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.

I had been at the protest site for less 30 minutes wandering through the crowd talking to both protesters and circus goers alike, when I decided to talk to some of the members of the Queensland Police Service – Public Safety Response Team about the difference in presence between this protest and the previous one two weeks earlier. It was during this discussion that I noticed the organiser of Coast To Coast Animal Friends, Shane Waett and friend coincidently move positions to where I was standing. I was in the process of politely thanking the police officers for their time, when the abuse from Ms Waett began. I was told that there were well over 70 people at the previous protest, not the between 30 and 70 people, depending on who you listen to, that I quoted. I explained to her that I said that because there were a number of different figures quoted by different sources. Ms Waett then proceeded to harass me, arrogantly asking me why I was talking to the police when they were ‘there for them’. The abuse and harassment from the protest organiser continued in full view of the police, the general community, and other protesters.

It was at about this point that the male that slinked over with her, who I now believe is her partner Kevin, started to abuse and harass me. He asked me why I was there, mistakenly claiming that I had been ‘slagging off’ his partner’s group and ALQ all week. I told him that my critique of Coast To Coast Animal Friends was in accordance with my belief that single issue campaigns and campaigns based on intimidation are ineffective – this has been my position for a number of years.

The discussion was briefly interrupted by another protester abusing one of the Public Safety Response Team members who was standing there, and I used that opportunity to thank them for their time again and head off. As I was doing so, I heard ‘Kevin’ make a cowardly comment that was designed to be extremely insulting to me about my partner. Ms Waett pulled him up saying, “We can’t say that” which was a little bit pointless because he already had.

I believed that that would have been the extent of their rant, except unfortunately I was very mistaken. Sometime near the end of the protest, Ms Waett did what all bullies do, and went looking for an easier target to harass. She believed that she found one in my partner and her friend. These two young females were harassed and interrogated by her over alleged inappropriate comments that had been made on a Facebook thread somewhere and over things that I had written.

Just in case you missed that bit, I will repeat it. Shane Waett, the leader and organiser of Coast To Coast Animal Friends, was harassing two young girls over a comment that they made in a facebook thread, along with the previous articles that I had written – something that neither of them had any input in or control of.

The president of Animal Liberation Queensland, Chay Neal, even made inappropriate comments to my partner about me.

At no point during this whole farce of a protest was I disrespectful or abusive to anyone, regardless of whether they were a circus goer or a protestor.

Let me make this perfectly clear. Bullying my family and friends because of something that I have written or said is nothing short of cowardice, and should not be tolerated or accepted by anyone, regardless of what your views or beliefs may be. Let alone a group of allegedly mature adults who claim to be showing others how compassionate they are.

To that end, I hold those in Animal Liberation Queensland and Coast To Coast Animal Friends personally responsible for the anguish and distress that my partner and friends have suffered, and look forward to a public apology for their behaviour.

[GARD]As with all intimidating behaviours, the events of Sunday have not nor will not be used to bully myself or my family into submission. In fact it has strengthened our resolve even further, showing us that what we are doing is right, and for the benefit of ALL animals – not our own egos or self promotion.

To every single person who was at that protest and took part in the dirty looks, the gossip, and snide remarks all because someone else said that you had to, I hope that you honestly feel proud of yourself and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It’s those you claim to advocate on behalf of that you’ve let down more than me or my family and friends

6 thoughts on “Forget About Rational Discussion, Let’s Bully And Harass Instead.”

  1. Hi Cameron, I am sorry you’ve had to write this. I know how you feel. Bullying is rife by this vegetarian you’ve named. I left coast to coast for the same reason and more. Good leaders listen and act collaboratively and enjoy others input. I know we have not seen eye to eye but I appreciate your blog. I have been disappointed at ALQ for not replying to an of my requests to help end the killing at UQ as you know, but that’s in the past and I have passed on docs and info to Chay from my protest that I mostly organized with C2C at council as I believe in protesting MPs, and councillors and not the general public like you think also. These protests only antagonize people like outside Lennons. Please say to Kelsey,head up don’t worry, her followers will soon see her for what she is. Thanks for calling it now it is, cheers Simone

  2. I’ve always wondered what goes on at these protests. I have never attended one either–the closest I have been was a live export rally, which is a completely different kettle.

    Next time one is scheduled around here I will be sure to attend as the “observer” to see, indeed, how it plays out.

    • With this protest I was a rather active observer, and took the time to talk to the public who were walking by at the time, along with circus goers. Especially their thoughts on the ‘walk of shame’.
      All that will be coming in future posts.

  3. I’m not sure what the relevance of the number of attendees to these protests has to do with anything. Isn’t advocacy about making a difference in the lives of others? Would it be better to have 100 protesters attend an event that intimidated and harassed the community, thereby alienating any message or cause, or to have 1 person attending that actually made a difference in the actual lives of others?

    Isn’t it about time that those who claim to be advocating on behalf of others made the effort to understand what actually works and what doesn’t, by reading/listening to the enormous amount of information available to everyone on this topic? The most important thing we can all do in our service for other animals is to educate ourselves and understand that there are actions that actually harm the cause, and those actions, regardless of how they may make the humans participating in them feel about themselves, are often not doing anything at all to educate the community about why other animals are not the type of individuals who deserve to be used or exploited. Until we manage to learn how to educate the non-vegan community on such issues, there will never be a change in the attitudes that allow humans to continue to consider it socially acceptable to oppress and objectify others.

  4. Interesting….. I live in Sydney, and attend quite a few Animal Liberation NSW protests here… Ours (by comparison to what I’ve just read) are rather placid.. No one abuses anyone – certainly not in that way.. Rather, someone may say something in response to what a circus-goer has said to them.. Even then, to my knowledge, that hasn’t happened (at least, not to point where it was big enough to be talked about)… Generally cop abuse from the circus organisers, but from my experience, Animal Lib protest goers usually respond well (sometimes frustrated, with anger in their voice, etc- but never rude, and never in an abusive manner)… There was an instance once where a few got arrested- however all they had been doing was standing in peaceful protest (literally, just standing there holding signs.. and with full council permission to do so)… but a couple of police officers arrested them anyway (later for all charges to me dismissed, as it was ridiculous)… but I’ve never whitnessed anything like what you described….. I’m sad that that happened to you. A protest should be about trying to get attention to your cause, and to engage people in discussion…. at least, that’s how I feel… It’s sad that instead, you and a bunch of people copped abuse…….. I’ve lost where I’m going with this now, sorry :/


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