As the date of the November 29th looms closer and closer, I’d like to use these blog posts as a space to provide more context as to the motivations behind 30 Days For Laboratory Animals.
Five summers ago, while surfing the web looking at bands’ Myspace pages, I happened upon a video that would alter the course of my life. That video was called “Meet Your Meat,” a hauntingly detailed look inside modern factory farms and slaughterhouses, where the assembly-line mass murder of billions of animals takes place. I saw footage of pigs in pens so small they couldn’t even turn around being beaten by famers; chickens being “debeaked” with a knife so they wouldn’t peck each other under such stressful conditions; and cows strung upside down and writhing as their throats were cut, one by one…Soon enough, having no longer the conscience to participate in such an industry, I went vegan.
But a greater shift not only in my conscience but also my consciousness began to take shape. Like swallowing that red pill and witnessing the truth of the Matrix, I began to feel as though I had been lied to my entire life, that the world around me had been the wool pulled over my eyes. I began reading books by Daniel Quinn and Derrick Jensen, and a realization set in — not only did our culture abuse animals, it actually abused the entire natural world and other humans, economically, politically, and psychologically. And this oppression was what our current social system is based upon.I saw the context of colonialism (now known as global capitalism), patriarchy, racism, environmental destruction, and even domestic abuse as products of our insane culture of violence. But the video images I saw of those animals inside factories — and later, inside research laboratories — haunted me most of all.
For the past few years, I have asked myself what I was going to do to help these animals and to dismantle the system that propagates their exploitation. And each night I would go to sleep with the knowledge that in essence I had done nothing. For a long time I felt so powerless and isolated, wondering how on earth I could ever resist fully enough to help topple their prisons without facing the wrath of the State like so many comrades today and through the ages.
So I never did act. But slowly and gradually I began to realize that this paralysis, this epidemic of inaction, was precisely what those in power wanted. They wanted me to take the guilt of animal exploitation out on myself instead of those culpable in it. They wanted me to wallow in an assumed state of powerless, of fear, believing no amount of protest could ever disrupt their status quo.
Then I began to take a closer look at examples of resistance throughout history, and recognized that no liberation movement ever happened overnight. That even in the face of complete adversity, and insurmountable odds, those with convictions and love resisted anyway — and that the power structure, like an enormous tree, while perhaps only being hacked one strike at a time, would one day fall. What I also realized was that, if I truly cared about these animals and if I truly wanted to see a world without vivisection, I had to think strategically about what I was going to do to to make that dream real. There was no way I could live with myself, I concluded, if I continued to be aware of the horrors of vivisection and not do anything to stop it. Making no attempt to halt the murder of your family members because you feel that the ones hurting them are bigger and stronger than you does not imply love for those being hurt.
So I’m choosing to do something — this small gesture of defiance. I’ve never been much for demonstrations, feeling they often involved more activist ego-stroking than a strategic attempt to fight back. Sometimes they even had this inverse effect of leaving me less empowered than I felt before I arrived! Yet in other cases these mediums of public dissent have helped me find my voice. So despite the seemingly futile nature of protests, I believe that protest spaces can be an effective means to build movements and networks of dissent and foster a general culture of normalized resistance. This is why the campaign is 30 days, as opposed to one. One day outside with a sign, even with 30 or more people, is easy to ignore. But one or a few people outside every day demonstrating provides more leverage for radical change. I would like to offer outreach to people to let them know about animal exploitation in science; but more than that, I want to make those who already care about these issues more comfortable with resisting and perhaps make them feel less isolated and powerless. I am not doing this to “demand” anything from animal abusers — at least not yet. I am doing this to let them know we are out there — and to, as a fellow comrade writes, “shatter the image of unanimous submission” to a world where their atrocities against animals exist.