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How 200,000 People Were Fooled into Watching Slaughterhouse Footage

How 200,000 People Were Fooled into Watching Slaughterhouse Footage

It all started with ExVegans.com, a website that publicly named and shamed former vegans in such a ruthless and malicious way that it was bound to turn heads.

As anticipated, it didn’t take long before the site was receiving hundreds of thousands of unique hits a day and the mainstream media were jumping on the ‘vegan extremist’ bandwagon and letting the whole world know that they were right all along, and that vegans really were the fanatical crazies that they had always said they were.

To give you an idea of just how much the mainstream media loved this story, here are some of the headlines that popped up once the site starting gaining tract:

“Fanatic vegans launch website to name and shame former followers who are now meat lovers”Mail Online

“Vegan extremists launch Website to name and shame ex-vegans” – New York Post

“Extremist site shames ex-vegan ‘traitors’ for carnivorous cravings” – The Observer

If you’re one of the people that stumbled onto this site in the last month or so, then you’ll know exactly how self righteous and scathing it came across. There is no arguing with that. But thanks to Peter Young’s public explanation of the creation and conception of this pretentious ‘Vegan Sellout List,’ we now know that it was nothing more than a farce created with the sole purpose of confronting omnivores with stomach churning slaughterhouse footage that would potentially pull on their heart strings.

After the traffic starting flooding in, and many of the biggest websites in the world had linked to ExVegans.com, the creators redirected the URL to graphic footage of slaughterhouses and factory farms. The exploitation and suffering of animals was brought right into America’s living rooms.

So what can we learn from this outrageous publicity stunt?

Well, one thing’s for sure: the media is so easily manipulated and that when you play them right, they will lap up pretty much anything you dangle in front of them as long as it is provocative enough.

Perhaps a more important lesson that has come out of this is how it is possible for the animal rights movement to cleverly use manipulation tactics to generate huge publicity for the cause. Animal advocates everywhere are constantly looking for ways to increase effectiveness and bring their message to as many people as possible, and it seems that the inspiration behind ExVegans.com may just hold the answer.

Obviously, baiting the media is not the only way to turn the spotlight on animal issues, but in this case, and I am sure in a lot of others, it is a tactic that clearly works. Some would argue that the damage this stunt caused to veganism is unforgivable, as there is no doubt that a lot of people were rubbed the wrong way (vegans included) during this naming and shaming extravaganza. But in the end, it all boils down to the fact that if animal advocates want to get heard, they need to get creative.

So yes, ExVegans.com might have made vegans look bad, and yes it probably turned a lot of people off, but as Peter Young himself said, “Before last week, you believed the temperature in Hell would have to hit 32 degrees before FoxNews.com would ever link to this: Meet Your Meat.”

This post originally misprinted Peter Young as Peter Singer. We apologize for this mistake.

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Photo Credit: Farm Sanctuary

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388 comments

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5:17AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

1:16AM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

Noted!

5:53PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Don,
" All I’m saying is: if everyone in the U.S. ate a lot less animal protein, the very real problem of animal mistreatment would all but disappear, and I think that’s something we would all like to see."

No one in the US eats dogs & cats (at least openly). Has the suffering of dogs & cats all but disappeared? Has it stopped these animals from being starved, beaten, neglected, tortured & killed in huge numbers by callous individuals or greedy industries? Puppy mills, dog fighting, hoarders, greyhound races are just a few examples of their ongoing mass-suffering, not to mention individual acts of torture.

Again, whether animals suffer or not has nothing to do with whether they are eaten, and everything to do with how people treat them during their life & death. Some people neglect & torture animals all the time but don't eat them (Pit bulls are a prime example). Others can treat the animals they raise for food with great love & care. It's all in one's attitude.

Another thing. Reducing meat consumption will INCREASE the suffering of certain animals, such as those killed/maimed in the crop industry.


3:30AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

No, Don S...have not watched the video as it is almost an hour long and I live in a climate where the summers are short and spend more time outside and away from the computer screen. When it is -30 out there I could spend an hour by the screen watching something... but for now...it is too nice outside to stay inside for long and at night I am often driving the rural back dirt roads. Plus the fact, I am not worried what we are or are not designed for. If I need to fly, I go on a jet, if I need to live in a modern home I avoid living in a cave. I am an omnivore because it gives me the best of all worlds. In the end, humankind discovered fire and many cooked meat. Even without fire, the Inuit ate raw meat and are healthy eating a mainly meat diet these days. Theirs is a totally different diet.

http://www.theiflife.com/the-inuit-paradox-high-fat-lower-heart-disease-and-cancer/

12:26AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Total meat consumption in the USA: 34 million tons and decreasing.
Total meat consumption in China: 71 million tons and increasing.

More than 60% of world soybean exports plus over 7 million tons net grain and corn go to China for animal feed. One third of China’s harvested grain goes to feeding animals.

What the USA eats is not going to make any difference to the world consumption of meat or the growing of grain, corn and soy to feed livestock, or animal welfare. Of course, the statistics are wrong, aren’t they, Don? Nothing like confirmation bias…

11:37PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

- Next: You seem to think I somehow intimated that I wasn’t the person to bring up the red light meat trick. I don’t think I did that, and acknowledge that I was the one who brought it up, originally. This is a minor point, and not really worth much consideration."............No, I didn't "intimate" anything. You brought it up and I responded to it by explaining how it was done in some retail situations, and they do the exact same thing with produce under GREEN LIGHT. It was Dale O. who replied to your comment about the same time as my explanation, maybe a few minutes before I posted.

Don, all of this from you is very much coming across now as nit-picking. It's ALL been discussed, RE-discussed, RE-hashed and explained over & over again. You are continuing to bring up old stuff and arguing now about "who said, what..........WHEN".

11:32PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Don, that's a silly thing to even suggest..........."polling" everyone else here? Yes, you do come across to me as "waffling" all the time, and I'm not the only one here who has suggested that to you. I'm not going to play some childish game to ask other members to "vote" on such a thing. You're now doing it again............you say you never suggested any of us supports CAFO's? You just said, "I am NOT saying anyone here supports CAFOs or directly supports the inhumane treatment of animals", yet less than 1 day ago, you went out of your way to ask us all that specific question. As Pamela W. said, she has an excellent memory. So do I, but I'm beginning to question yours, or, as I suggested, you "waffle" in your viewpoints.

9:50PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Oh, and before anyone becomes upset: I am NOT saying anyone here supports CAFOs or directly supports the inhumane treatment of animals. All I’m saying is: if everyone in the U.S. ate a lot less animal protein, the very real problem of animal mistreatment would all but disappear, and I think that’s something we would all like to see.

9:45PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Diane: my responses to your 7/24/2013 22:23 posting: Unless you polled “everyone else” here on whether they thought I was waffling, I’m afraid I’m going to have to consider that an unsubstantiated claim. I don’t think I’m waffling at all, so if you think I am, you must please state in exactly what way.
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Next, I believe we are in agreement that most of the people tricked into viewing the video were upset and didn’t finish viewing the whole thing, but to me, that is beside the point. I want people to be aware that they are contributing to the existence of CAFOs and the generally inhumane way animals are treated. If this upsets them, well, it’s an upsetting thing to come to grips with. Hiding from (turning off) the truth will not solve the problem, and I have no sympathy for anyone who tries.
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Next: You seem to think I somehow intimated that I wasn’t the person to bring up the red light meat trick. I don’t think I did that, and acknowledge that I was the one who brought it up, originally. This is a minor point, and not really worth much consideration.
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Finally: I think it’s wonderful that you grow your own food and buy organic. If we were all more like you, this would be a better world. I believe you’ve said you didn’t eat a lot of meat, and for the sake of our planet, that’s all I ask of anyone.

9:44PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Lynda: Well, that’s not my argument (that slaughtered animals are necessarily stressed when slaughtered). I’m not sure I believe the figures you’ve quoted, which may have been produced by industry-friendly sources, and are therefore highly suspect. (If you read the last few chapters of “The China Study,” by nutrition scientist Dr. T. Colin Campbell, you would be shocked to learn just how badly industry has corrupted our scientists, our govt, and promoted outright lies about nutrition to the public in order to protect their profits.) Even if I give you those figures, I still feel that CAFOs are inherently inhumane, and they are how 90% of animal protein is produced in this country. There’s no such thing as a humane CAFO, and if we all ate a lot less or no animal protein, the evil CAFOs would disappear.
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Pamela did catch my bad math, and I thanked her for doing so :-)

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