Wandering Rosie
Wandering Rosie

The first thing I do when I get up in the morning and sometimes during the night if I wake up and can’t go back to sleep, is to head to my computer to check out who is perusing my website, as well as to see what is new on social media in the arena of animals rights and advocacy. Thank heaven my office is next to our bedroom, so no danger of stubbing my toe on a piece of furniture or stepping on little kitty cat who, like me, is wandering about.

Roasted Beets a L'Orange
Roasted Beets a L’Orange
Plant Based shepherd's Pie
Plant Based shepherd’s Pie

A couple of  mornings ago I was greeted with a “memory” notification from Facebook with a link to one of my posts from October 27th, 2014. I had just posted a picture of  a plant based meal prepared for my daughter and her family who were coming to visit. The Lentil and Tofu Shepherd’s Pie was tucked safely in the fridge awaiting their arrival. This little trip down memory lane led me to think about how my advocacy has evolved in this last year.

During the past year I have shed more than a few tears for those I could not save and met some great vegan friends on social media and through my website. I have been blocked on Facebook by someone close to me and probably by others of whom I am not aware. And I have forged personal friendships with people who share my vision for this world: a world where other species are free from bondage to humans.  I  have deepened my understanding of how I can continue to bring my daily life in line with my ethics. I hope, most earnestly and sincerely, that through my posts on social media and my website and my daily interactions, I have given pause for thought to some.

I have learned that veganism is a truth reflected in what some refer to as a belief or philosophy. At the heart of this truth is the ethic of having the intention of doing no harm. We all know that we do unavoidable, unintentional harm when we walk this earth, leaving an often heavy footprint of our presence wherever we tread. Living life with intention can and does minimize this harm and should be the goal of all humans.

Little old pebble me
Little old pebble me
Collective non vegan shoes
Collective non vegan shoes

My ongoing personal goal is to change hearts and minds using my example and my  my words, both of  which I like to refer to as being a pebble in the collective shoe of non-vegans. And then there is my boots on the ground advocacy and activism. What is boots on the ground advocacy you ask? Well this is a term I have borrowed from a personal friend of mine and fellow vegan who does much to champion the inherent rights of all species everywhere. Karen mentioned this term to me when I was volunteering at “Pet” Adoption Day in Beaconsfield, QC, Canada this past September. She said something like this:

It is great that we advocate daily for animals by using our words on social media, but it is also wonderful to get involved and do some Boots on the Ground Advocacy.

It resonated with me because I had been looking for more volunteer work and outreach that would  put me in direct contact with the world of animal rights activism. I have attended and continue to  attend marches, a Veg Fest and screenings of movies. I have joined Karen’s Veg Group as well as another local Montreal Vegan Group. I am still searching for the right fit in volunteering to improve the daily lives of abused animals. Unfortunately, I have a couple of physical issues to respect when committing to something like this.

discarded hairnet outside slaughterhouse
discarded hairnet outside slaughterhouse
No to Speciesism
No to Specieism

In the meantime, I decided that I would bite the bullet and steel myself for certain emotional upheaval by attending an anti-speciesism vigil outside a slaughterhouse. Movement de Liberation  regularly organizes  just such a vigil. Since this initial decision, I have stood vigil twice and will go again. No, it is not easy and yes, it is worth it. People need to be made aware of the consequences of their unsupportable food choices and someone needs to be there to bear witness to the senseless spilling of blood when these animals are sacrificed for our wants, not needs.

In the words of my good friend and fellow “vigiliste”, Jimmy Videle:

Anne sums up perfectly what I was feeling that day.
For myself I wonder…If non-vegans were to witness: The truck arriving, dead chickens in with solemn ones, cold, hungry and thirsty, the roll-up door closing as the truck entered, immediately followed by the shrieking metal blade whirring, and the smell of blood, wet feathers and manure intensifying, would they continue their same eating habits, would they then make the connection?
I believe non-vegans would, because I believe in all of our hearts that we do not want any being to suffer.
I wish you non-vegans to see it, smell it and feel it one time, so you know exactly your complicity.

I spoke at the second vigil (also kinda scary for me), as did Jimmy. If you would like to watch these videos, please check them out on the Facebook page of  Mouvement de Liberation. What my speech lacks in polish, it makes up for in heartfelt sincerity. In Jimmy’s video, please ignore the crazy lady in the background who is continually adjusting her hat and dropping her stuff. Tee-hee-hee!!

 

Annie’s Vegan View

We can all do this, whatever form our advocacy and activism takes.

We can step outside of our comfort zone and advocate for those less fortunate than us.

And who could be less fortunate than the animals who are enslaved, brutalized and murdered daily in the name of human greed.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne
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Boots on The Ground Animal Rights Advocacy

14 thoughts on “Boots on The Ground Animal Rights Advocacy

  • October 30, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    I sign petitions, click for food or cat litter or whatever and like, comment and share on fb my own and others posts. I do this every almost every day. But for me it is not enough. I want so much to contribute to animal rights and liberation via the ‘boots on the ground’. It is difficult for me. I am an Australian living in Austria with virtually no German and in addition I live in a small city of only 100,000 where there is seldom anything happening. I do a little bit here but usually, even if there is something, I can’t read to know it is happening. I think this frustration will be what drives me back to live in Australia again – because I want to be another pair of boots on the ground also.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2015 at 11:40 am
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      Hi Susan,
      Welcome to my website and thank you for your considered comment. We can sometimes be limited by the circumstances of our daily life, but we can always find something to do and that is what you are doing. You might find interesting the article I wrote about Arm Chair Advocacy. It is an extremely important advocacy, especially in this day and age of social media. And just think, when and if you do move back to Australia , you will hit the ground running because of all the work and prep you are doing now. Of this, I have no doubt. If you would like to consider writing an article for my website, you would be very welcome. I have guest writers often and I find their perspective enlightening as well as supportive.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • October 30, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    Beautiful, sincere and heartfelt. And you are brave to do this. Well done.

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    • October 30, 2015 at 11:34 am
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      Hi Carol,
      Thank you for your kind comments. Quite frankly I don’t know how not to. I am in a place now where I look for what more I can do and this is doable and I am well supported by my fellow activists who stand with me at these vigils and by those from afar, like you.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • October 31, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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    Love the phrase “boots on the ground advocacy”, and of course I couldn’t keep myself from hearing “these boots are made for walking…” 😉

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  • November 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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    Hi Friend,
    “…and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
    Good metaphor for our vegan boots stamping out the cruelty associated with the enslavement of other species for our own selfish purposes.
    Can’t take credit for Boots on the Ground Advocacy, but I have no trouble confiscating and using it.
    Take care,
    Anne

    Reply
  • November 4, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    Not sure if it’s only happening to me (which it easily could be because I’m having huge internet connection problems lately), but I can’t get the link that goes to your speeches to work. And by the way, that is so wonderful that you did that! It’s so very difficult to get up and speak in front of strangers in any setting and no matter how much you care about what you’re saying – so, that’s awesome you did that!

    Your words and photos are most definitely a special voice in the “collective”. This might seem odd, but the hairnet photo is the one that made me get teared up and cry a little even more than the words this time. Although you most likely understand since you had the awareness to take it and post it in the first place. … Just like all of us, I’ve sooooooo many times wished it mandatory that anyone eating/wearing/using other animals go to where they live and die for at least a day. Most likely the only ones who wouldn’t change are sociopaths, but who knows. It’s just so horribly awful that so much of humanity knows from at least hearing about or reading about what happens to those powerless, helpless souls…how bad their suffering is throughout their lives and then the absolute hell that comes at the time of their death. Standing vigil is so – I can’t even think of the word. It’s so “something” too big for me to put into words. Thank you as always for your words.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm
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    Hi Krissa,
    Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. It should be working now. Let me know if you can access them. They are on the left hand side of the page. if not, I can try sending them to you by e-mail. We spent a lot of time trying to embed the videos on this post, but WordPress was blocking the links for some reason.
    I too, find the picture of the hairnet the saddest of all. It was so carelessly discarded and the meaning of it is so big and horrifying.
    I am still not sure that most people really know the truth. We are so brainwashed by tradition and our culture, by successful marketing campaigns that tell us we need to use animals to be healthy, to be important, to be successful, to be well dressed and the list goes on.
    It is true that not a lot of people are seeking out this information, perhaps because they are afraid to know the truth, perhaps because they don’t want to change. That is where we come in.
    Together as one voice, for the animals.
    Take care,
    Anne

    Reply
    • November 5, 2015 at 11:58 am
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      Hi Anne,

      The link works now and I should mention for anyone who might see this, you don’t have to sign up for or even log in to Facebook to see it. … It was great to see you!!!! (purple hat, red scarf in front of that awful truck)… You did an amazing job of speaking! Seriously, your voice was strong and you didn’t waver and you were calm and rational and gave exactly a voice that is needed for this most important fight. Maybe one day I can do that too, but so far I’ve only achieved either yelling at the other side (nothing I’m proud of and happened during a march against “animals” used in “scientific” testing) or clenching my jaw and at least standing strong. … I know you would write the words you write here and speak the words you speak even if no other human heard them, even if only a few heard them….so I don’t say “thanks” lightly, but with admiration and appreciation for what you do. Thank you. 🙂

      Reply
      • November 6, 2015 at 6:51 am
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        Hi Krissa,
        Thanks for letting me know about the links and glad that Facebook is accessible in that way.
        Thanks for the support about the speech. Did you get a chance to watch Jimmy Videle speak? He has become a good friend of mine and has contributed articles to my website. My husband and I recently attended a vegan potluck at his and Mélanie’s home and had a wonderful time. I do believe that meeting fellow vegans and advocating actively with them as well as having the social support, has encouraged me to be braver in my advocacy and activism.
        I definitely understand about the emotion and passion associated with speaking up for the most abused species on the planet. It is hard not to yell, “Stop, stop, stop!” and”Are you crazy? Can you not see what you are doing?”

        If even one person hears what I say and joins me as one voice for the animals, I am very happy. I was very struck by the words of Jameth Sheridan, an outspoken plant based nutritionist in the United States. “If I were the last vegan on this earth, I would stand alone, come what may.” And let’s not forget those of us who are vegan already. I have learned much from the perspective of like minded people. these different perspectives continue to help me bring my daily life more in line with my ethics. One of my goals is to help others out in the same regard.

        No question that more voices means freedom sooner for the oppressed, but never underestimate the power of a few dedicated and impassioned people. I forget who said that.
        Thank you for the support Krissa. On behalf of the animals, it is I who thank you.
        Take care,
        Anne

        Reply
        • November 27, 2015 at 12:16 pm
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          This reply is a long time coming. Between internet connection problems and personal stuff…I hadn’t had a chance to watch your friend’s speech, but I didn’t forget you mentioned it and I watched it just now. He too spoke well with a strong voice and I am glad to see him (and you again in the background!) and hear his words. I kept getting so mad at that d*** truck back there…so spotless…. What was more strange for me because the words are from my own heart and mind and so although I hear them, they are a part of me (I hope this makes sense) and the rest of it is what I notice and get emotional in a way I can’t find words for. The dog barking…and I don’t think this dog was barking in approval, but there he/she is…one of “US” (we are all one no matter who we are, but as you know, it breaks down)..and that particular one of us is there because of one of “us” humans… I hope that doesn’t sound critical. It is absolutely not because I know that anyone there is there because they have a heart that’s full of love for all of “US” (gee, I really hope my “us” “US” makes sense). What really was strange was to see the Hasids walk by because I have only seen them in Brooklyn where I used to live and only recently I signed a petition about what they do to chickens back in Brooklyn… (there is a ‘religious’ ceremony that involves chickens and it’s in public and is hideous and actually violates anti-cruelty laws, but for some reason is tolerated and not prosecuted there)… it was very strange to see those two men walk by at the same time the poor chickens were so terrified and in so much pain and dying… I’m bad about rambling and I’m doing it now, but I did want to let you know that I saw your friend’s speech and to also say again that I am so glad you guys go out there and demonstrate against the atrocities. I just realized that I didn’t really register the two security guys in the background…they’re basically like the discarded hair net (so sad and profound…). Sorry for the rambling reply, but just wanted to add it now even though it’s late. I’m glad I was able to watch. Keep doing what you’re doing! It is so huge and means so much!

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          • December 3, 2015 at 8:35 am
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            Hey Krissa,
            I don’t think that you ramble, but I do understand what it feels like to have so much to say to so many people who do not want to hear our truth. Marvid in Montreal is a kosher slaughterhouse. I did not even know that there was such a thing. Live and learn.
            It is interesting that 2 police officers came by and asked the organizer, Jude Arsenault about our vigil. They spoke to him for a few minutes and actually asked for flyers and info. I see this a s a good thing.
            I amazed by everything that you see when you watch these videos. The background is as important as the words being spoken. The discarded hairnet is so telling and so profound.
            My friend Jimmy and all the animal rights activists, like you, are amazing people and I seek everyday to learn from their wisdom and actions.
            I hope that with our activism we can redefine the word ‘us’ and have it be inclusive, rather than exclusive. This would be a great toward peace for all beings on this earth.
            Take care,
            Anne

  • November 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm
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    I didn’t want to include this in the above comment because there is some happiness (for lack of a better word) there and positivity that I didn’t want to water down, but I absolutely want to mention this because it is so subtle in a way to those who don’t get it, but also so exemplary of the hideousness of what our kind does to others. The nearly pristine condition of that transport truck is making me so upset….the living/thinking/feeling/suffering/valid/worthy/and on and on souls who showed up in that truck were in the most appalling shape imaginable. And the deaths they suffered are so hideous…. but look at how well taken care of that transport truck is. I am again at a point where I need to hold back and not let fly…but something needs to change. … Thanks for being part of the change. Keep doing what you do!

    Reply
    • November 6, 2015 at 6:56 am
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      Hi Krissa,
      That is an interesting and though provoking perspective. The contrast is glaring-caring for an inanimate object and ignoring completely its inhabitants. This is incredibly and cruel and one of the reasons we do what we do.
      I believe we are all part of the change, Krissa. We are the pebble in the collective shoe of non vegans. We are not going away! Thank you! I plan to keep doing what I do. I do not know how to do otherwise. if only I had a magic wand.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply

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