products? Are there any you could recommend?

SHANE: We try to stay away from Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, all those kind of companies. I just try to buy independent stuff, and independent food products as much as possible.

PAUL: Definitely the brands that you do know it’s good to avoid, just to try to help the problem a little bit.

JOSH: I just try to get organic, all natural stuff from the health food store as much as I can.

How do you guys feel about people who wear fur? Do you guys feel strongly about it?

SHANE: Definitely!

PAUL: It’s terrible. I don’t know why you’d want to wear a dead carcass on your body.

SHANE: What bothers me most about that is that I’m sure the person is not a cold-hearted, awful person, but I just wish they would take the time to kind of realize everything and then maybe they’d have a change of heart. 

SilversteinI know some of you guys have cats and dogs. Do you want to tell me a little bit about your companion animals?

NEIL: The cats I have are strays. They were very, very young when they were taken in and we’ve had them ever since. 

BILLY: I have a dog I’ve had since I was probably six. I’ve really become close to him. We got a cat a few years ago. I remember that when we first got our cat, my cat and the dog were similar colors and I think my cat thought that my dog was his mother. A lot of times you hear about dogs and cats fighting, but they thought that they were a pair. I’ve always thought that that was a cool thing. We got them from an animal SPCA.

SHANE: Everybody should get their pets from a humane society or something like that. Now that’s a whole other issue of how they get treated in those pet stores and stuff.

We get a lot of complaints about people who are chaining their dogs. What would you say about somebody or to somebody who would treat their dog that way?

JOSH: They need to not have a dog.

NEIL: Their dogs are supposed to be companions, right? I mean, what’s the point of just chaining them in the backyard and just not doing anything with them?

PAUL: I think that’s the worst thing you could possibly do.

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