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.
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.
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.
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 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.