Did you know that we humans share a hefty 65% of our DNA with chickens even though they’re not mammals? Not so surprising perhaps that we share 84% with #dogs. But 90% with mice?!? Well I didn’t, until just now when I checked the research.
What we did already know from our own common sense, and laugh a lot over if you’re anything like me, is the stuff scientists have ‘discovered’ (using copious amounts of research funding!) about #animals in all their glorious forms – that they are intelligent, feel emotions and have distinct personalities just as we do. Not to mention a ton of abilities that the human animal could never hope to emulate. And the most important thing we and every other animal have in common is the desire to live out our natural lives free from harm and exploitation.
But kids, as we saw in Part 1 and Part 2, are conditioned, duped and manipulated to prevent their discovering those very truths, in order that society can have them grow up eating meat as the acceptable norm, with no qualms.
That is The Animal Conspiracy.
So here is my equation to blow the Animal Conspiracy wide open. It’s very simple
People + Passion + the World Wide Web = The Animal Rights Revolution!
Ah, if only it were that simple. What I haven’t factored into that equation is
The Opposition – and the opposition is formidable. It ranges from Joe Public who wants to trash what he secretly knows is right and makes him feel guilty, to the meat and dairy moguls for whom Profit is god.
There is good news. For instance, the #NYTimes tells us, An estimated 12 percent of millennials say they are “faithful #vegetarians,” compared with 4 percent of Gen X’ers and 1 percent of baby boomers. (Don’t ask me what Gen X’ers are – I haven’t a clue!) And a Gallup poll from May last year found that almost a third of Americans support the idea of animals having the same rights and protections as humans. That’s a third of Americans across the board, not just veggies and #vegans. An extraordinary figure, and an indication of how the world is changing? The number of people signing up for #Veganuary this year has leapt to 23,000 from a mere 3,000 in 2014. A more than 7-fold increase. Indicative of a shift?
Yes of course, it is exciting. But even if you are a glass-half-full person like me, what is 23,000 new vegans against the 150 billion animals killed worldwide annually for their ‘products’? It’s just not possible to get our heads around such a monstrous figure, but each animal that makes it up is a unique living breathing feeling individual.
And let’s not close our eyes to the reverse of those other stats – 88% of Americans aren’t vegetarians and 2/3 don’t agree that nonhuman animals should have the same rights as humans.
Not forgetting the opposition in the form of the mighty multinationals and agribusiness megacorps who have national governments in their pockets. In today’s world, money talks. Kim Stallwood puts it like this: “The animal rights movement and its strategy, emphasising personal lifestyle choice, is no match for the animal industrial complex, the collective term used to describe the many traditions, institutions and industries which transform animals into products and services for human consumption.”
And sadly, sometimes the opposition’s work is even done for them by animal rights activists themselves, whose behaviour gives the other side the perfect opportunity to discredit the cause. Some hotheaded activists’ perfectly justifiable anger at the cruelty and suffering they witness can degenerate into unjustifiable threats, like the death threats directed last week at a Norfolk chef who featured foie gras in his menu. As if this weren’t bad enough, there are damaging cracks in the movement – some assert we should throw our energies into campaigns for animal welfare, and others insist that welfare is no better than a bandaid over a fatal wound. That we should only work for full abolition of humans’ use of animals. The differences of opinion can descend into dogmatic and acrimonious bickering. It’s impossible to overestimate the damage this does to our cause as we battle to win hearts and minds.
It’s also a depressing truth that ground won can with the passage of time once more be lost. An example is #fur. In The Daily Mail of 17th February 2016 a headline reads “Fur claws its way back” – “More than 300 designers used fur in their collections this year, yet in the early Nineties, wearing fur was so taboo that when American #Vogue editor Anna Wintour persisted in wearing mink she had a dead raccoon dumped on her plate at a New York restaurant.” Not any more. Fur is once again all too visible, and not on its rightful owners.
Our Weapons – the left side of the equation
Ok, so in the face of what look like insuperable odds, let’s take stock of the weapons we have and see how this peaceful war can be won. Starting with the www.factor in our formula for revolution. It goes without saying that the internet has transformed modern life in just about every way possible. Its two greatest assets for activists who want to change the world have to be firstly, that information can be globally disseminated in an instant. It takes no time for a story to go viral, as the senseless death of Cecil the lion proved. There is no hiding place on the web for animal abuse. We warriors are subjected to an onslaught of horrors every time we open our laptops. But knowledge is power. When we know, we can act.
Secondly, the internet has revolutionised our ability to connect with like-minded people worldwide. This is the age of social media. According to The Food Navigator (tagline Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development) the vegan diet and vegan products are ‘gaining traction’ both on social and traditional media. Social media analysis shows an incredible increase in volume now for vegan-related references. Even that colossus #CocaCola comes a poor 2nd to veganism in the social-media-exposure stakes. The scores during one 90 day period were 4.3 million mentions for vegan and veggie content to CocaCola’s 4.1 million. So if my maths is right, that’s 200,000 fewer mentions. Could you ever have imagined that! Plus, Google revealed to Latest Vegan News, Search interest in veganism has more than doubled since July 2009 [based on global search interest in July 2009 vs. July 2015]
Which brings us back to the first factor in my equation, the people – those many people who are talking vegan and searching vegan online. I believe the key people in my formula for revolution are those highlighted in the NY Times, those 12% of ‘millennials’, ie those who reached adulthood at the turn of this century. They are key because they are the parents and teachers of today. They are the ones nurturing a new generation of kids who will no longer be conditioned to eat the very animals they love. Their parents are socialising them instead in compassion and respect for their fellow creatures. And so it will grow.
And we animal rights vegans have another weapon in our arsenal – our passion. We don’t give up. Talk to us and you will find that we live for animal rights. It’s just about all we think about – that and vegan food!
And victories are being won. Big name mainstream companies like Hellman’s and #BenandJerry’s have noticed the trend and jumped on the bandwagon, adding new vegan products to their usual range. Even this week, the Mail Online declared, “Forget cows, we’re getting milk from oats and almonds.The non-dairy market has grown 155% in just 2 years.” New vegan restaurants are popping up all over.
Schools in Colorado, California and New York State have switched to plant-based menus for their kids. Plus, the German supermarket chain #Veganz is opening in America. Veganz, I extend you an invitation to come to the UK – please!
You can find a lot more good news for animals from around the world in my post Persons not Property. I’m hopeful that the tide is turning. I have to believe that it’s not as hopeless as Kim Stallwood says: “There is such extraordinary growth in the animal industrial complex that its exploitation of animals [even] threatens our survival.” In face of such a grim outlook it’s vital for us to keep the faith, keep that passion alive. The animals need us more than ever. Maybe it will be more of a long-running war than a revolution, but we will never flag in our peaceful fight. For the animals, for the planet and for the future of our kids.
With profound gratitude I hold in my heart my fellow activists around the world – the rescuers, the givers of love and water to those about to die, the campaigners, the undercover investigators, the demonstrators, the researchers, the tweetstormers, the petitioners, the wounded #badger patrols, the hunt monitors, the artists and poets, musicians and bloggers. Together we WILL make a difference❤️