Morrissey, the outspoken singer and former leader of The Smiths has long-since made his animal-rights views public, even using concerts to promote his vegetarian beliefs and insisting some venues serve only meat-free foods in exchange for his performance. And in perhaps his most controversial statement yet, he told a crowd that the recent massacre in Norway was equivalent to the daily slaughter of animals for fast food outlets.
Just before he started singing his iconic Meat Is Murder song while onstage in Warsaw, Poland last weekend, the British singer ranted:
We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Shit every day.
Not surprisingly, Morrissey has faced heavy criticism for his insensitive and controversial statement, but he stands by what he said, explaining in a statement:
The comment I made onstage at Warsaw could be further explained this way: Millions of beings are routinely murdered every single day in order to fund profits for McDonalds and KFCruelty, but because these murders are protected by laws, we are asked to feel indifferent about the killings, and to not even dare question them.
If you quite rightly feel horrified at the Norway killings, then it surely naturally follows that you feel horror at the murder of ANY innocent being. You cannot ignore animal suffering simply because animals are not us.
I’m all for celebrities using their power and reach to talk about important issues in the world. And I am a vegetarian myself, so I applaud people who help educate others about animal rights and eating a cruelty-free diet. However, I cannot condone the method that Morrissey used here or other statements he has made in the past (like walking off the stage at another concert when he detected the scent of cooked meat and told the crowd “the smell of burning animals” was making him sick and “hoped to God it was human” flesh instead). Doesn’t he realize that his controversial, out-spoken and, in this case, clearly insensitive ways are a turn-off to people, probably even encouraging those who eat meat to have even more of a “screw you, I can eat this hamburger if I want” attitude? Vegetarians are not going to get anywhere by trying to force, guilt or shame people into not eating meat. And certainly not by crossing the line.
To Morrissey, I say: Be bold in your mission and stand up for your beliefs. Just do it with sensitivity and respect.