17 February 2011

Georges Laraque: From NHL enforcer to animal rights activist

Georges Laraque spent over a decade passionately playing the role of enforcer in the NHL. Since his retirement last year he has become passionate about the animal rights movement. He's gone from being voted the best fighter in the NHL to fighting for animals. Recently Laraque gave an interview with the UWM Post where he talked about what lead to him becoming vegan and how the lifestyle has benefited him.

After reading the interview it is very evident that Mr. Laraque not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk. Unlike many celebrities who pick one injustice to animals to champion, Laraque has embraced the vegan lifestyle as a whole. He has given up eating and wearing any animal products. He has even opened Crudessence, a vegan restaurant with four locations in Canada.

Like many vegans, Georges Laraque's transition began with the viewing of Earthlings. The film brought the hockey big man to tears and at that point he decided to go vegan and be a defender of animals rights.

Laraque was still in the NHL when he became vegan but the transition was not difficult due to his team's general manager being a life long vegan and half the trainers being vegetarian. Additionally, it was never a problem to get vegan meals while traveling. Besides some questions and a few jokes, there did not seem to be any persecution from his meat eating teammates.

Depending on his body to make his living, Laraque did the smart thing and got a full checkup before switching to a plant-based lifestyle. After just six months of being vegan he went back for another exam and, to his delight, found that his high blood pressure was gone, his asthma was gone and he had retained all of his muscle mass. It looks like the myth that you need to eat meat to be a manly man and play sports is just that, a myth.

Laraque also does what I think is the most important thing a vegan can do, spread the word. Since being named Deputy Leader of the Canadian Green Party, Laraque has given many speeches where he explains that going vegan is one of the best things you can do for the environment. He is also not afraid to put his money where his mouth is, recently offering to donate $100,000 to help get Lucy the elephant moved from the Edmonton Zoo to an elephant sanctuary. Lucy has been the only elephant at the zoo since 2007 and has suffered many health problems both physical and mental.

After reading the interview, Laraque has definitely made a fan out of me. He is one of the few celebrities I see fit to be a role model and I'm very glad he is so passionate about veganism.

Peter Godoy | @petergodoy
Peter lives in San Diego with two animal companion cats, Gremlin and Mila, and has no plans to ever leave America's Finest City. He was vegetarian for a couple months until he saw the light and became a vegan. Animal rights has become his passion. Peter enjoys reading vegan blogs and cooking vegan meals. Follow Peter on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/britannia