Prince Shows Compassion for All in ‘Animal Kingdom’: 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
Prince didn’t make political or social statements often, but when he did, he was direct and unambiguous. That was the case in “Baltimore” and also in "Animal Kingdom," a 1998 song that he wrote for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
According to a 1997 interview with Vegetarian Times, the lyrics were inspired by seeing his friend Spike Lee in an ad campaign for milk. Over musical backing consisting primarily of a 12-string acoustic guitar and bass, Prince laid out a case for his veganism. “No member of the animal kingdom ever did a thing to me / It's why I don't eat red meat or white fish / Don't give me no blue cheese / We're all members of the animal kingdom / Leave your brothers and sisters in the sea.” PETA’s website said that the the liner notes to 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic included a paragraph against the killing of lambs for their wool, and that he once refused a gift of a coat from a fan because it was made of leather.
Prince also told the Vegetarian Times that he stopped eating red meat in the late ‘80s and gave up all meat over the next decade. He credited his then-wife, Mayte Garcia, with helping him see the light on the issue. “We don’t eat anything with parents,” he said. “Complete vegans—both of us! … Mayte showed me how many different vegetarian dishes one could have and never miss the things you would imagine.”
For the singer, his beliefs were a natural extension of his spiritual side and his love for the universe. “Thou shalt not kill means just that! We don’t have to kill things to survive,” he said, later adding, “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries. 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, pigs are too cute to die.”
He eventually went back to eating cheese, though. Ray and Juell Roberts, who were his personal chefs at Paisley Park in the last three years of his life, told the Minneapolis City Pages that Prince’s favorite meals were “roasted poblano peppers with pinto beans, fresh corn tortillas, and avocados; minestrone soup; veggie wraps; edamame dumplings; and, though he didn’t eat cheese very often, a cheesy pasta. Spicy foods and Indian cuisine were also big, along with fresh juices and smoothies, lentils, chickpeas, and dark greens.”
Ray added that Prince also expressed a weakness for desserts, including his “cakes, cookies, sour cream apple coffee cake, chocolate mousse, caramel sea salt cake [and] chocolate macadamia nut cookies.” Sometimes his entire meal would consist of dessert, while other times he would stop after only one bite.
However, feta cheese was on a long list of banned items, along with meat, onions and mushrooms, although Roberts would often sneak finely minced onions in order to disguise their texture.
Prior to his death, Roberts added, Prince was planning to add a sustainable garden and greenhouse to Paisley Park.
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