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Remembering Rodney Society Member Profile: Hugo and Eira Schwyzer

Hugo, Eira, and Matilde SchwyzerHugo Schwyzer grew up with animals and loved them. When he realized that the animals he loved on the family ranch were the same ones his family was eating, his mom assured him, “When you’re older, you’ll understand.” To his mind this meant that when he was older, he’d become less compassionate.

One summer at his family ranch in San Jose, Calif., trucks were being sent into the hills to collect calves for slaughter. Hugo could clearly hear the mournful mooing of the mother cows and began to cry. His mom told him not to worry, saying, “The mothers forget by the next day.” He was confused and asked her, “How do you know?” She told him, “They stop mooing.”

The idea of eating those baby cows really shook Hugo up, but he didn’t know what else to do. He began reading about the environment and animal welfare and came to feel that all living creatures have value, apart from what they can provide for anyone else. “As humans, we do not have to eat meat. We have a moral obligation to make the most ethical decisions possible,” Hugo declares.

“No one else is doing what PCRM is doing. On a seed level you’re changing people’s minds and lives—showing that what’s bad for the animals is bad for us. Your organization is animal rights for grown-ups.” —Hugo Schwyzer

Though Hugo had made his decision intellectually, the transformation away from meat-eating came in steps. Red meat was the first to go, then poultry, then fish. He spent a brief period as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, then finally decided to go vegan. Eira Schwyzer, Hugo’s wife, became vegan immediately after attending the 2007 PCRM Art of Compassion gala and has never looked back!

Hugo and Eira are both involved in chinchilla rescue, inspired by the charming Matilde, their very first chinchilla friend.

We are happy to count such strong advocates like Hugo and Eira Schwyzer among our Remembering Rodney Society members—PCRM supporters who arrange to make sustaining monthly contributions. Says Hugo, “We like the idea of giving monthly—it’s steady and reliable, and it allows us to more effectively budget our giving.” We appreciate their enthusiasm and look forward to many years of connection and collaboration.

To learn more about PCRM’s monthly giving program and to read Rodney’s story, visit the special giving section at


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