Vegan Rapper Z-Man on His Forthcoming Animal-Rights-Themed Album

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Our feature interview in this episode is with the San Francisco-based underground rapper and artist known as Z-Man. Z-Man has been vegan for over 20 years and is currently working on an album of songs examining human exploitation of nonhuman animals, as well as an EP of songs celebrating the health benefits of a plant-based diet. We chat with him about these new recordings, his hip-hop career, his visual art, and his reasons for choosing veganism.

We also hear from Bryce Casavant of local environmental advocacy organization Pacific Wild on the BC wolf cull, and on Pacific Wild’s campaign to stop it.

Remembrance Day is coming up as well, so we talk briefly about the many nonhuman animals who have been and continue to be exploited by the military-industrial complex, including facing injury and death in human wars.

Z-Man’s Music, Art, and Vegan Living

Z-Man’s journey to a vegan lifestyle began in high school, when he learned of the cruelty endured by animals used for science through videos shown in class on the topic. From then on, despite knowing no other vegetarians, he decided to stop eating meat. Over the next few years he eventually went fully vegan.

Z-Man describes his forthcoming album, Animal Slavery, is one of his more “serious” albums to date. It is a collection of songs highlighting the ordeals animals go through when they are exploited by humans for food, entertainment, and other purposes. He’s also working on a five-song EP called Success is a Salad, which celebrates the many health benefits of a plant-based diet. Follow Z-Man’s Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date on the release of these new albums!

Bryce Casavant of Pacific Wild on Campaign to Prevent B.C. Wolf Cull

Since 2015, B.C. and Alberta have made a renewed effort on their yearly wolf cull. They are now proposing a new wolf cull program in which they will kill 80% of the total wolf populations in these areas, with the aim of conserving endangered southern mountain caribou. This has been put forward despite government data showing that the greatest threat to the southern mountain caribou is habitat loss, not wolves. The B.C. government continues to allow clear-cut logging and industrial operations within these critical caribou habitats. It has been shown that targeting the predators within an ecosystem is not an effective long-term strategy, and it is unacceptable for this practice to have continued while efforts for protecting the habitats have been largely absent. You can follow the timeline from 2015 through to 2019 on Pacific Wild’s infographic.

We have discussed the practice of wolf culling on the show in the past, both here and here. Another informative resource on this topic is Animals Today’s podcast from August 31st, 2019, which can be accessed here.

Please read more on this case through Pacific Wild’s current campaign against this escalation of the wolf cull, and use their quick and simple form to send an email to the director of the BC Caribou Recovery Program. You can also sign their petition.

Exploitation of Nonhuman Animals by the Military-Industrial Complex

Animals do not choose to join a conflict. They do not get a voice. They cannot understand the geopolitical reasons why humans fight, nor can they differentiate between humans of different ideological persuasions. Animals used in war suffer not only the same risks as human soldiers, but additional risks on account of the fact that their lives are valued less than human lives, therefore they are sent to do tasks that humans would not be asked to do. Animals such as horses, dogs, cats, dolphins, sea lions, elephants, and many others are commonly used in war worldwide.

Dogs were used in the Vietnam war by U.S. troops for several purposes. At any given time, there were 4,000 dogs employed. Dogs have been used as sentries for guarding forts, military bases, and individual soldiers. In WWI, dogs were used for delivering messages and supplies across No Man’s Land, even acting as telephone lines as rolls of copper wire were strapped onto their backs. To this day, military dogs have received very little gratitude or recognition, and the ones in the U.S. do not retire. The dogs are seen and treated as mere equipment.

Most unexpectedly, dolphins, sea lions, and even whales have been and still are used to spot sea mines by the many navies around the world. The way this is done is that dolphins and sea lions would detect sea mines and release a buoyant tag to expose the locations of sea mines found.

Meat the Victims Update

The show begins with a clip featuring Amy Soranno, B.C. animal rights activist, who speaks about her experience following the Meat the Victims Canada protest from May 2019. This nonviolent protest included occupation of Abbotsford’s Excelsior Hog Farm by 200 animal rights activists, and is detailed in a previous show we have run. This action exposed the conditions within the farm through video footage, including live feeds from participating activists, raising awareness on the reality of these farms which exploit the bodies of animals for profit.

This action has placed farmers and their representatives across Canada on high alert, such that they are beginning to take preventative measures to make it impossible to expose the cruel practices and terrible living conditions within Canadian animal farms. A private member’s bill was tabled at the B.C. legislature, proposing fines for trespassing on farms and food-processing facilities, with heftier fines for those who breach biosecurity protocols and groups that organize occupations of these properties. It is a bill based off of the concepts of another recent piece of legislation announced in October 2019 by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. These bills are ostensibly aimed at protecting farmers and their families, but this completely overshadows the need for accountability and transparency in the living conditions and care for the animals used on these farms. The B.C. SPCA has confirmed that no charges will be laid against Excelsior Hog Farm despite hidden-camera footage documenting the farm’s negligence toward the animals’ welfare. If B.C. passes this bill, farms will be protected while the animals will be silenced and their plight hidden from the public eye once again.