I'm getting ready to head out to California today. It is going to be a long drive. And definitely the longest I've been apart from my wife and kids. But, the hope is that it will lead to great things. I can't help but believe that I'll come back feeling inspired. And, hopefully, Charlotte (and possibly Pumpkin) participating in the Animal Rights March will help show the world who it is we are fighting for. Too often, our opponents try to frame veganism as if it were about vegans. But in reality, everything we do as vegans is about making the world a better place for all animals on this planet. Veganism is not about vegans... it is about all animals. It is about true social justice for all the inhabitants of this planet. From the animals being prepared for execution down in Smithfield to the poor orphaned children of some 3rd world country begging for food on the streets. It is about treating all living beings as if they matter and matter equally, because they do.
So, while the drive will be long and I will miss my family, I hope that it helps lead to a better world for all by inspiring me to fight harder and more effectively.
I don't want my kids to live in a world where every trip to the grocery store is plagued by seeing the dead bodies of innocent victims. Nor, the knowledge that shelves and shelves of eggs represent thousands of male baby chicks having been ground up alive. Vegans deserve a world where they are not daily tormented by knowing that they are surrounded by evil and misery.
And ultimately, I hope someday I can sit down with friends and family and not have my entire existence throb with pain from knowing what is happening to animals. I hope someday to be present in my life again and not constantly at war with a world that seems to thrive on misery and suffering. That is my dream.
Smithfield Foods is raping, abusing and murdering pigs daily. And they are currently increasing the number of pigs that they are executing by expanding their slaughter facilities. Still, people are ignoring their suffering. The Smithfield Pigs are forced to endure a life of misery. Deprived of all mental stimulation or of any pursuit of happiness. They have their babies taken from them. They endure shock prods and beatings by those that are charged with their care. Their beds are cold damp cement floors. And this life of suffering ends with a boiling hot or freezing cold truck ride to a slaughterhouse where these pigs are killed without compassion or comfort.
But with the help of Miley Cyrus, we can shine a light on this suffering and start to make things change. If Miley Cyrus will attend a Smithfield Pig Save vigil in Smithfield, Virginia, it will bring the suffering of these pigs to the attention of the legion of fans that adore Miley. And once aware of the suffering these pigs endure for somethings as unnecessary and dangerous as bacon/pork (known carcinogens) it is my expectation that her followers will help turn the tide in the fight for justice for these pigs. No pig should be treated like an object. All pigs should be free. With Miley Cyrus' help, this dream can become a reality.
In less than 2 weeks, I've seen cows, pigs, and chickens up close in the trucks as they headed to slaughter. I've seen their fear and their desire to live. And I've seen the markings of abuse that occurred in their short lives prior to this final journey. I've seen more suffering in this short time than seems possible. The one thing I have not see is any compassion, sympathy, or effort to comfort these animals on the part of those causing this suffering or those taking them to their death. They are mere objects... they are just a means to an ends. People want money, so they will do whatever is needed to get it. They will abuse workers in these factories. They will enslave, rape, abuse and murder non-human animals without even considering that those animals have wants or needs of their own.
I wish I was shocked. But, in reality, this is what we should expect from mankind. History books are filled with the details of past atrocities. This is just our present atrocity. Quite possibly the most extreme and horrendous of all atrocities considering the magnitude of suffering and the sheer numbers of victims. But, in the end, it is just one more example where mankind proves how capable we are of looking the other way as we benefit from the abuse and misery of others.
This is my sad post... the hopeful post coming next.
Chickens going to slaughter in Tar Heel, North Carolina
Even the images I captured do not do justice to the horrible treatment these chickens received on their way to slaughter. And if they are treated like this out in the open, imagine how they are treated behind closed doors
This officer charged at me with his phone and the swung it up under my hat like he was going to hit me. I reflectively protected myself knocking his phone out of his hands. He started talking about charging me with assualt. Then when I was trying to give the police vegan leaflets he got up less than an inch behind me and as I turned slammed into me and said 'watch where you are going."
And why were there 4 police at Smithfield slaughterhouse? I was legally taking pictures from the road.