Sunday, January 8, 2017

If I had only known…



This year will mark my 29th year of being vegan. I remember thinking more than a decade ago that in 10 years we should be able to put an end to people wearing fur and animals used for cosmetic testing in the US. It is so sad to me that we seemed to have slipped backward on both of these issues.

I don’t know about you, but I have often wondered that if there had been great protest against the first animal put in an aquarium, would aquariums still be around today?
 

I often struggle with, Am I doing enough? And I know I am not alone here; I know that many of us feel that way, whether it’s about non-human animals, human rights, or both.


But this gets me to why I am writing this blog.

I have thought to myself, If another non-human species were being prepped to be killed in a large-scale manner—being touted as a more environmentally friendly source of food—would I do all that I could to stop it?

The answer is yes.

Would I stop advocating for other animals to be eaten instead?
 

The answer is no.


Would I advocate for both?


The answer is yes.


Would I take every opportunity to advocate for this animal and to stop the industry before it starts?


The answer is yes.


Would I ever make this animal seem more important, more special, cuter, or smarter than the rest?

The answer is no.

Does this change my efforts to promote veganism?

The answer is no.

I raise this issue because the animal ag industry is trying to popularize the slaughter and consumption of yet another species in the US.

The
bunny.

(My
husband has often reminded me that these animals are used in nearly every form of exploitation—fur, testing, food, entertainment, hunting, etc.—which is why his heart goes out most to these gentle creatures.)


Unfortunately, for some reason beyond me, activists campaigning for bunnies is seen as a controversial issue.

And for the most part, advocating for these animals has been left to the bunny groups.  There are many of these organizations, and those groups that are vegan have managed to open the hearts and minds of many people who might otherwise not have considered the needs of animals other than rabbits or that they deserve our protection.

For those of us who are vegan and who have campaigned for bunnies, some of our detractors have accused us of not caring about or neglecting other animals.

(As for Food Empowerment Project, you can and see links to animals from fish to goats we advocate for:
http://www.foodispower.org/veganism/. And we also organize protests every month in front of a chicken slaughterhouse.)

So we push for veganism, but I don’t see an issue with trying to stop an insidious animal agriculture industry in its tracks.

But maybe I am getting distracted. My point is this: we need to take the industry’s promotion of bunny meat seriously and stop it before it grows.*

How? If you hear of a restaurant or grocery store starting to sell bunny “meat”, speak out NOW. Don’t wait for anyone; you can talk to the manager and/or restaurant owner. If they aren’t budging, get others in your community to speak out—letters and phone calls make a big difference. You can contact groups such as SaveABunny and the House Rabbit Society for help.

We can do this. The power of the animal movement has always been you, individuals speaking up for justice and compassion.

I have had the privilege of spending time with bunnies, and even though we don’t hear them much, they have no trouble letting us know what they want (looking at you,
Emmeline!).

 Let’s do what we can to take a stand for all animals and against an industry that puts profits above everything else. As we seek to take all animals off the menu, let’s make sure one more is not added on.

Photo: By Tara Baxter of Emmeline, who was rescued from a bunny "meat" farm in Sonoma County, CA.

*Just think: If we took issues seriously and addressed them head on, would we be where we are now politically? Read:
http://appetiteforjustice.blogspot.com/2012/09/chipping-away-at-injustices.html.