by MPD
Categories: Eats, Film/TV
Tags: .
Photo: prphotos.com

I never thought I’d write these words, but: Mike Tyson has gone vegan!

You heard correctly, the fighter who’s notorious for biting off a piece of Holyfield’s ear has given up animal protein altogether.

According to USAToday.com:

“Tyson is starring in a reality TV series on Animal Planet in which he races pigeons. He says he’s become a vegan and has “no drama” in his life right now, which he concedes is an odd feeling for an athlete notorious for his brushes with the law.”

Earlier this year, Ecorazzi told you about Tyson’s new Animal Planet show and his love of pigeons.

“I’m honored to be a part of this monumental show on Animal Planet,” says Tyson, who’s first ever fight as a child was in defense of his birds. “I feel a great pride acting as an official representative for all the pigeon fancier’s out there. I want people to see why we love these birds. It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me – New York.”

We’re not so sure how we feel about racing pigeons, but vegan…VEGAN?! That’s pretty darn huge! What do you think of Tyson’s new planet-pleasing diet? Chime in and share your thoughts!

  • http://a-soy-bean.blogspot.com/ ASB

    Hmm, racing pigeons AND wearing a fur hat; sounds vegan to me.

    • Stephanie


      • Phil

        Not to mention that stylish fur collar!

    • Guy

      Nice observation. ;D

  • Brendan

    Its probably fake fur. Lets not start the racing pigeons argument again.

  • Jen Hamilton

    Sometimes the final destination is a journey. I am not going to knock Mike for the hat or the birds. Hopefully, this choice will deepen his respect and appreciation for all animals.

    • Shawn

      makes sense…it’s a start.

    • Pat Harris

      Mike always defended animals., that’s how he was discovered for the aggression and amazing strength he put into his fighting at an early age. [the gentle giant].I think the hat was fake fur. I HOPE so!

  • http://knitsbynat.blogspot.com/ Natalie

    Racing pigeons is not vegan, period.

    • http://shirari.com Ari Moore

      I agree – but I think it’s cool he’s taking this step with his diet. Maybe he’ll learn more about what the word means, and about animal rights, and in the future, give up the racing (and fur and leather and other not-so-obvious-to-some-folks types of animal exploitation).

      Basically, I applaud him for taking this step, but advise he read some more books!

      • http://www.davidgcoles.wordpress.com David Coles

        Have you seen the doco on Mike. It is amazing that he has traveled this far. That boy was abused, used and manipulated as a young man by rich greedy pricks. I saw a clip of him crying before a fight saying he did not want to, and these asswipes kept telling him it was the best thing for him. He never got a chance to think. So slow down on your judgments and I wonder what would happen to any of us in the same circumstances.

      • Stacey

        Racing pigeons is not vegan..not by any stretch of the imagination. Again here is someone using the word vegan and sending an unclear message. If you love pigeons, let them be what they were destined to be, free birds, with choice. I agree that he needs to learn more about veganism..and this step he is taking is no less than wonderful, I do applaud that he is taking his blinders off bit by bit!

  • Fran Kerrigan

    I sure hope it was supposed to be RAISING pigeons instead of RACING them!

    • Fran Kerrigan

      Okay, it is racing.

  • Maggie

    It says he’s vegan, but that pigeons beak is clearly inside his mouth. ;)

    • Rachel Ryan


      • skai

        I think he was actually kissing the bird…but the comment was cute!

  • Vanessa

    At least he’s changing something, ASB. Would you rather he race pigeons, wear fur AND eat steak? One step forward is better than standing in place or moving backwards. I think it’s a great thing and I hope it encourages others to change “just one thing.” (BTW, I consider myself an environmental dietary vegan; I decided not to throw out the things I already owned that aren’t vegan and buy replacements- that’s wasteful! Some things that are vegan are worse for the planet than their less-cruel substitutes. There are no absolutes in this world.)

    • Phil

      I absolutely agree!

  • Nyima

    I feel that anyone who makes a noble gesture should be respected for his efforts despite his past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15611894 Sarah

    Hopefully he will become active in stopping Pennsylvania’s Pigeon Shoots! Unbelievable that PA is so behind the times.

    • http://VirtuaVet.com Doc Truli

      Ever live in Pennsylvania? Believe it!

  • georgina0912

    That is pretty cool. I love it when big names come right out and say I’m a vegan/vegetarian. Deal.

    About his pigeon-racing ways…well, to be honest i do not know much about the practice and hope the birds do not get harmed, but i do not think we are talking about “PA pigeon shooting” the HSUS talks about. Now that the big guy feels nothing but kindness for animals perhaps one day soon he will stop pigeon racing as well. After all, there is a learning curve when going veg*, nothing came to us packaged and ready to use when we declared ourselves vegetarian/vegan right? Still, i continue learning.

    • http://www.davidgcoles.wordpress.com David Coles

      Mike is a sweet gentle man that was manipulated into violence by greedy men.

  • Brendan

    IMHO Pigeon racing is perfectly harmless to the birds, they aren’t being made to do anything they wouldn’t do in the wild. This Pigeon Shoot thing is news to me though and I would love to get ahold of the A-holes that are involved in that. I despise pretty much all hunters, let alone someone who kills stuff just for the sport of it!

  • Sara Stanton

    I think for anyone to come out and say they are Vegan is a big deal; and an extremely personal one. It’s a personal journey and however one gets to it, should be respected.

  • Beth

    yea…the hat on his head looks pretty not vegan, but who knows, faux fur? I hope…

  • danielle

    that’s an old picture. i don’t have a problem with him racing pigeons at this moment. in fact the pigeon fanciers keep the diversity of those birds- birds that are commonly refered to a flying vermin/often killed in some cities. so hats off to his journey. sometimes veganism can sound like fundy religion- you’re never good enough. let him be. his responsibility is to his family. i’m vegan also btw.

    • danielle

      changed mind. i do have a problem with birds in cages, but this is HIS journey, not what WE want from him. he owe us nothing.

  • Chelsea

    While it’s great that he’s adopted a vegan diet, he is not vegan. Veganism isn’t merely about reducing suffering, or about justifying the use of animals so long as they are not injured or killed, but about recognizing that animals are individuals with their own interests, who are not ours to use. Saying it’s vegan to race pigeons is like saying it’s vegan to eat eggs from sanctuary hens. Whether or not there’s violence involved, there’s still exploitation, which goes against the vegan philosophy. Breeding animals and using them in a “sport” does not respect animals’ rights. Remember, veganism is not just about diet. Animals exist for their own reasons, not those of which we’ve attributed to them.

    • Rollie

      If you’ve seen the Outside the Lines special on HBO, the man has raised and cared for pigeons his entire life. They are kept in cages mostly for their protection. Breeders keep their animals in pens and cages to keep out wolves, etc. Also, you separate them so that the strong do not take advantage of the weak and eat all the food.

      I have relatives that raised pigeons in NY and the amopunt of vandalism and suffering that they go through from A-holes.His first fight was from a guy that broke one of his pigeons’ necks for no reason.

      That being said, being vegan is a process. He’s not just going to come out wearing hemp products overnight.

  • http://www.JenniferArgenti.com Jennifer Argenti

    I think this is awesome. I too initially cringed at the idea of pigeon “racing”, but Mike is clearly showing a profound love and adoration for these beautiful docile creatures that are unfortunately more often referred to as “flying rats”, and if that’s what it takes to potentially bring awareness to protecting these birds from pigeon shoots and other atrocities out there, then I say “good for you Mike!”. Besides, he’s looking and feeling INCREDIBLE so going vegan is suiting him well, which is good for the world to see!

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  • http://trehops.wordpress.com Tracey

    I think it’s great he has gone vegan! Anytime a celebrity announces they are vegan, especially an athlete, it makes people more aware of how healthy a vegan lifestyle can be. Yea for vegans!

    Not sure about the pigeon racing though……..

  • Louche

    Oh, come on, people. I’ve been vegan for over 1.5 yrs and still have a leather backpack I got almost three years ago. That photo was probably taken before he adopted the plant-based diet.

    Whether he is actually vegan, and not just herbivorous, is a question we’ll have to wait to have answered.

  • http://www.twinheartphoto.com Diane C. Nicholson

    Wow– didn’t see that one coming.

    Way to go Mike and I am sure that his birds will be all the more fond of him. I’ve been vegan for 16 years and noticed within a couple, that animals acted differently with me. I’d always rescued them, but now they have much less fear than they did.

    Racing has its pros and cons and in this scenario, I’d rather focus on the pros– one thing at a time.

    The pros are that it helps the wild pigeons have a little better status. These are remarkable, kind, gentle birds and deserve the respect. They are an important part of our history and should be treated accordingly.

  • JohnF

    Thank you for your very wise words, Georgina. I often get very frustrated (and sometimes very angry) with people who are not vegan, but then I remember that I was a BIG meat-eater into adulthood. Mike Tyson has taken a huge step, and hopefully he will continue in this direction and brings others with him. Here is a friendly challenge to my vegetarian friends who consume dairy and eggs….I guarantee you that (as a group) the racing pigeons live a life of bliss compared to dairy cows and laying hens. Don’t take my word for it, though–research it yourself. Look up information provided by the industry itself. Find out about tail docking, dehorning, debeaking. Find out about the living space and life span of factory farmed animals.

  • Lisa

    Once again, I see that reporters and many people seem to think that vegan is limited to diet. The very definition of vegan is to take it beyond diet. A vegan diet is just vegetarian. A vegan does everything possible and practical to avoid any exploitation of animals. That extends to all aspects of living. The definition of “vegan” is not a secret. Doesn’t anyone look things up?
    As for Tyson; he is not vegan. Exploitation of pigeons is not vegan. This is probably just a publicity stunt; nothing more.

    • David

      Noun 1. vegan – a strict vegetarian; someone who eats no animal or dairy products at all

      Yeah why don’t people bother to look up definitions?

      Lisa and Chelsea, you aren’t the word police and you don’t get to define words for the rest of the world. If you believe vegan goes beyond diet, good for you. But many vegans don’t believe it goes beyond diet.

      If you are really that upset by his use of the word why do you tell him instead of whining about it on the internet?

    • http://www.twinheartphoto.com Diane C. Nicholson

      n. A vegetarian who eats plant products only, especially one who uses no products derived from animals, as fur or leather.

      a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.

      Here are two of the definitions of vegan from the dictionary. Neither mention pigeons. And one speaks only of diet, which is the main definition. A strict vegan lifestyle could be what you are trying to convey.

      Even PETA talks about not being the vegan police.

      There are degrees of cruelty– I would suggest that there is not one of us who does not entail some amount of cruelty with everyday living.

      If we are all extremely self-righteous, converting others to mostly crulety-free living will be an uphill battle.

      Is training a dog vegan? Is getting a purebred dog from a rescue organization vegan? What about having no option but to use a medication to save one’s animal’s life (or one’s child’s life) that originated from experimenting on animals. Is that vegan?

      When my husband and I went vegan (literally overnight from a normal diet), we decided to do everything possible to avoid any animal products or anything that had originated from cruelty. And we totally avoid anything but vegan food even though my husband has an illness that necessitates avoiding gluten, all grains and seeds, and several fruits and veggies. And he’s very anemic. Still, we work hard at doing everything vegan in order to treat him.

      But let’s back off and allow people their own journey in life. That doesn’t mean that we should stop educating, but it does mean that we need to stop the judgement on those folks who are trying.

      Even if this is a publicity stunt (what could he possibly gain by this?)– so what? Animals are being saved. And since we really don’t know how he treats his birds, maybe we should wait until we do before we automatically condemn him.

      • http://sparklingsights.tumblr.com Taryn

        Holy shit. That is heartbreaking! Yeah, that is DEFINITELY not vegan. The people who are praising him for being vegan, “at least he’s trying”… shame on you too! That’s absurd. You can’t possibly read that comment about “pigeon racing” and think it’s any more vegan than supporting the milk industry where calves are taken away from their mothers. This is the same thing! Horrifying.

      • Christina

        Thank you for having some humility & sense. Loved your comment. I hate it when other vegans act the same as fundamentalist religious zealots. How arrogant are they?

      • http://VirtuaVet.com Doc Truli

        Do you cook with seaweed? High in iron and B vits. Don’t forget the miso if your husband’s system can stand fermented foods at all.
        Good Luck!

    • TJel

      I train my dog.

      I have “exploited” her by training her not to poop on my bed. I have even spent hours forcing her to do my bidding by training her to “Come!” when I call her, all so that she can romp and play offleash without getting smooshed by a truck.

      Hunh, I guess I’m not vegan after all.

      Oh wait….yes. Yes I am.

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  • John

    Men have been shortening their life span/bringing on early disability with the animal product diet for so long. It’s a bad habit to break, but it is just a habit.

  • http://blog.babyganics.com/ Joe

    I would probably say that this is just a show. How can a heavy-weight boxer suddenly go vegan? I mean, his body cannot handle the sudden change in his diet. I’ve got to admire the pigeon racing activity though. I hope that it’s not some fake stuff made up to attract the media.

  • jane

    Pigeons who race do not get harmed or culled or overbred. Sheesh. We do not need to have an opinion on everything and we also do not need to push everyone to one end of the continuum. We just need to accept and celebrate where they are on it.

    • http://www.antebozanich.org/ Ante Bozanich

      There was recently an article in Daily News: “PETA fights to put a stop on Mike Tyson’s new Animal Planet reality show featuring pigeon racing” http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/03/21/2010-03-21_peta_fights_to_put_a_stop_on_mike_tysons_new_animal_planet_reality_show_featurin.html
      There is a comment left there that I like to share:

      12:11:39 PM… See More
      Mar 22, 2010
      Those of you who are naive about pigeon racing need to be told just what this so called sport involves. Pigeons mate for life. They NEVER get a divorce and only death can end their relationship. Otherwise, they hang out together and share all the responsibilities of raising their young including the males also take turns sitting on the eggs. So what these “pigeon racers” do is – the take one of the couple, either the male or the female and separate them from their mates and their young. They take them hundreds of miles away from home and then simply let them go. The one that gets home first is the winner. Only problem is that a GREAT many of them NEVER make it home. They’ve never been taught how to find food on their own and they have NO idea what a hawk or predator is. Meanwhile, my pigeon rescue group here in the city is always finding lost and injured and half dead racing pigeon. We rescue them and then find homes for them because guess what? Nine times out of ten if you find a racing pigeon and call the owner? THEY DON’T EVEN WANT IT BACK and have been known to simply destroy them if they are returned because they aren’t winners. So whether you agree with Peta or not shouldn’t cloud your judgement on this one. Look it up and you’ll find lots of information about how terrible pigeon racing is for the pigeons. It’s no different than grey hound racing or horse racing – money money and ego.

  • Sara

    It shocks me that so many people are being negative and hateful about this. As a vegan I think the fact that someone else went vegan or is in the very least, trying to, should be celebrated! No wonder a lot of people are turned off by vegans or attack their lifestyle. Too many vegans act holier-than-thou like they invented the concept. Get off your high horses and say “Good job, Mike!”

    • http://www.veganjapan.net herwin

      and sara, u-r so right. some vegans are simply bashing people for unfair reasons, and most of all, they are 100% hypocrites because they forget they themselves also were non vegans.

  • Paul

    A convicted rapist, homophobe and misogynist as a vegan role model. Great, just what we need. Is the vegan movement this desperate?

    • http://www.twinheartphoto.com Diane C. Nicholson

      Perhaps the vegan movement is willing to allow people to learn and grown and evolve. Perhaps it is not willing to stick people into labelled boxes and not allow them to expand their minds and adjust their ethics and morals.

      • http://www.veganjapan.net herwin

        The Vegan Movement doesnt need a Gandhi or other saints.(one Gandhi is enough..) What we need is people of flesh and blood, people who do good things and bad things, people who grow and learn and who make wrong desisions and sometimes make that right decision. We also need vegans who are not righteous or hateful, but who can welcome any other person who is sincere.
        People who have done “wrong” and now have grown into making compassionate choihes are the PERFECT role models because many people (especialy young people) can relate to that, and respect that.
        and urm, what is a mysoginist ?

      • Ska

        Well said!

    • Rollie

      ..so people aren’t allowed to change and better themselves, or will you criticize him at every step? He admitted his mistakes and seems to be doing well. Let that man live.

    • al

      It just shows how a foundation in eating vegan can help transform somebody from a violent,aggressive person with many addictions and demons to a man with calmness, clarity and humility. Maybe you should focus on that instead of condemning him for his past actions.

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  • chris

    More power to him.

  • http://moveinstitute.org adriana

    no fur, mike tyson. realy vegan?

  • Ty

    I think it’s great, now he can do an Animal Times cover with Pamela Lee Anderson.

  • http://ecorazzi.com Ty

    Interesting comments all around. I’m just glad that Pamela Lee Anderson has someone with whom to share PETA’s Animal Times cover.

  • kristin

    I agree. As long as he has made this step, he is going in a positive direction. Over time, people who convert to veganism are exposed to many aspects of animal compassion. Hopefully he will gain knowledge that will inspire further change in his life.

  • Stefani

    The problem with the “perfect vegan people” is that when someone who is a work in progress talks about what they are doing to live more morally with respect to animals, they get attacked, instead of supported and congratulated. This is why no one wants to listen to it.

    It is really nearly impossible in a 1st world country to be entirely vegan, so the purism and judgement of some posters here and elsewhere is hypocritical. I learned from a woman I respect last year that SUGAR is not vegan (unless you buy vegan sugar). Your tires are not vegan. etc etc etc.

    I too squinch at the pigeon racing thing, but it seems like he loves his pigeons and going vegan was part of him trying to live rightly, a more moral life.

    We should applaud and support him, not find all the ways in which he is not perfect. No one is.

    BTW, how many ants did you step on today on the way out of the house?

    Anyway, Mike Tyson, if you are reading this, WAY TO GO, man. I really tip my hat (if I was wearing a hat, non-fur mind you!) to you. I really respect that you are trying to improve yourself and live a more spiritually correct life, and don’t let the haters get you down.

    Good on you! I will be watching for more good news about you and from you! You are turning yourself into a role model, mindfully, which is changing past ways that I know we both agree were not right. You seem genuine, and you are on the path. Kudos!

  • Vegan

    Something else: When I visit your website (I´m visiting from Germany) all the banners at the top and on the right-hand side are advertisment for McDonalds. Not really very eco-friendly.
    You probably don`t have any control over the content of the banners but why not move your website to an ad-free webspace?

    • http://VirtuaVet.com Doc Truli

      Corporate Big Food America programs minds everywhere it can. The ads give evidence that this site is funded by the hypnotic, mind-programming of “Big Food.” It’s insidious and very difficult to lock out of your psyche. Americans probably don’t even realize how pervasive the advertising and programming has become in the past 30 years.
      Many eco sites are owned by big Corporate America either outright, or through advertising. Try to find the true ownership of this site, for example. I cannot find a clear, honest owner for the site. Or even an honest editorial comment to explain the disgusting ads for Snickers and McDonald’s coupled with trendy “green” eco content. I smell social engineering at its best. It’s deadly serious business. Beautiful website, but to what purpose? Really?
      Perhaps the pervasive hypnotic programming is why Vegans and others respond so quickly and harshly to assaults against their senses and ethics. The onslaught of mind control from the meat, milk, egg, cheese, corn, sugar, pharmaceutical, and war industry is constant, pervasive, and nearly impossible to avoid in America. So one Vegan freaking out about the obvious inconsistencies and hypocrisies gets singled out and shot down by friends and family on behalf of corporate America. Yes, the programming is deep. Basically, the advertisements tell us, “Vegetarianism is unAmerican.” Vegans are not overreacting, that’s for sure!

      • http://www.ecorazzi.com Michael d’Estries

        I own the site — and my business partner and I have zero ties to any corporation, organization, etc. It’s not very hard to find ownership information, just check the WHOIS. We’re simply two people that created a site to talk about these issues in a green light — with a ‘gossip’ spin.

        As for ads, we do our best to filter out companies that are not in sync with our content. Unfortunately, as we rely on Google Adsense and other ad networks, having a say in what appears is sometimes only possible after the fact. Which is why we thank readers for pointing out offensive ads — especially those readers in other countries.

        We rely on advertising income to keep this site going — and to keep disseminating news we think is important to highlight. Believe me, we’re not trying to “hypnotize” you.

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  • Ska

    About bloody time!

  • Ska

    Whoa! This news is the bite of the [y]ear!

  • Diggs Shobes

    Cool. The more Vegans the better.

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  • http://reducebellyfat-now.com Karlene

    Way to Go Mike ;-)

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  • http://cruelty-free.org/environment/ Paul York

    I am glad when anyone goes vegan, but I recall that he is a convincted rapist and also a man with violent tendencies and a man whose actions betray a lot of narcissism. I wonder if veganism is just a fad for him (as it was with Angelina Jolie) or a serious life-long committment? It’s easy to say your a vegan, but if it’s not based a serious concern for the non-human other, it won’t last long, and he’ll go back to meat-eating, which in the end is worse for the cause. It hurt the cause for Jolie to backtrack on it; it would have been better had she never tried it. Tyson goes for all sorts of counter-culture ideas, because they’re counter-cultural, not becasue they’re morally right, so I am skeptical.