My intention this week was to mull over a couple of excellent articles I have read; one about the similarities between factory farms and Chinese ‘wet’ markets and another which calls for an end to animal agriculture in the light of millions of livestock being ‘culled’ as a result of processing plants and food outlets being closed. Both excellent, and worrying, articles.
The suffragists believed in achieving change through parliamentary means and used lobbying techniques to persuade Members of Parliament sympathetic to their cause to raise the issue of women’s suffrage in debate on the floor of the House.
Between 1870 and 1884 debates on women’s suffrage took place almost every year in Parliament. This succeeded in keeping the issue in the public eye as Parliamentary proceedings were extensively covered in the national and regional press of the time.
There was some criticism that by concentrating so heavily on activities in Parliament, the movement sacrificed opportunities to mobilise mass support throughout the rest of the country.
The reason for this little history lesson is the last paragraph. In a previous blog I wrote that change comes from the people and governments will follow but there are lobbyists that succeed in changing government policy. This is because they have numbers.
If we are going to change government policy on animal agriculture and consign the exploitation of animals to the history books, we need numbers.
In that, we have 2 problems.
First, many vegans are just happy being vegan. They have no desire to become activists or mobilise in any way to fight the system.
Second, and I hate to say it, some vegan activists are toxic to the cause. They do more harm than good; they alienate people. Sure, we love them but the general, animal consuming public does not like to be told that they are cruel nor do they like being told that the disease they have is their fault!
So how do we gain numbers? Well, I believe we need to follow Millicent Fawcett’s example and bring all vegan activism groups under one national umbrella with the specific aim of outlawing animal agriculture. We cannot do this on our own. Yes, we can lobby politicians and lobby the lobbyists which may bring some success but to organise ourselves into one large body of voices? Well that, I believe, will move mountains!