On Saturday 10th June, London came alive as thousands flocked to the streets to make their voices heard. Whilst some people came to protest a weakened government, many came to protest against the biggest injustice of all; the exploitation and slaughter of animals.
Saturday’s march was not a call to improve welfare standards within slaughterhouses, it was a call to close them. All of them. For this is the only way we could ever justify calling ourselves animal lovers.
Every year around the world, 60 billion land animals and more than 1000 billion aquatic animals are killed without necessity. That’s 164 million land animals, and 2.74 billion aquatic animals every day. These numbers, so huge that they’re impossible to visualise, are slaughtered needlessly without the majority of the public ever giving it any thought.
Saturday’s march was about bringing these numbers to the people. It was about showing people the horrors of what they pay for when they choose to eat animal products over plant based options. The march was not about judging meat eaters as bad people, far from it, it was a desperate plea for them to wake up and realise that what they are doing is contrary to their own, existing set of moral codes. Almost nobody in this country has a desire to intentionally harm animals, especially when it’s unnecessary to do so. Yet, every day most people do exactly that.
Slaughterhouses are open because consumers pay for them to be. Animals are slaughtered at an alarming and horrific rate because consumers pay for it to happen. This is not a problem within the factory farming world alone, this is a problem across the entire animal agriculture industry. Organic, pasture fed, free range; these labels are irrelevant. Aside from the fact that these classifications are arbitrary when it comes to the reality of how the animals are reared, all animals end up at the same slaughterhouses. Places where animals spend their final few hours; terrified, distressed and in pain.
The Close All Slaughterhouses march on Saturday not only brought the facts and figures to the streets, it was also an opportunity for vegans to speak to the people of London and to show them that we are all the same. There is no vegan “type” – Veganism in 2017 covers all demographics. Compassion is not exclusive to one group of people, it’s something we all have in our hearts, we just need to allow that compassion to reach its natural conclusion. Most of us know that there’s no reason to cause pain and suffering to animals. To do so simply because we like cheese, or meat, or eggs, is immoral.
For many people, Saturday’s march was their first time at such an event. This movement is growing faster than any other movement before it, and for good reason. The world is waking up. People are becoming increasingly aware that animal agriculture is destroying our planet; that the products we consume are killing our bodies; and that the lifestyles we’ve been living are inflicting nothing but suffering upon innocent, sentient beings.
This protest was not the first of it’s kind, and it certainly won’t be the last. Up and down the country such events are taking place with increasing frequency, and with increasing numbers of participants. The excuses have run out, and consuming animal products for pleasure is no longer acceptable. Vegans are not going away, and whilst we cannot stop anyone from funding animal enslavement, we can show them exactly what they’re paying for.
You can eat “your” meat, but you won’t eat it in peace.