When regarding the late musician Prince, subjective statements find themselves turning objective. It is simply and undeniably factual that he was a guitar virtuoso, a musical visionary, fearless, pioneering, and massively influential. Also undeniable is how prolific Prince was, with an astonishing thirty-nine studio albums, to say nothing of compilations, live recordings, albums recorded with his bands, and posthumous releases. You might conclude that statistically anyone who creates thirty-nine albums worth of material would surely end up with a song about the plight of animals, because eventually, what else would there be to write about? Prince, of course, had no need for such a theorem: he was a proud animal rights activist and wrote about the subject very much on purpose, for example, in the song “Animal Kingdom” from his 1998 album The Truth — which was, for those counting, merely his twenty first studio album.
“To eat a tomato and then replant it for your nutrition as opposed to killing a cow or a pig for your meal is reducing the amount of suffering in the world. Besides, pigs are too cute to die.”
For the casual fan — which I admit, is me — it would be very easy to miss this song amongst Prince’s dizzying output. But it’s a highly rewarding discovery.
According to interviews, Prince stopped eating red meat in the 1980s — “we don’t have to kill things to survive!” — and then continued to move towards a vegan lifestyle, although he has also claimed to be a vegetarian. “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries,” he said, “It is never wasted. To eat a tomato and then replant it for your nutrition as opposed to killing a cow or a pig for your meal is reducing the amount of suffering in the world. Besides…