Dear Vegans: Your 'Peaceful Protests' Don't Inspire Me To Save Animals
If you thought your Monday morning commute was a drag, spare a thought for those held up in Melbourne’s CBD by more than 100 animal activists conducting what they called a “peaceful” peak-hour protest.
Imagine it. Cars and trams blocked from getting people to work during what is already the most stressful time of the week. So Zen. I can only assume how enthusiastic commuters must have been, by the time they finally made it to work, to want to save all the animals. As opposed to wanting to slap all the vegans.
It’s a far cry from my commute to the school bus this morning, surrounded by 2500 acres of nothing but sheep and cattle grazing paddocks in the cool morning mist. Clearly a slaughterhouse to the untrained eye.
It makes me think those animal activists should have just come and trespassed onto my property instead and publicly shamed me for being an inhumane murderer -- oh, wait -- that one was already done last week, when 150 animal activists stole through the fence of a QLD farmer and were quoted as “peacefully entering” because they did so without force. It’s still breaking the law, Susan, it’s still breaking the law.
It would seem animal activist groups across Australia are on fire this week, what with the peak-hour protest, others chaining themselves to equipment in abattoirs, and a number of coordinated raids already planned in what is being called “the biggest animal rights direct action the world has ever seen.” This coming after The Gippy Goat Café in Yarragon being forced to close its doors on the weekend due to months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats, according to its owners.
That’s a whole lot of schoolyard bullying from a group that likes to preach kindness to all sentient beings.
Let me clarify here, before the stone throwing begins, I have nothing against vegans, or animal activists, who endeavour to stop cruelty and injustice to animals. This is an important and worthy cause, and one I fully support -- yes, even as a farmer. Especially as a farmer.
What I do have a problem with is extremism, in any facet or form. The ideology that says the belief of one person makes them morally superior to another, and therefore entitles them to shame, tyrannise, victimise, or persecute those whose beliefs do not align. The attitude that says a person’s belief system places them above the law. The action of forcing beliefs onto another at the disregard of human rights and freedom of choice.
Intruding upon property without permission with intent to cause distress to a farmer and his family is not activism, it is extremism. In fact, if terrorism can be defined as, “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims” then perhaps we should begin to call it for what it actually is. No violence in this case, maybe. But a clusterf**k of intimidation with 150 extremists dressed in matching attire harassing one civilian farmer on his own property because his lifestyle doesn’t align with their beliefs.
Extremism doesn’t work. Not in religion, not in politics, not in ethics, and not in animal activism. Barricading peak-hour traffic on a Monday morning isn’t going to make harried commuters stop and consider the realities of animal cruelty, it’s just going to piss them off and make them late for work. The false propaganda used against farmers as a shock tactic doesn’t educate but breeds further ignorance.
Extremism doesn’t cultivate a climate of understanding and change, it cultivates a climate of division, fear, anger and hate.
Sure, I accept this level of extremism is not all vegans. But likewise, vegans need to accept the act of animal cruelty is not all farmers -- in fact, a very small percentage in Australia. In everything we do on our farm, the health of our animals comes first. This is true for every farmer I know. No, there may not be a humane way to shoot an animal, but there is even less of a humane way to watch it suffer and die a slow death of starvation or illness from environmental factors beyond our control.
There are ways to raise awareness and implement change. There are ways we can learn to work together and create a future of ethical farming and eliminate animal cruelty. I agree this needs to happen.
But extremist acts that break laws and give rise to chaos and distress to others will only ever be counter-productive to the cause.
We can only ever accept others may not hold the same beliefs we do and live according to our own code of ethics, allowing our example to lead the way for change. Because that, my friend, is what I would call a peaceful protest.