Animal Rights Sweden, the country's largest animal-rights organization with 36,000 members, has launched an attack against the organizers of the Gates of Metal festival over Norwegian black metal band MAYHEM's use of animal parts during their performance at the event (Photo#1, Photo#2), which took place this past weekend (see previous BLABBERMOUTH.NET report)."I think it's very sad that animal parts were used on one of the stages," Animal Rights Sweden chairman Per-Anders Svärd (photo) told the Swedish newspaper Östran/Nyheterna. "The festival organizer should have put a stop to it. You diminish the value of animal life by doing this. You sacrifice animals and you use them as props in a show for entertainment shock-value purposes. That's the worst part, I think. "MAYHEM obviously wanted to be the most extreme band at the festival. This incident only reaffirms the way society views animals, which is that animals can be used and treated in any fashion. You deny that the animal exists for its own purpose. "A lot of people obviously think that animals are creatures humans have the right to use as they see fit. You disregard the fact that animals actually are individuals with feelings." Per-Anders Svärd emphasizes that there are exceptions. "Dogs and cats get the respect they deserve. What if MAYHEM had brought with them mutilated dog and cat carcasses to Hultsfred [where Gates of Metal was held]? Then every journalist in Sweden would be calling me right now. But now we're talking about pigs and sheep and then it's apparently not as interesting." Per-Anders Svärd believes that pigs, sheep, cows and other mammals should be treated the same way as dogs and cats. "In principle, there is no difference between these animals. Life is probably the same for most mammals." Using animals for experimental purposes and killing a pig and displaying it onstage is, from an ethical standpoint, as bad as eating meat, according to Per-Anders Svärd. "I advocate vegetarianism," he says. Per-Anders also says that he loves hard rock. "I haven't been to Gates of Metal, but maybe I'll go there next year. Then I will bring with me a protest placard so that people can see what my views on bringing dead animals onto a music stage are." Per-Anders Svärd wants promoters to disregard bloody bands like MAYHEM. "Book some vegetarian hardcore bands instead," he says.
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