Since the beginning of February this year I have been volunteering for Anonymous for the Voiceless. AV as it is often called in short, is truly a phenomena, an animal rights movement which has grown over the last years to now organize weekly events in over 900 cities all around the world. The number of people involved where I’ve been until now in Stockholm have also steadily increased since I joined the first time in the beginning of February. Today I met several people new to me including a visitor all the way from Houston who was excited too join this event before returning.
The activists are divided in two parts, one group forms a Cube of Truth, which are made up by people standing in a square formation holding either a sign or a device showing footage from the animal industry. The other activists are ready to engage bystanders in conversations around what is displayed.
I didn’t start standing in the Cube like I did the last weeks. My confidence had grown and after just speaking a bit with and listening to other outreachers, I began talking with a man approaching the cube. He was perhaps twenty or more years older than me and after we watched some footage together I explained that we were there to expose the truth of the lives of exploited animals, and to raise awareness of how senseless it is, since we do not need to do it. By instead adopting a vegan way of living not only do we gain health benefits but we also free up a huge amount of planetary resources. A vegan creates around a quarter of the environmental footprint compared to the average westerner who is still in the ‘dark’. Then I told him my story about how I gradually became vegan. It was after visiting sheep and pigs held in a farm in Catalonia in the east of Spain. There I saw for the first time their miserable lives in person. Still, it took me half a year to make a change. Now I come close to tears recalling this memory and I will never forget the sheep cramped up in a dirty pen outdoors, the sows on the concrete floor in the iron cages with their children and the innermost room with all the pigs in such terror of every human entering the dark room the stood in, presumably all the hours of their lives until murdered.
I wish I had a recording of the conversation on video to show you! At the end I asked if he’d like a card with more information, and he was glad to receive it. I recommended him to check out the various documentaries and other resources on it. Since I think anyone can benefit from watching them, I’ll list them here too:
Eye-Opening Speech • Earthling Ed (YouTube)
H.O.P.E What You Eat Matters (YouTube)
What the Health (NetFlix)
The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear (YouTube)
101 Reasons To Go Vegan (YouTube)
Forks Over Knives (Netflix)
I want to write a bit about my experience from the ones I have watched this far, the first and the last one:
The speech by Earthling Ed is very good and puts into question all these habits which we deep down know are immoral in a frank and honest way.
Cowspiracy is great and very enlightening. It investigates how despite the animal industry and consumption of animals products is well known to be the leading cause of so many global sustainability issues, it still isn’t on the top of the political agenda (to change this, I recommend finding and voting for the animal rights party in the country you live in). You can really see how uncomfortable people are when confronted by these facts. It is evident that truth is hidden partly just by fear and customary convenience. Thankfully some people in the movie even have the guts to admit it and hopefully more and more will.
Since it helps being as informed as possible, I will to watch the other resources listed as well and I hope you do too!
I’d also like to add another movie which is not on the card handed out from Anonymous for the Voiceless here in Stockholm:
It is very recent, thoroughly researched, well executed and also free to watch directly on the website. Because of the photo of the cow on the movie poster I still mix up Dominion with Cowspiracy. It happened again today. But I think by writing this down that confusion have now ended, and I’ll be better at outreaching in the future.
I suggested to the man I spoke with that he tried the 22 Days of Support at Vegan22.com, which is also on the card. Then he told me he had a vegan daughter! I was so happy to hear this, he already knew where to find the support he needed! When he left it felt so good knowing that this man had chosen to take steps to make this world a more compassionate place by taking veganism seriously. I can only imagine how happy his daughter will be to hear her father honestly wanting to know more about veganism.
When I was standing in the Cube later, a guy came to make a spectacle of eating a burger in front of the activist I stood shoulder to shoulder with. I felt a slight hostility towards him, but would have preferred none. I know I was once like him and even if what he was doing felt despicable and rude, I want to forgive him. I just want to be part of changing everyone’s lives for the better, including his. Everyone benefits from taking the steps towards ending the injustice to our ourselves, our fellow species and the planet.
No less than eighty people were estimated to have taken veganism seriously after conversations with the volunteers in Stockholm this day. To put in some more numbers, these people becoming vegan means instead of around ten thousand innocent animals living in suffering and dying needlessly to be their food next year by choosing a plant-based diet with considerably lessened risk of cancer, heart disease and many other health problems related to eating animals which also lessens the demand for researching band-aid solutions treating the symptoms of these diseases which are tested on animals.
It means they will have greatly diminished their impact on the climate and environment and have their choices more closely aligned with their morals. This last part of the last sentence is very important. What will happen if we only change for numbers, but forget that this was never only about humans? Even if we can turn the tide of environmental destruction, how useful will it be if at some point we just continue abuse as before? When it comes to the taking of innocent lives, there is no ‘going back’. We must remember this until we no longer make a difference between one species and another, until all are embraced as part of ourselves.
Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have and I will do my best to answer them!