The commercials depict a person buying a meat product — one in a grocery store, one at a fast food drive thru, and another in a high school cafeteria — only to notice that their package/bag/tray is dripping blood. After a pensive pause as the person surveys their blood-stained hands the commercial cuts to scenes of miserable animals in factory farms.
The ads end with a heavy heartbeat and text on the screen encouraging viewers to “help end animal cruelty. choose vegetarian chooseveg.com.”
As far as animal rights advertisements go, I give it an eight out of ten.
First, the positives: The videos are blunt and to the point. They don’t beat around the bush; they connect buying meat with having blood on your hands. The visceral immediacy of it is creepy, jarring, and as unpleasant as it should be.
Additionally the website that the commercial directs viewers to, chooseveg.com, attacks the egg and dairy industry and dispels myths about “free range” or “humane” animal products. The website asserts that “Animal agriculture, even free-range or organic animal agriculture, is by its very nature cruel.”
This is refreshing in a world where many animal advocacy groups are afraid to advocate for veganism for fear of seeming dogmatic, uncompromising, or divisive.
Some groups that claim to advocate for animals are afraid to even advocate for vegetarianism and instead push the idea that “even if you like meat you can help end [animal] cruelty” which is, of course, false and reprehensible.
There aren’t many negatives to the ads. My main complaint is the use of the word “vegetarian.” While it could be argued that veganism is a strict type of vegetarianism and so the ad could more readily be accused of being too vague rather than inaccurate, I would argue that abstaining from meat is simply a dietary choice without moral weight. If what you are advocating is veganism then say veganism.
Shying away from the use of the word “vegan” while simultaneously advocating for its precepts is not necessarily misleading, but it is confusing and lacks oomph. If we want to make the world a better place for animals then veganism seems to be the only path that makes sense, so let’s quit softening our message and give it to the people straight. If we want to make vegan living mainstream, then we’re gonna have to embrace the word even if we think the public may warm up to it slowly.
Overall though, the ads hit the nail on the head. If you’re buying animal products, eating animal products, supporting animal entertainment or animal testing then you’ve got blood on your hands. If you want to help end animal cruelty, go veg
Photo from flickr