Will A Noisy, Placard Waving Protest Further The Discussion For The Animals?

March 2013 saw two separate protests being held on Queensland’s Gold Coast about circuses. Lennon Bros Circus was the target of these two, as they were the first ones to take advantage of the Gold Coast City Council’s decision to lift a ban on the use of exotic animals on council land.

The organisers of the protests, Coast To Coast Animal Friends and Animal LIberation Queensland, claim that the intent behind them was to raise awareness of the use of exotic animals in the circus and to keep the debate alive in the area, along with educating circus goers.

As a vegan activist who wants to see an end to ALL forms of animal use, and someone who believes that ALL animals are created equal, not that some are MORE equal than others, I have been opposed to these single issue type campaigns for a number of years. I believe that these types of campaigns confuse the issue of equal consideration for all animals, and actually push that position back further and further with every campaign.

Despite being able to show any evidence where theses sorts of protests have been a) portrayed in a positive light by a corrupt media; b) create positive discussion amongst those who attended; and c) does anything to improve the plight of animals, these protests are still used as a tactic by organisations who want to be SEEN to be doing something and to further their own public profile.

Read moreWill A Noisy, Placard Waving Protest Further The Discussion For The Animals?

Forget About Rational Discussion, Let’s Bully And Harass Instead.

First they ignore you.
Then they ridicule you.
And then they attack you and want to burn you.

Yesterday, Sunday 24 March 2013 I attended, as an observer, the Animal Liberation Queensland/Coast To Coast Animal Friends organised protest against Lennon Bros Circus on the Gold Coast.

It was also the first time in my nearly 20 years as a vegan activist that I have felt embarrassed to be known as one.

Whilst I thought it might have been highly possible that I would receive a little bit of a cold reception by those who think that it is all about them, I honestly never in my wildest dreams thought for a moment that what actually happened, would have.

I would like to also make it clear, the reason I turned up to where the protest was being held, was to have a rational discussion with those who were interested about why I do not believe that this type of protest is effective in getting the public to take notice of why animals shouldn’t be viewed as property, and to promote veganism and vegan education. Something that BOTH Animal Liberation Queensland and Coast To Coast Animal Friends had prohibited from ‘their’ events.

Read moreForget About Rational Discussion, Let’s Bully And Harass Instead.

To Protest Or Not To Protest – Part III

Following on from the previous two protest related pieces I have written, part I and part II, this third and final piece contains a few suggestions of what your average vegan activist can do to raise awareness about the plight of ALL animals, and promote veganism.

Sadly, there isn’t much glory – actually there is probably none, with most of it being ‘behind the scenes’ stuff so these suggestions may not appeal to those who like to be SEEN to be doing something or those who just need to shout out at people.

First and foremost, the most important thing that a passionate vegan activist can do is educate themselves about issues and forms of activism that will help ALL animals.

A good spot to start is Animal Rights Zone. They have a podcast where activists from the whole spectrum of the animal advocacy movement are interviewed and able to share their thoughts on relevant topics/issues.

Also within the site are a number of academic and non academic papers which will be of use to those who are willing to further their education and knowledge of the movement.

Read moreTo Protest Or Not To Protest – Part III

To Protest Or Not To Protest. Part II

Following on from the previous article, To Protest Or Not To Protest. That Is The Question, this piece will discuss the issue a little more.

Though before I do, I would like to draw your attention to some of the comments made here.

Once you have had a read of that, I strongly recommend listening to this 7 minute ARZone podcast with Ronnie Lee.

Ronnie Lee himself says:

I’ve had people say “that was a great demo” and I’d say why was that, and they’d say “we shouted at people and there was a lot of chanting”, I’d say but why is that a definition of a good demo? Isn’t the definition of a good demo a demo that has actually achieved something, in terms of helping animals? Not what it made you feel like, that you felt great because you were able to shout at people. And, that’s the problem, that it’s so much about how people feel themselves; the kind of buzz that it gives to those people who are on the events. That they were able to express their anger, and vent their rage. Venting rage at “animal abusers’ isn’t going to stop them from abusing animals. So when you analyse what that’s really achieved in terms of liberating animals or protecting animals, it’s little or nothing. Whereas something quiet, that some people may consider to be “boring” may achieve hugely more, and be so much, much, much more effective than doing a lot of shouting.

This is exactly what those who have come to Coast To Coast Animal Friends’ defence have done. They believe that just because there was a protest and they got to shout at people and wave placards that they were actually ‘raising awareness’ for the plight of animals.

What is sort of amusing and should have actually made people stop and think for a minute was one of the first comments in this thread by a supporter of Coast To Coast Animal Friends “Imagine how hot is is for those poor animals down there today. The lions definitely can’t seek shade in the trees like they would in the wild that’s for sure. Wonder if any circus patrons or those against our protest have given that any thought….”

Read moreTo Protest Or Not To Protest. Part II

To Protest Or Not To Protest. That Is The Question

This time last week, Sunday 10 March 2013, somewhere between 30 and 70 people, depending on who you listen to, gathered to attend a protest on Australia’s Gold Coast organised by Coast To Coast Animal Friends, against Lennon Brothers Circus‘ use of exotic animals.

As you can imagine with this sort of protest, there were placards, shouting, people in cages, slogans on t-shirts, an over the top police presence, and they even had a chant going.

It should be noted that the excessive police presence was explained away in the local media as a result of the organisers overestimating the number of people that would attend, and falling well short of that number.

Whilst I am unsure what the intent of the protest was, apart from getting media exposure for Coast To Coast Animal Friends and maybe air time for some of its members. I would like to think that they believed that the protest was about increasing awareness, and getting people to think about the treatment of animals in circuses. Except I would be guessing, as they were unwilling to respond when I approached them for a comment.

I was told by some of the attendees that the wearing of ‘vegan t-shirts’ was expressly forbidden, with the colours of the day being black, red or white, or their own anti-circus t-shirts —  which also happened to be available for purchase on the day.

Read moreTo Protest Or Not To Protest. That Is The Question

Another Step In The Right Direction?

Coming up from March 18 to 24 this year will be Australia’s inaugural Meat Free Week.

A week where, as the name suggests, consumers give up eating meat for a week.

Don’t worry about this being a deceptive vegan conversion program, as according to the about page, … it’s not about becoming a vegetarian or giving up meat for life. All we’re asking is that you give up meat for one week from the 18th to 24th March and ask some buddies (friends, family, work colleagues) to sponsor you for each day you go without.

By the end of the week, the organisers hope you will do two things:

  • Commit to eating less meat, thereby reduce the demand for factory farming, take the pressure off our environment and improve your health
  • When you do eat meat, make the choice to buy/eat meat this is ethically produced and sourced

Read moreAnother Step In The Right Direction?

Is There Such A Thing As An Ex-Vegan?

Incase you have missed it, or not been on Facebook for the past few days, Alexandra Jamieson has decided that she is no longer vegan, and proclaimed it to the world in a blog post titled funnily enough, I’m not vegan anymore.

Not surprisingly it has started all sorts of discussions in different groups and forums, and getting more than a few comments on the post itself. Some of the comments as you can expect have been a little less than pleasant, and others have been supportive of her, though most of those have come from people who are not vegan or claim to be ex-vegans.

This leads me to ask the almost obvious question. Is there such a thing as an ex-vegan?

Answering this question, I would have to say no. Because in all honesty, if you can become an “ex-vegan” you honestly never were a vegan in the first place?

Ms Jamieson’s regression does raise a few interesting points worth considering.

Read moreIs There Such A Thing As An Ex-Vegan?