Bush Singer Has a Big Heart for Animals
We’ve loved Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale since, like, forever. Well, at least since 1994, when Bush’s first album, Sixteen Stone, exploded on the charts. But we really fell head over heels when we heard that Gavin rescued his dog, Winston, from a friend who wasn’t taking good care of him. “I was willing to lose the friendship,” Gavin said later. “Winston’s like my child.”
Gavin locked up our hearts and threw away the key when he took a break from promoting Bush’s latest album, The Science of Things, to pose, along with Winston, for an “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” photo shoot for PETA and Britain’s 19 magazine. Our UK correspondent, Andrew Butler, was on hand to talk with Gavin about his animal attraction. Grrr! What was it that sparked your interest in animal rights?
Gavin I think it was that level of unconditional love. I’ve always loved animals.
Grrr! Is there one particular issue that gets to you the most?
Gavin Factory farming and the suffering of animals in the slaughterhouses really upset me. It’s seeing a truck on the way to a slaughterhouse—with all the animals inside—that’s horrible. Things like foie gras, where they just torture the geese. Or veal, where the calf isn’t allowed to move—for 16 weeks of his life he is confined before he’s killed.
Grrr! It’s the ultimate abuse?
Gavin The ultimate abuse is the whole of factory farming. Ugh, it’s just horrible.
Grrr! More people are becoming aware of that, though, and are avoiding meat because of the cruelty. Things are changing now—it’s getting easier to find veggie stuff.
Gavin Yes. One of my favorite things at the moment is eggplant cut into slices and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and olive oil and placed on a griddle. Then you cut it up and put that in salad with a good dressing.
Grrr! … and you’re all set! I see you’ve got Winston with you—he looks very happy. If you could be any animal, which one would you choose?
Gavin Oh, my dog, for sure! People think he’s pretty spoiled, but I couldn’t give a toss. He has a nice life, and he deserves it.
Grrr! I think there’s an attitude that if you care about animals, you are a soft or sentimental person. How do you think people perceive your outspoken views on animals?
Gavin I think it’s really good, in any debate, if you can use your position to make people think. I enjoy being outspoken about things I think are unjust. I am a commentator. I just give my opinion. Take it or leave it.
Grrr! Things are getting better for animals all the time. How do you see things for the future?
Gavin It’s a slow process. It’s a great philosophy to treat animals as your equals. The problem with humans is that they are obsessed with power and money. Sentimentality is pushed aside in the wake of corporations.
Grrr! Do you think that people who have respect for animals have more awareness of other issues?
Gavin I grew up in the Kilburn section of London, which was sometimes a bit rough. I would see so many violent people—lads who were hooligans and filled with hatred, and I’d think, “Why are you here? What is your purpose?” Unless you feel that you contribute in some way, you should be asking yourself some questions and changing some things. And that goes for showing consideration toward other people and animals.
Grrr! With regard to the fur issue, PETA had a campaign a couple of years ago saying that the biggest turnoff was insensitivity toward animals. Would you ever date anyone who wore fur?
Gavin The person I love would never wear fur. Fur just makes me think of shallow women who have no conscience. The fur industry belongs to a time when people were selfish beyond belief. If you were some ancient tribal chieftain, and there was not a department store nearby 350 years ago, I’d understand. But now, we have synthetic fibers, and it’s not necessary. The elitism of fur makes me wanna puke as well!