People assume that vegans are anti-farmer or anti-slaughterhouse workers. That is not surprising since many forms of activism target those who are employed by animal exploiting industries: butchers shops, fur shops, slaughterhouses etc.
Go Vegan World, and many campaign groups like us, understand that people inherit ways of living and working that they might not have chosen if life had been different. We support everyone’s right to earn a decent living, and work in decent conditions. We don’t support animal agriculture, but we support its replacement by a fair, plant-based economy.
It is very easy to blame those at the coalface of animal exploitation and killing. But to do so grossly misunderstands how this system operates. Those employed by large industries are exploited alongside the animals they are paid to exploit. Farmers are one of the most vocal groups in claiming discontent with their income. They, along with slaughterhouse staff, work in one of the most dangerous environments and face the greatest risk of workplace injury.
In order to best address animal rights violations, we, as activists, need to address our efforts at the root cause: the non-vegan majority. We need to educate ordinary people, like us, about the fact that other animals have lives that matter to them, that they can feel just like cats and dogs, just like us. We need to explain how unjust it is to use and kill someone on the basis of their species membership. We need to explain how animal use is unnecessary, and give them the resources to research veganism for themselves along with the practical help to live vegan. We cannot afford to become complacent because there is a dramatic rise in the consumption of plant based goods. The majority of the population are not vegan. It is they, and not the farmers and slaughterhouse workers, we need to address with our advocacy efforts.
They who hold the purse strings, wield the power. This industry begins when we open our wallets at the supermarket, or restaurant, or indeed the clothing or furniture store, and pay for the flesh, eggs, milk, or skin of another animal. As soon as that product becomes ours, a living, feeling animal is bred into life on someone’s farm to replace the one who is being herded into a transport truck, who will enter the slaughterhouse and be killed to replace the one whose body parts are on their way to the shop that we are leaving with someone’s dead body in our possession, having created a demand for the continued operation of a system that is so ugly and unjust that we can’t bear to look it in the face.
Encourage others to think about it.
Image: Go Vegan World ad, Mitchelstown, Co Cork
Original image: Aitor Garmendia / Tras los Muros http://traslosmuros.com/en/