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FamousVeggie.com's Celebrity Interview with
Rider Strong.

1. I understand you have been a vegetarian since childhood. Is this true? Were your parents influential in this decision?
I was raised a vegetarian until I learned the benefits of trading lunches at 8. I went back to it at 16, that time as an independent decision. My parents have been vegetarians since before I was born - my mom is a nutritionist and they decided it was the healthiest thing to do.

2.How do you think parent's should bring up the subject of vegetarianism to their children?
I think, like any other issue, as long as a parent approaches their child with respect and a willingness to discuss, it should fall into place. The key is to make sure YOU are educated about how to balance a diet - especially for babies. But once kids can make their own decisions, I think it's important to let them experiment. If your convictions of vegetarianism are really that persuasive, they should speak for themselves.

3. Were you ever teased for being a vegetarian as a child?
Not at all! I was raised in Northern California: a haven for veggies. If anything, being a vegetarian but not being vegan was odd. I get teased for it now, though. It's amazing how some people almost find vegetarianism offensive - it threatens them in some way. I think the popular perception of veggies is that we are militant, judgmental extremists - which is just ridiculous.

4. What are your thoughts on animal rights?
Well, my thoughts are a little complicated. I have no problem with the idea of something dying in order for me to live. I believe it is perfectly natural to kill an animal for your own survival. Having said that, I think there is a gross imbalance in the structure of the meat and dairy industry - an imbalance founded upon reducing animals to mechanisms within an economic system. My vegetarianism is based upon the fact that ecologically, it makes no sense to put as much energy and as many resources as we do into one pound of hamburger. The idea of raising my own animals on my own terms for consumption someday doesn't bother me at all.

5. Do you have any pets?
In my family, I grew up surrounded by animals (a pony, dogs, turtle, cats, guinea pigs, etc,) and on my own I have 2 cats: Memphis and December. I would love to have a dog, but I'm not a big fan of city dogs - I'll wait until I have enough space to let him/her be a dog.

6. I have heard you are an environmentalist. What do you think is the biggest problem facing our planet these days?
Overpopulation is undoubtedly the biggest factor I can think of leading to our own destruction. But actually, I think if I could point only to one thing it would have to be our cultural interpretation of the earth. Simply our stark division between Wilderness and Culture is a false one - our belief that the earth is something outside of (and completely separable) from us.

7. Is it important to you that someone you love and care about(example:girlfriend) be a vegetarian?
That's a tough question, because it just worked out that the girl I've been dating for a while is a vegetarian. I wouldn't say it's a requirement or anything, (I have dated non-veggies) but I guess it would make things harder. The truth is: like minds attract, so even if someone isn't a vegetarian, chances are they'll posses a similar worldview, enough that it won't be an issue.

8. Do you know any other famous veggies?
Actually, no.

9. Are you a junk food vegetarian or do you eat healthfood? What is a typical meal like for Rider Strong?
Healthfood, definitely. Living in New York, I eat out a lot, which isn't great, but it's hard to resist. I've already pegged the good organic and veggie restaurants in the city, though. A typical meal involves relating what I'm eating to everything else I've eaten (or know I will eat) that day, to make sure I'm getting what I need. Lately, for lunch, I've been going to this great little healthfood spot and getting a tofu dog with everything on it, a protein shake, and some veggie soup.

10. What have you been up to since your Boy Meets World days?
I'm going to school here in the city, studying English and loving every minute. I produced and starred in a film with my brother called Buck Naked Arson the summer after the show ended, and that's been winning some festival awards, which is really exciting. I headed up a pilot last season for UPN, but it didn't get picked up (I'm not sure if I want to jump back into TV, anyway). And most recently I took last semester off to go make a horror film.

11. Anything new coming up in the future you'd like to tell us about? (Movies,tv appearances, etc)
Well, Cabin Fever, the movie I just made should be all finished in a month or so, and we're pretty confident it'll be in theaters soon. Buck Naked Arson should make it out to video and TV sometime this year.

12. Anything else you'd like to say before you go?
Thanks for the interview, and thanks for helping to spread a positive message.