The animal rights or animal liberation movement dates back to Victorian England, after Thomas Taylor wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. Poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley Wollstonecraft, the author of Frankenstein, were friends with Taylor and pioneers of the movement. Fun fact just in time for Halloween: Mary Shelley made her Frankenstein monster a vegan for this reason. The creature claims: “I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment”
Centuries later, with the imminent threat of global warming, which is caused primarily by animal agriculture, the movement intensified. The activist group Surge began the Official Animal Rights March in 2016. In London, about 2,500 people attended. In 2019, there were about 40,000 protestors worldwide. In Miami, there were about three hundred who marched downtown. Still, we have a long way to go. Many people are still in the dark about how animals are treated in factory farms, thanks to Big Ag’s Ag-Gag laws. Did you know it is illegal to videotape anything that goes on inside of a factory farm? If everything is fine and dandy, then why don’t they want anyone see it. Singer Paul McCartney of The Beatles once said “if slaughter houses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”
These industries that abuse animals have worked very hard to keep their operations undercover, but their time is coming to an end, much like life on this planet if humans don’t stop eating these animals. The devastation of our planet at the hands of the big animal agriculture companies is just starting to make the mainstream news. The New York Times recently (Feb. 2022) published a series titled Meet the People Getting Paid to Kill Our Planet. In the video compilation, the journalists explain that the biggest meat, dairy, and fast food companies have offices surrounding the white house. They spend more money on lobbying than any other businesses in America. It’s no wonder so many Americans are sick.
Even the Pope, aptly named after Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals, drew attention to the plight of animals in his 2015 Encyclical, which is about climate change. In On Care for Our Common Home, he expresses the plight of Mother Earth. He writes: ““Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’” and “We are not God. … [W]e must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
Despite the voices of many intelligent individuals, we still need activists to keep sharing the message that animals are here with us to coexist, not for us to abuse. Even though Surge no longer organizes the official marches, possibly due to the growing acceptance of a plant-based future, a group of passionate and brave locals conducted a peaceful protest this weekend in Miami Beach.
Check out a gallery of the march, courtesy of Juan Carlos Endera: