Every week, there's a new hot story in the farming and agriculture community concerning hardcore animal rights activists (what we call ARAs) and vegan activists. Maybe they stormed the local restaurant with signs and megaphones to disrupt people's nice day. Maybe they staged a protest at the Whole Foods because they want to sell rabbit meat. They could be harassing a farmer's Facebook Business page with fake reviews and death threats. Or even worse, they've trespassed onto someone's private property to steal livestock. And when caught, returned the animal in a bad condition or worse, dead.
But not one of these incidents and stories has deterred my farming friends, nor I, from raising livestock.
Militancy from these communities doesn't actually change anyone's mind. I'm quite sure that these extremists are aware of that. But they continue to engage in violent and frightening scare tactics (such as trespassing and death threats) for a clear and what seems like an obvious reason to me. Authoritarianism and other forms of forced obedience is much easier than using your brain and vocal ability to calmly and succinctly explain to a farmer or an omnivore why they shouldn't eat animals.
It's much easier to raid a small farm or rabidly storm a Facebook page than to actually visit a farm and learn from a farmer first hand. Instead, vegans and ARAs would much rather gossip about out of date practices, share bloody memes from Chinese and South American pig farms and inaccurately suggest that they come from American establishments. I've seen countless videos shared from high profile vegans, of cattle (dead or somewhat alive) being thrown into muddy trenches by machine in order to be buried. These videos are almost always accompanied with slogans like, This Is Where Your Beef Comes From. The truth is that this is not where American beef comes from and it's not how a sick beef cow is treated in the USA under our laws. Unfortunately these accusations often go unchallenged. When they are challenged, vegans and ARAs prefer to ignore the corrections in favor of their own bias against livestock farmers. Such as creating wild conspiracy theories that we are all paid by the dairy and meat industry. Or that we are heavily profiting off animals and are swimming in cash. Therefor we cannot be trusted. When farmers are ignored in favor of lies against their work it paints a negative picture against them and it fuels the imaginations of those who believe themselves to be animal abolitionists.
This is one reason why militancy is rampant in vegan and ARA circles. The inaccuracies, gossip and outright lies that they share between each other validates their hardcore beliefs and actions. At this point, it's not about convincing the farmer to repent of their "sin" of growing, harvesting and eating animals. It's now about forcing the farmer to stop what they are doing at all costs. Regardless of if the farmer has changed their ways. Nothing the farmer does to make the life of their animals the best life possible will ever be enough. Organizations like Direct Action Everywhere is a great example of animal rights activism done in the name of authoritarianism and self virtue. Stealing animals that come from clean, small scale farms and returning the animal (by police order) sick and malnourished. Their leader, Wayne Hsiung, has even bastardized the concept of open rescue by not only hurting the animals that he claims to have saved, but also by hurting the people that he steals the animals from. Making them feel financially threatened and personally unsafe to pursue a perfectly normal activity. Thankfully, the law has finally caught up to Wayne.
Militancy from these communities won't change my mind. While I enjoy correcting the false accusations and claims that come from the animal rights communities, I know that my corrections will likely go unheard by the most devout followers of those communities. I also do not keep my animals healthy and happy for the sake of those who are concerned with animal rights. I do so because it makes me happy to see them happy. I do so because it's the right thing to do. I do so because it's what I love. No amount of protests, death threats or even insults to my appearance has changed my mind about self sustainability or raising my own meat. It may just be time for farmers to recognize that vegan and animal rights militancy is no longer about "changing minds" but about forcing our minds to accept something that we personally do not want and are not interested in.
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