Yesterday, I did something most people would consider the actions of an angry vegan. I marched though central London chanting about animal liberation. More than 10,000 people showed up for the animals with banners and smiles and a whole lot of love.
Why did I go? Because something wrong is happening in the world and, even in the age of social media, without people going out and campaigning IRL it won’t change. Slavery used to be an integral part of society but abolitionists fought for a fairer future. Women weren’t allowed to vote until the suffragettes campaigned, bra-burned and hunger-striked their way to equality. Hell, gay marriage wasn’t allowed until enough people shouted (and waved rainbow flags) from the rooftops. That’s why I went out and chanted my way passed Westminster (and McDonald’s) yesterday.
There were tons of police but we didn’t need them. It was an expression of anger in the most peaceful way possible, with love and compassion. We didn’t leave a scrap of litter in Hyde Park or cause any trouble! The riot police actually seemed quite comical to me. When you think of vegans, maybe you picture us as militants who are out to make you feel bad. But the truth is we’re mostly vegan because we don’t feel superior to anyone, not even a chicken or a tuna. We campaign for a world based on peace and health and love.
Veganism is about Social Justice
These movements were about social justice. And so is veganism. If you’re a feminist, you should be vegan. If you’re gay, you should be vegan. If you believe in compassion and equality, you should be vegan. As Ellen Degeneres says, “If we’re destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there’s got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”
Do you believe that in a world where we raised children to respect ALL life – piglets as much as puppies, chicks as much as kittens – that racism, homophobia or sexism would be allowed to exist? Inequality starts with speciesism.
Remember when that lady put a cat in a wheelie bin? My mum (a self-confessed crazy cat lady) lost her sh*t. But so did the rest of the country. If you’ve ever looked around at the world and seen something wrong, you’ll know the feeling. When I made the connection between the animals we love and bring into our homes (like my pampered puss Poppy) and the animals we breed and slaughter in their billions, I started to get angry. How is this allowed to happen?
I Am An Angry Vegan…
Here’s a few things I’m angry about:
- My horrendous protein deficiency 😉 just kidding, tofu got my back
- Up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction caused by animal agriculture when we don’t need it to thrive
- Over 150 billion animals being needlessly slaughtered every year
- Class 1 carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer in living tissue) such as sausages, ham, bacon and other processed meats being served in hospitals and schools
- “Happy” Eggs, “Halal” Meat and “Sustainable” Fishing – male chicks are shredded at less than a day old, most animals in the UK are killed by throat slitting and we’re heading towards fishless oceans by 2048
- £3 billion UK farming subsidies that pay for animals to suffer and die that could go to the NHS or schools
- Farmers struggling to make a profit. Veganism can help them too!
- The perception that vegans are extreme for wanting the animal holocaust to stop.
But Not At You.
I’m not angry at people who eat meat or dairy because
Good people can do bad things
We eat meat and dairy because that’s how we were raised. That doesn’t make us bad people. Do you honestly know exactly what happens to get that meat or milk to you? Most people don’t. Could you explain it to a small child, from the animal’s conception to how they ended up on your plate or on your feet? Do you know how long after birth the calf is taken from their mother? Do you know what the cows are fed? Have you seen the separation or the slaughterhouse footage? Probably not. And that’s the point. It’s okay to say no. No one tells you. We don’t watch slaughterhouse footage at school. The industries hide this from us and that plays a huge role in letting this go on.
However, I truly believe that if you sat and watched Earthlings, Cowspiracy and What The Health, you would have a much better understanding of where I’m coming from. I’d go as far as to bet you’d want to go vegan.
In fact, I’ll issue you a challenge. I dare you to watch one and let me know how you feel after. Maybe I’ll do a dare if you do?
When you make the connection to animals and the environment, I bet you will be angry too.
Vegans get a bad reputation but I’ve honestly never met a “militant” vegan but if you have, I’m sorry. Please understand though that suffragettes were angry, people fighting for black or gay rights are angry. We’re angry at systems and industries, not individuals. Sometimes this gets misdirected towards people and that’s not helpful.
A Voice For The Voiceless
As vegans, we sometimes say that we’re giving a voice to the voiceless. But animals do have a voice. We just don’t hear them because slaughterhouses are kept away from us. 1/3 of pigs are gassed to death in the UK. And they scream. They scream so loud. Even writing about this is bringing tears to my eyes because I have watched the footage and seen them in metal boxes, lowered down into the gas. They throw themselves around, trying desperately to escape the gas that burns their eyes and then their lungs. I can’t get that scream out of my head.
If this happened where we could see the fear and hear the screams, we’d all be eating tofu and facon before you could say “vegan”. Remember the cat in the bin? Remember the outrage?
Being vegan is hard sometimes
“But bacon” is a little less easy to laugh off if you’ve seen the suffering that goes into it. That’s why I went to shout for them yesterday because this torture cannot go on. So when I hear those jokes, it triggers an emotional reaction for me that I won’t show. If I get upset, you’ll have a negative experience with a vegan and that won’t help the animals so I hide it. That’s hard.
If you’ve ever watched slaughterhouse footage, you’ll know what I mean. Honestly, I hadn’t watched it until after I went vegan. If you’ve never watched it. I get it. Why would you want to see it? It’s not like you watching it will stop it happening? But if you can’t watch it, please don’t pay for it.
Not looking for a fight
I’m not someone looking for a political cause, a flag to wave, a fight to fight. That’s not why I went yesterday. It wasn’t a jolly -even if we did have fun. I went because I feel obliged to show up and raise my voice for the animals. It is a myth that animals give their lives to us for food. They fight for every last breath. And I have to speak up on their behalf to make sure that breath isn’t in a gas chamber or as they enter a shredding machine just hours after birth.
I’ll end with another nugget of wisdom from Ellen,
I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights. I care about animal rights.
being on the right side of history
One day, we’ll all be “angry vegans”. We will look back one day on the atrocities we have committed to animals with shame and horror. I want to be able to say I did everything I could to change things as fast as we could. That’s why I went out yesterday and why I’d love for you to watch a documentary and make that connection too! The sooner the better.
I wasn’t always vegan and didn’t even “go vegan for the animals” so please don’t think I don’t understand where you’re coming from! If you need any help with what to cook, buy, wear or brush your teeth with, just holla!
That angry vegan x