ARCH ENEMY's ALISSA WHITE-GLUZ On Being Vegan: Using Animal Products Is 'Completely Unnecessary'

February 8, 2023

In October 2022, Black Velvet magazine editor Shari Black Velvet celebrated her 20th vegan anniversary. As a way to commemorate this milestone, she decided to chat to another vegan — one that's been vegan even longer than her — Alissa White-Gluz. The inspiring vocalist of ARCH ENEMY chatted via Zoom (audio only),telling Black Velvet what initially made her make the jump to veganism, what her thoughts are on vigils, what makes a person cause pain and sorrow, and if she thinks there will ever be a time when all life is valued.

Asked what she thinks makes a person cause pain and sorrow to animals and whether it's down to a person's upbringing, Alissa said: "I think it is. If we wanna look at this just from a general perspective, children are not raised... If you look at a baby around a bunny or around a cat or a dog, if you just look at any baby when they see an animal, they're in awe — they're laughing; they're smiling; they think it's cool. They're, like, 'Wow, what's that?' They're curious. The same way little kids stare at you, because they're just taking it all in. This is the first time they're seeing another human adult or seeing everything clearly. Their eyesight's developing; they're able to now take in new colors and textures and see the beautiful wings of a bird or the nice soft fur of a cat, and they look at animals and they have love and admiration for animals. And then, somewhere along the way, we are taught that actually we don't love and admire animals; we just exploit and kill them. And that's good and that's normal. And I think that that kind of upbringing is what makes people... It becomes normal — it just becomes a daily routine, it becomes part of their habits, and they just don't understand why there's anything wrong with it. Their parents did it, they do it, [and] they don't see anything wrong with it. And I get that, and that's not their fault, but that doesn't mean that it's not commendable to recognize that it's wrong now and change now."

She continued: "I think, unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the world that do mean to cause pain and sorrow to other humans, to themselves, to animals, and they do that by contributing to the food industries that kill animals or by fishing or by hunting. And they have all sorts of green-washing excuses up their sleeves to make it seem like they're not doing it for any intentionally damaging way. But, at the end of the day, the same excuse that they use, like, 'Oh, we're the top of the food chain,' okay, yeah, we're the most advanced species when it comes to technology, and we now have the technology to not need to eat any animal products. We don't need to hunt. We don't need to fish. We don't need to do that. We're advanced. We're smart. So we're beyond this now. We've evolved past this, and I think it's just time that everybody accepts that and we just move away from using animals in anything. It's completely unnecessary."

You can read this entire interview in issue 107 of Black Velvet at

More than a decade ago, Alissa snagged a Libby Award in the category of "Breakthrough Artist" from peta2, PETA's youth division. The annual Libby Awards ("Libby" is for "liberation") honor animal-friendly people and products.

White-Gluz took a stand against the universally condemned annual seal slaughter in her native Canada by shooting a striking peta2 ad that showed her above a photo of a baby seal who was about to be clubbed and read, "Bang Your Own Head, Not a Seal's." She also spoke out against the fur industry, and she encouraged everyone to buy only cruelty-free personal-care products.

Last year, during a question-and-answer session at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany, White-Gluz was asked if it's difficult for her to maintain her lifestyle while she is on tour. She responded: "It super easy, actually, because I still party; I just don't intoxicate myself when I do it. But if other people wanna do that, that's their choice — it's up to them. Smoking, I'd like them to stay away 'cause I don't wanna breathe that in. But otherwise, it's really, really easy, actually. It's not even something that I think about. And actually, we have… In our tour bus, in our band and crew, I'm not the only sober one and I'm not the only vegan either, so I'm surrounded by a lot of different kinds of people and we all get along beautifully."

Two years earlier, White-Gluz explained why being vegan is definitely metal, telling the Mercy For Animals Facebook page: "So, I've been vegan for over 20 years now. I was vegan before I ever started in music. I've never eaten meat in my life. I grew up in a completely vegetarian household, so going vegan was just like the logical next step. And when I started doing music, there was nothing that I wanted to talk about more than animal rights. And so I was now using this heavy, passionate form of music to sort of convey a message that I wanted to. When I'm screaming in my band, I feel like I'm screaming for the voiceless. And I can't imagine being that loud if I had nothing to say.

"Being female, being vegan and also being straight edge in the metal world is just a combination of targets on my forehead that make it really easy for me to get singled out or pushed around," she continued. "But those are just things that are so much a part of who I am that I couldn't change them even if I wanted to. And I wouldn't — I wouldn't change for anyone.

"In my opinion, metal is all about rebellion — it's about carving your own path, thinking against what everyone's trying to make you think," Alissa added. "And veganism is the ultimate form of rebellion, because you are literally taking things that people have told you are normal that deep down inside you don't think are normal that you've been conditioned to accept about your day-to-day tasks, like eating or what you wear or what you choose to buy. Everyone says that that's normal, that you need to exploit other living beings for those things, but you don't. And so taking a stand against that is what veganism is. And that is really metal."

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