He's built up a reputation as one of the hippest hip-hop moguls in the business, but when it comes to animals and vegan politics, Russell Simmons thinks with his heart, not his head. His concern: Saving animals, which he links to the practice of yoga. And he's taking action in multiple ways, including paying for a prominent billboard advocating a plant-based diet, reported Ecorazzi on September 11.
"Live Well. Eat Well. Choose Vegetarian" reads the message on Russell's Mercy for Animals (MFA) billboard in South Chicago. Russell also participated in a video for MFA about the billboard and the urgency of spreading the word about a plant-based lifestyle.
“The cooler we make vegetarianism, the more vegetarian dishes arrive, the more people eat them… After awhile, the idea of ingesting some dead animal becomes toxic even spiritually," he stated. “Go vegan. It makes you feel better, it makes you live longer, and karmically, it makes your spirit wake up.”
Part of his belief system comes from his yoga practice. Ecorazzi reports that Russell "credits yoga classes and the teachings of his gurus for the change in his eating habits"
A vegetarian for 18 years and a vegan for more than a decade, Russell wrote a column for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Web site to express his views.
In part, he wrote, "Yoga continues to teach me many things, perhaps the most important is the concept of non-violence in EVERY aspect of your life as a global citizen of the world. The more I opened myself up to the idea of the full scope of exactly what non-violence translates to, the less interested I became in consuming the energy associated with the flesh of an animal that only knew suffering in his/her life and pain and terror in its death. The more I learned about factory farming and the cruelty animals raised for food must endure before they are led (or dragged) to slaughter, the more I realized that I could not, in good conscience, be a contributor to such violence.”
You can learn more about Russell in his book "Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success" (click for details).