From The Post Millennial, here is the news about the Ontario’s Premier’s new legislation to increase fines for animal rights activists who trespass on farmland.
Animal rights activists have been trespassing on farmland in order to get video and photo evidence to show the conditions and abuse of farm animals. As well, they sometimes also trespass to destroy the equipment or operations. While I won’t speak to the latter, I will speak to the ‘unlawful’ gathering of photo and video evidence for the purpose of informing the public.
While in this post, I won’t show videos and photos of farm animal abuse, I want to highlight an online discussion that ensued from this story from people who were mostly Ontario residents. (If you’d like to open your eyes to the abuse, the videos are plentiful through an online search. Brace yourself.)
Omnivores, on this particular forum, are clearly still in the majority, and overwhelmingly the support for the new legislation was welcomed.
However, in debate, the questions brought forth by plant-based advocates like myself, remained unanswered. So many points and questions were raised that were never really addressed and I’d like to offer them up here for discussion here.
I do believe that the videos and photo evidence showing the conditions of animals being raised on modern factory farms is changing the minds of people toward a plant-based or vegan diet. I know that this is the case for me. (Click here to see how veganism is rapidly rising)
It’s not like Old MacDonald’s Farm where the chickens hang out with the cow and the pigs in a little barnyard. It’s nowhere near that. Today’s factory farms tell a different story. Don’t be fooled by brand names like “Happy Cow”. There is nothing happy about the life of a cow raised on a factory farm.
We’ve heard the expression, “the end justify the means”. How does it apply here? Many were saying that it is unfair for people to trespass on the property, while I maintained “People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing”. These are real, live beings – for many people, this is their food.
Another poster, Shannon, said this. “Canadians have every right to see how their food is being manufactured. Every time an undercover investigation is done, there are unthinkable cases of abuse exposed. If daycares, veterinary clinics, restaurants or retirement homes were treated the same it would be unthinkable. We should have the right to expose abuse anywhere it is found, not fined for exposing it.”
It is unclear if Shannon herself is in favor of a plant based diet or not. I didn’t see that she stated her convictions either way. Regardless, her point is valid. Why don’t more omnivores think this way? It’s like most would prefer to turn a blind eye if abuse and neglect was happening.
Many spoke of property rights of farmers and about how wrong it was to trespass.
Again and again the following question remained ignored. “So if my neighbour’s dog is chained up, starving and hasn’t seen the owner in a week, it’ s ‘unfair’ for me to trespass on his property to save him or to at least take photos to alert authorities”?
One woman asked me if my doors were locked, and if so, what was I hiding behind the locked doors of my home, and shouldn’t I have the right to privacy? I replied that if I was indeed hiding the abusive behaviour of animals or children, and that if there was enough merit to substantiate an investigation, my right to privacy would be lost and authorities would investigate – and rightfully so!
What the Farmers Said
Farmers weighed in stating that they cared for their animals. One stated that in the terrible cold nights, had had to get up, put warm water out and new bedding out for the cows. I asked, “If you were getting zero compensation for these animals, would you even have them to being with? Is it the animals you care for, or is it the money that you will get for them?” No answer was given.
Along those same lines, to another farmer who said he cared for his animals, “If you really ‘care’ for animals, why do you have them killed as young as it is financially feasible so that you no longer have to have the expense to feed them into old age or even middle age?” Is that really ‘caring’ for the animals, or is it caring for your bank account”? No answer was provided.
Many piped in believing that meat is necessary to live. My questions to that….Why then, can vegans live to be centenarians? What nutrients are found in animal flesh that can’t be found in vegetables? Why are so many athletes boosting performance greatly by changing to a vegan diet? Have you watched Game Changers on Netflix? The documentary that proves this, as well as it shows the positive results of a vegan diet on ‘male performance’?
People rarely change their minds about societal norms they’ve grown up with, no matter what society they grew up in, or what the norms were. People generally don’t want to change their minds. They generally don’t want to question their ways or risk wondering if they might have been wrong. If a documentary was suggested that might contradict what they already believe, most won’t watch it. And, to be honest, they like the taste of the animals and that is another reason they simply don’t want to delve in.
I heard many thoughtless, meaningless comments like “leave us alone”, “veal tastes good” etc. To answer them, I am not here to change your mind, or ask you to rethink your stance. I know you won’t. I am here for the others, who currently thought the way that I did 2 1/2 years ago – that there was nothing wrong with eating meat and that vegans were weirdos.
I thought that cows, pigs, and chickens had a different status than dogs, cats and budgies. One group deserves caring, kindness, our love and our loyalty – the other deserves enough food so that it can grow just big enough to feed me, and then it was reasonable that the beings life should end for me.
I never asked myself why the different status existed, I just believed it did.
Why are cats and dogs raised for food in some countries, while it’s unthinkable here? Its just a mindset based on the geography of where we were born. The laws protect one group while the other are not protected in the same way.
While I am not wasting time on those who refuse to rethink their beliefs, and they are the majority at this time, I am here for those who have the ability to question themselves, want to be closer to the truth, even if it means letting go of old ways, admitting they had been wrong in the past and a willingness to second guess former ideologies in light of new information, should that be the case at the end of their journey.
We’re entering into a new world, where many are finally questioning the norms, and are changing their ways to a kinder, gentler way. And this advocacy towards kindness and love and respect for all of God’s creatures is met with hostility, anger, resentment, ridicule. Such is the way of the humankind. Humans can just be so very unkind.
Maybe some will consider the fact that even the farmers are having a change of heart. Many are becoming champions for the cause of veganism, regretting and renouncing their former ways.
Many posters, of course, were talking about the livelihood of farmers. It’s a great point. But it’s as simple as any business person facing a loss of demand for their product and a demand for new one. Adapt. If the demand for meat is lessened, change the farm to meet the demands of plant based foods. This is just a part of doing business and that is exactly what is happening to many farmers. It may not be easy, but it’s the smart business move and the ethical business move.
The Narrative of the Modern Vegan
I was accused of being an ‘apartment living city dweller”, out of touch with reality. My response is that I was raised on a farm, and currently live in a village of 1400 people, that backs onto farmland. I have friends who farm and I have a few family members that still farm.
I was also told to take my ‘leftist views’ elsewhere’. I had to explain that I am far from being on the left of the political spectrum and also wondered why animal advocacy ever became thought of as a ‘leftist’ ideology.
I know many conservatives who are vegan and vegetarian. It also crosses many religious spectrums. The Christian 7th Day Adventists have always been vegetarian and have typically live 10 years longer than most Americans. As well, there is evidence from the Bible to support veganism, beginning with the creation story itself, the story where people in the Bible, like the prophet Daniel, thrived on a vegan diet. Christians are also becoming vegans these days.
Don’t let the media narrative fool you.
What are the chances that the news crew involved – the camera person, editor and news director are meat eaters? Considering most, still, in the western world are omnivores, who may not want to change their views, is it possible they may have a natural bias from birth toward disdain of the vegan ethics?
A poster mentioned the recent story of the children raised, evidently, by vegan parents. One child had died and the rest were clearly starving.
First off, I’ve seen a very picky child who refused to eat anything but peanut butter and jam sandwiches on white bread, until the age of 7. I’m not advocating this kind of parenting, or this kind of diet, but this kid was clearly far from not starving and is alive and well today.
The Irish, didn’t just survive, but thrived, increasing the population, by eating pretty much potatoes for more almost 300 years!
Clearly, the parents of these children who were the subject of massive media headlines, were neglectful, abusive and were clearly starving these unfortunate kids.
Of course, this kind of behavior of neglectful and abusive parents has happened and highlighted in news stories before. However, in other cases, the headlines don’t read “Kids of Omnivore Parents Starving and Dying of Malnutrition.
Don’t let the media narrative fool you.
I also happen to live by a lake, which will continually be under threat of the pollution by animal waste from factory farms, as is the case for our lakes and rivers everywhere. The need and greed for meat on plates of ‘first world’ people, three times per day, is creating a huge problem of excess animal poop. A whole other topic, but one certainly worthy of mention.
Along the same lines, I was accused of not caring about children. As ludicrous as it sounds, apparently, according to this person’s logic, I can either care about animals, or children, but not both.
My response was that I did indeed care about children. Due to the fact that those of us in the rich countries of the world cannot satisfy the taste for an excess amount of animal flesh, means that our land use for farming is used to feed animals, who are then fed to humans. If we all turned vegan, and cut out the cows and pigs out of the food chain, there would be plenty of land to be used to feed humans – so much so that the starving of the world could be fed!
This meme conveys the message better than words can.
Hope for a Better Future
The fact that many seem to want to turn a blind eye to the possibility of animal abuse is saddening.
I do believe that will change, as it has been so rapidly doing.
I don’t believe Doug Ford’s legislation is going to have much affect on the problems that are occurring, nor will it slow down the public exposure to the problems.
Veganism is on the rise and it’s not a trend. It’s the way of life for the future and the vegans of today are the trailblazers.
If you’re wondering about exploring the possibilities, don’t. You won’t miss anything. The plant based options are evolving so quickly and ‘deliciousness’ truly abounds.
Can you take the leap to explore new ideas and information you haven’t been exposed to before? Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Game Changers are a few documentaries I would suggest.
That is my challenge to you.