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When Will It Be Enough?

When Will It Be Enough?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Lauren Ornelas, Founder of the Food Empowerment Project.

It has happened to many of us, but admittedly it had not happened to me in a while. Having recently moved from a very urban area to a more rural area, I had forgotten how common it is. So I was not prepared for the incredible emotional reaction I would have. Mostly that of anger.

When I saw it ahead I had to make the decision whether or not to look to see if anyone was inside. While driving down the highway, I passed a transport truck, filled with animals destined for a slaughterhouse. Now, I am someone who has done investigations of numerous factory farms, slaughterhouses, and auction yards. I have a tendency to not turn away from such atrocities. I prefer to confront it. But I wasn’t sure I could deal with it that day. I looked and, yes, I could see there were animals inside. I admit to being relieved that I could not see them staring back.

After I gave the driver an incredibly dirty look (which, even if he saw, he would not have understood), I drove on, thinking about the encounter and the decades that I have dedicated to trying to educate others in order to stop animals from being killed. And I know that many of us are looking for that one thing that will make those people who eat animals open their eyes and see the millions of deaths they contribute to so that they stop eating them.

Which direction do we, as animal activists, take? Do we only talk about the ethical aspects of animal consumption? Or do we talk about the environment? Or just stick with the health benefits? Is there one of these approaches that will help people stick with it? Which one is the best? Do we do them all, or does it weaken our credibility if we do? In terms of outreach, is it leafleting? Is it protesting? Is it vegan food giveaways? Is it investigations? What reaches the public in the most effective way to make change?

The animal rights movement has certainly been going down a dangerous path of becoming homogeneous.

I have always been an activist who believes in the “we need all of the spokes in the wheel” philosophy to move us forward. Yet I felt anger and frustration when I saw that truck. I wondered, why is none of what we do enough?

I wish I was going to have some wonderful answer here, but I don’t. I still believe that it is going to take all forms of outreach and reasons to spread the word (although as a vegan food justice organization,†Food Empowerment Project focuses on the ethical stance as we do for all food issues), but I do worry that we have lost sight of the real goal.

I worry that some animal rights activists have gotten so focused on the living conditions of the animals (which I agree are deplorable and should be worked on by some) and have forgotten that we need to stop them from being forced into these trucks – that all of our attention and energy needs to be focused on stopping these animals from being trucked off to slaughter. Regardless of how they are raised, they will end up here and at the slaughterhouses.

We need to keep our eyes on the prize, and that prize is saving their actual lives and preventing more from being kept in cages and crates. To see, hear and smell their fellow beings killed is an incredibly traumatic aspect of these animals’ lives – actually the end of their lives. Truly, I can’t think about it in too much detail; I donít feel like my mind can handle it. But we know from humans who have had to endure such situations that it is psychological terror.

I really worry that we can get so caught up in other things that we forget that what is most important is stopping these trucks from continuing down the highways to the slaughterhouses. And saving their lives. As we know, getting more and more people to go vegan is what will accomplish this.

Continuing my drive, with tears in my eyes and anger in my heart, I saw a sign of hope. A car drove past me with a paw sticker on the bumper that read “Who Rescued Who?”

And, well, that gave me hope. Now, do I think that the person driving that car was vegan? Not necessarily; however, it reminded me that at their core, most people truly care about animals, and our job is simply to open their hearts and minds to the plight of all beings.

Thankfully I know that is a task we can do.

 

Related Stories:

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115 comments

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9:44AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Long, long, long way to go for a massive change of conciousness. At least now this issue is addressed by some.

12:00AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

It's unnecessary, it's insane, and it's cruel.

8:17AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Stop all these cruelties!

7:21AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

This is so sad and horrific! Please stop eating animals so there is no more demand for them. That's the only way to really end this suffering.

9:07AM PST on Dec 16, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

4:06AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

When all these sadistic animal killers will stop killing, torturing innocent animals. The problem is that these bastards are not punished enough. I have more love and respect for the animals than for cruel people.

10:26PM PST on Dec 6, 2012

I agree with ryan b. that people who engage in animal cruelty need to be punished severely. It seems like many of them just get a slap on the wrist and that really angers and frustrates me!

10:48PM PST on Dec 5, 2012

LAUREN - THAT WAS JUST AMAZING! I FELT AS IF YOU WERE WRITING WHAT I'M ALWAYS THINKING. THIS WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT ONE IF NOT THE ONE OF THE MOST MOVING AND ACCURATELY WRITTEN PIECES I HAVE EVER READ. I'M A 53 YEAR OLD MALE WHO LIKES TO THINK OF HIMSELF AS MASCULINE AS ONE CAN BE YET I'VE MADE IT A RITUAL OR CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL POINT TO SPEND TIME EVERYDAY READING, SIGNING PETITIONS ALTHOUGH I AM LOOSING MY FAITH WITH THOSE AS IT APPEARS TO JUST KEEP GETTING WORSE AND FAMILIARIZING MYSELF WITH THE PRACTICES OF TODAY IN REGARDS TO ANIMALS. YET I ALWAYS END UP BALLING LIKE A BABY WHEN I SEE THE VARIETY OF THINGS THAT IN MY OPINION RIVAL THE WORST BARBARIC OF TREATMENT BESTOWED UPON A HUMAN BY ANOTHER HUMAN. THE CONCLUSION I'M BEGINNING TO FEEL IS THAT THIS IS JUST A BIG WASTE OF TIME OH AND DON'T LET ME FORGET TO MENTION ALL THE DONATION REQUESTS WHICH I'M SURE YOU'VE GOTTEN YOUR SHARE OF. HEY I'M ALL ABOUT INDEPENDENT ORG. THAT RELY ON THIS MONEY FOR EXISTENCE BUT I TRULY BELIEVE THAT WHEN ANYONE HAS REMOTE INVOLVEMENT WITH A SIMILAR TYPE OF GOVT. SETUP THERE'S BOUND TO BE CORRUPTION. I'M SORRY FOR SAYING THAT AND GOD ONLY KNOWS I WISH THIS WASN'T TRUE, BUT BEING A SINGLE MAN WITH ANIMALS I'VE WATCHED SOCIETY AS A WHOLE CHANGE SO DRASTICALLY THAT I THINK PEOPLE WOULD RATHER OVERWHELM THEMSELVES WITH TECHNOLOGY OR SOME OTHER WAY OF WASTING TIME THAN SHOW OR TRY TO SHOW CONCERN FOR OTHERS PAIN OR MISTREATMENT. OR IN OTHER WORDS AN EXPRESSION I HAVE COME TO HEAR QUITE OFTEN

10:43AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

And THAT is the million dollar question to which I have no answer but you can believe that I wish I did. I pray every single day for the day when there is no more abuse, neglect, abandonment, torture or murdering of animals.

6:37AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

Unfortunately there is no law that will end meat consumption. I'm veg and when I try to explain because I made this choice I understand that people are too much used to eat meat and won't change their habits, especially because they do not really know what happens in slaughterhouses and when you try to tell them they won't listen, It's always been like this why should we change, or we are born to eat meat otherwise we can get sick, these are only some of the answers. But I won't change my mind although I know that my choice is not enough to save them all

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