September 2nd, 2017 marked a monumental day for the animal rights movement, being host to the much anticipated Animal Rights March. Thousands upon thousands swarmed city streets across the globe to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. The historic event was first masterminded by Surge animal activist group, who were the force behind the eye opening documentary Land of Hope and Glory. Surge organized the first animal rights march in 2016 with 2,500 people taking over the streets of London, a number which doubled in size in 2017. The event extended it’s reach this year with multiple US and Romanian locations, as well as many others.
In New York City, up to 3000 dedicated individuals gathered at the Flatiron building to march their way down Broadway, ending up at Tompkin’s Square Park; locations chosen specifically due to their history with social uprising. The march kicked off with inspirational speeches from organizers and seasoned activists, as well as some wise words from a new generation of compassionate, young activists. With participants from all walks of life shouting loud and proud, onlookers halted their day in order to watch from the surrounding streets, balconies, restaurants and cafes. The march was being filmed on hundreds of bystander’s phones, giving instant exposure to the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat. Reports were even made of a number of those who began as mere voyeurs, joining the march and standing alongside the animals.
Dozens of animal rights and rescue organizations were present, banners in hand, to raise awareness of the causes they dedicate their lives to. Emotions ran high throughout the day but the atmosphere was one of passion, love and community. A hard hitting protest with no reported criminal activity or incidents, speaks volumes for the peaceful message veganism brings; A life free of violence and oppression for all living beings. Thousands of placards donned individual messages of justice, for all to see, but for anyone still in the dark, structured chants sang notions of bringing an end to animal cruelty and exploitation throughout all industries, from food to fashion; animal testing to breeding.
For years, animal rights have been ignored and ridiculed, paving the way for the rich and powerful to manipulate the public and generate profit from animal suffering. With more and more information becoming available to the masses, of the detrimental affects animal agriculture has on the environment and personal health; as well as the brave activists risking their lives and freedom to document the hell on earth we, as a species, have created for the animals, ignorance is no longer an option. The vegan movement is growing stronger and stronger as each year passes and the time is coming where they will no longer be silenced and industries who have gotten away with such torture have no more places to hide. This march brought together all the individual voices, who were once considered as an annoyance making no real difference, and made them into a movement that is making waves, challenging societal norms and changing the world.
Whilst it is easy and understandable to focus on the accomplishment of this event and celebrate the thousands of people who came together to make a stand, it is also important to address the barbarity of what this event was fighting against. This would have been a good opportunity to offer some statistics of just how many animals were killed for ‘food’ or other human ‘resources’ in the short time for which this march was taking place. It quickly became apparent that society disregards the lives of animals to such a huge extent, there is no way of knowing these numbers; they are just not recorded. Any statistics found generally cover slaughter numbers but do not take into account any animals who died before they reached the slaughterhouse; the disgarded male chicks; the spent egg laying hens and dairy cows; veal calves or the trillions of fish and other marine life killed directly or caught as bycatch. The numbers don’t include the millions killed in vivisection laboratories; the lives taken by hunters; the shelter animals dying from being abandoned or euthanized for being homeless; the sick and forgotten ‘breeders‘ providing for pet stores and those unwilling to adopt; those killed because they are no longer an attraction at the zoo, circus or marine park; the ones too old or injured to take part in “sports” any longer; the ones tortured and abused for “tradition” or the thousands of victims of ritualistic sacrifice… That is really just the tip of the iceberg with regards to the hundreds of ways we torture and massacre animals each and every day and every single one of these deaths is tragic. So whilst bringing accurate statistics into this to highlight the sheer gravity of the situation would put a number on it, it’s just not possible and that is somewhat more devastating than any figures ever could be. Despite the lack of exact figures, to give a rough idea, take the amount of humans to have ever existed (approximately 107.6 billion) and add 2.7 trillion to that number and you will have the estimated amount of fish we kill every year. Now take that 107.6 billion and add another 42.4 billion and you will have the estimation of how many land mammals are slaughtered by humans each year (referring of course, to the above list for the ones not included in this total).
So it is safe to say there is a long road ahead for animal rights activists but it is clear that times are changing. Businesses all over the world are shifting to be more ‘vegan friendly’, many animal exploitative industries are reporting decreases in sales and on the contrary, vegan companies and products are booming. That can only be down to supply and demand so clearly, there is an ever increasing demand for animal free products. The movement is getting stronger and animal industries are showing their fear and fighting back with law suits regarding semantics and million dollar advertising campaigns, attempting to counteract the hidden truths being revealed to their, once loyal, customers. They can spend all the money and time they want trying to keep their hold over the population but veganism has one thing they will never have : The truth.
Thank you to everyone who came together to organize such an amazing event and every single one of those who participated in any way is a straight up hero.
And to the animals out there, whose lives depend on us –
* We are sorry * We are trying * We are coming for you *