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Vegans: We speak for the victims

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A group of vegan activists in Washington Square Park recently definitely gave some food for thought.

Called Anonymous for the Voiceless, four of them stood silently with their backs to each other, all wearing Guy Fawkes “V for Vendetta” masks. Each facing a different direction, they held up large flatscreens showing graphic video images of the animal-food industry.

Miyanth Vidi, 26, another member of the group, made a strong argument for going vegan — meaning not eating or using anything derived from animals.

He quickly debunked the biblical concept that humans have “dominion” over all the Earth’s creatures.

“People usually say, ‘Animals are not intelligent,'” he noted. “But if I find a human who is not as intelligent, can I slaughter him?”

Miyanth Vidi said being vegan keeps him in “tip-top shape.” (Photo by The Village Sun)

Getting sufficient protein is also not an issue for vegans, he said, explaining, “We’ve got lentils, we’ve got seitan — vital wheat gluten, nutrient-dense protetin.”

Being a pescatarian is not an acceptable option, either, for Vidi and his comrades.

“Fishes feel pain,” he said. “It was dragged out of the ocean by force.”

Another benefit of veganism is that less food needs to be cultivated to sustain animals in the food industry.

“We’re feeding so much food to animals,” he said. “We can solve world hunger. We can solve the water crisis. Eighty percent of all Amazon deforestation is to grow food to feed animals.”

(Photo by The Village Sun)

Vidi, who lives in New Jersey, has been vegan for more than two years

“I’m in the best condition of my life,” he enthused. “I wish I had been vegan before. I’m an actor, so I’ve got to be in tip-top shape. I cook a lot of my own food.”

Paola Smith, another organizer with the group, answered still more questions — and was just as persuasive as Vidi. She spoke of the “meat, dairy, egg industry…[animal] experimentation…down, fur and leather. These are things that people have choices to make about every day of their lives. The industry has paid trillions of dollars to keep these animals and practices hidden.”

(Photo by The Village Sun)

So-called free-range eggs are not innocuous, she said.

“They’re all in a big shed,” she said of the chickens, “all squashed into each other. They get to the point they can’t walk anymore; they get heart failure.”

Plus, studies have shown that eating chicken and eggs raises men’s PSA levels, affecting prostate health, Smith pointed out.

But it’s the ethical reason that is the most important, in the vegans’ view.

As Smith put it, “When you look at it from the victims’ perspective, it makes it so much easier to change your decision. … You think, ‘Wow, someone’s dying.'”

26 Comments

  1. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg August 30, 2022

    Although I’m not a strict vegan (just a “vegetarian”), I do sympathize with their cause… However, I find their tactics annoying. Displaying pornography of animal suffering in public is lugubrious and exploitative. And so tired of the Guy Fawkes mask. Fawkes was an ultra-reactionary Catholic militant who merely supported the Spanish empire against the British. Whose brilliant idea was it to turn him into an anarchist icon? So stupid.

    • Melissa B Melissa B September 2, 2022

      Agreed Bill. Makes it difficult for me to join in on their cause when they are wearing attire that is completely irrelevant. Sad that folks clearly are clueless about history and meaning behind using the mask.

        • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 4, 2022

          Yes, we know how Anonymous and Occupy appropriated the mask before these vegans did. Their aesthetics are completely irrelevant to my choice not to become a vegan.

      • Victor Victor September 3, 2022

        Hi Melissa, you could also be vegan and not support their “scenography.” They are not the only group of people advocating for animals. Wearing a mask or not doesn’t change the fact that whoever buys animal products, directly supports animal abuse. I suggest watching “Dominion” on YouTube to really understand what goes on behind the scenes.

    • Victor Victor September 3, 2022

      Hi Bill, I suggest to watch “Dominion” on YouTube to really understand what goes on behind the scenes, including (and specially) the dairy and eggs industry. Forget about the masks, not all vegans have to wear one…

    • Malini Malini September 3, 2022

      This is a justice movement to save lives. Isn’t complaining about the appearance of the activists deviating from the point?
      Also, the reason most people consume meat and dairy is because they do not know about the horrific suffering. The only way to create a kinder world is by making people aware of the real suffering. Hence the videos are crucial.

      • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 4, 2022

        Symbols are called symbols because they mean something. And the Guy Fawkes mask is a poor symbol. And find a way to make your point other than public display of animal torture pornography.

        • P Burns P Burns September 5, 2022

          @Bill Weinberg, insisting on a presentation of the message that you would find more pleasing and less disturbing is irrelevant. Would you be vegan if we animal-rights activists were “nicer,” “gentler” with the message? Probably not. It’s just a deflection from the uncomfortable truth that continuing to consume animals and animal products means that you support animal abuse and suffering. It is is difficult to watch and even tougher to admit that they suffer and die directly for your tastebuds and food choices. Now put yourself in the animals’ place, even more difficult. If you were them, how urgent would it be to make all this stop? Telling you the truth is the most honest thing we can do. The animals need you to stop.

    • Adam Weissman Adam Weissman September 4, 2022

      David Lloyd’s, kinda.

      According to Alan Moore, writing about the creation of the “V for Vendetta” comic series developed for the UK’s Warrior Magazine:

      “The big breakthrough was all Dave’s, much as it sickens me to admit it. More remarkable still, it was all contained in one single letter that he’d dashed off the top of his head and which, like most of Dave’s handwriting, needed the equivalent of a Rosetta Stone to actually interpret. I transcribe the relevant portions beneath:

      ‘Re. The script; While I was writing this, I had this idea about the hero, which is a bit redundant now we’ve got
      [can’t read the next bit] but nonetheless… I was thinking, why don’t we portray him as a resurrected Guy Fawkes, complete with one of those papier mache masks, in a cape and conical hat? He’d look really bizarre and it would give Guy Fawkes the image he’s deserved all these years. We shouldn’t burn the chap every Nov, 5th but celebrate his attempt to blow up Parliament!’

      The moment I read these words, two things occurred to me. Firstly, Dave was obviously a lot less sane than I’d hitherto believed him to be, and secondly, this was the best idea I’d ever heard in my entire life. All of the various fragments in my head suddenly fell into place, united behind the single image of a Guy Fawkes mask. Brain reeling, I read on.”

      https://ceeeej-blog.tumblr.com/post/12404116820/behind-the-painted-smile

      As for using it in a real world context as opposed to in a comic book, that was, well… me, though in execution that was the short-lived A for Anarchy group.

      https://youtu.be/bb1F-3WguYg

      We got covered top story above the fold in AM New York with a big picture and a Sex Pistols reference for a headline “They Wanna Be… Anarchy.”

      Our use of the mask was contextual to commenting on the film and trying to do anarchist education to moviegoers. We held our event at DC Comics and at screenings on premiere weekend.

      Reappropriating it and applying it to contexts having nothing to do with the film really started with Anonymous and was later adopted by Occupy Wall Street.

      Anonymous for the Voiceless is presumably inspired by Anonymous and thus adopting the mask that Anonymous has made part of their brand. I’m not sure that this enhances their message in any way, though perhaps it makes them more striking and draws more attention. I suspect almost no one who ever sees them knows who Guy Fawkes is or recognizes the mask beyond perhaps knowing it from the “V for Vendetta” movie.

    • John S. John S. September 4, 2022

      Imagine if someone said that showing the George Floyd murder video to the public was annoying or violence pornography. Wow. So all this aside, why aren’t you vegan?

      • Bil Weinberg Bil Weinberg September 4, 2022

        The BLM protesters did not stand wth big video monitors on their chests displaying the George Floyd murder over and over, and if they had, it would have been immediately recognized as disrespectful of him. This is the irony: These folks are EXPLOITING the suffering animals.

        • Kim Kim September 4, 2022

          Still you don’t answer the question Bill, why are you not vegan?

        • Lucy G. Lucy G. September 4, 2022

          That’s just nonsensical. That’s not what exploiting means. But, they are right, you keep avoiding answering the question.

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 4, 2022

            Actually, yes it is what exploiting means. Why I am not a vegan is not really relevant to what’s under discussion here. I actually am mostly vegan in practice, but I’m not gonna promise you that I’ll never eat a slice of pizza. Sorry.

        • Tanya Tanya September 5, 2022

          Vegans are trying to make people aware ….. big agriculture won’t show the truth, so vegan activists have to get the footage & show it….. if it’s not good enough for your eyes to see, then how & why is it good enough for your stomach? The mask is irrelevant to veganisim. It is easier to stand & watch the footage without seeing an activist staring back at you. It’s for the aesthetics, just like them wearing all black. The mask has become a symbol of standing against oppression. Some groups do similar outreach wearing a pig mask. It’s all about the message. Using the mask as your excuse to still abuse animals is a ridiculous argument. If we wore a mask standing out here for anyone else’s rights (gay, black, women’s…) would you have the same arguments to keep oppressing them?

          • Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 6, 2022

            The mask is irrelevant to veganism…. Yes, that was rather my point! The accusation of “using the mask as an excuse to abuse animals” is wholly irrelevant to anything I said. My dietary choices have nothing to do with the aesthetics of your group. And yes, I was opposed to the use of the stupid Guy Fawkes mask by Anonymous and Occupy too… as stated. This isn’t an argument to “keep oppressing” anybody. That’s a total a red herring.

        • The Animals The Animals September 7, 2022

          So much for defending the rights of others, Bill Weinberg. I guess injustice is only worth fighting for as long as you aren’t inconvenienced…“a slice of pizza.” The hypocrisy is staggering.

      • Adam Weissman Adam Weissman September 8, 2022

        These kinds of analogies are only convincing when you’re preaching to the choir. They antagonize everyone else. As someone sympathetic to your cause, I would encourage you to avoid them.

  2. Bill Bill September 8, 2022

    It is nothing to the hypocrisy of the vegan dogmatists who refuse to acknowledge the social and ecological impacts of their own diets. Purity is a chimera. Not interested.

    • The Animals The Animals September 8, 2022

      You keep shifting these responses onto other people to avoid looking at your own choices. Social and ecological impacts of eating plant based? have you heard about the animal agriculture industry? Basically, you don’t want to stop eating cow breast milk pizza and this is enough for you to belittle a great injustice and choose willful ignorance. If you even are interested in challenging the system and “resisting” try looking into your very own choices of supremacy against other animals. I highly suggest watching The Most Important Speech You Will Ever Hear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5hGQDLprA8&ab_channel=GaryYourofsky

  3. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 8, 2022

    Look at your own choices. Soy and almonds take no ecological toll? You are complicit in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest every time you bite into tofu. Which means monkeys, frogs and tapirs starving to death. Yeah, I’m “shifting these responses,” because your moralism is totally hypocritical. Why don’t you thank me for being a vegetarian, and mostly vegan in practice… and examine the ecological and even animal-rights impacts of YOUR dietary choice? Conversation over.

    • Ginger Ginger September 8, 2022

      Sorry bud but the vast majority of destruction you attribute to plant crops is caused by animal agriculture not plant. The amount of crops used to feed animals dwarves the amount required to feed humans. That’s pretty rudimentary research. So, no, eating tofu does not have a remotely comparable downside to consuming animal products.

  4. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 8, 2022

    Nope. The soy you vegans worship is displacing cattle as the main driver of deforestation in the southern Amazon. And while a lot of that soy is destined for cattle feed, some of it is also destined for your precious tofu. Soy is fungible, ya heard? You want to win me over, you might want to ratchet down the sanctimony a tad… which was the point of my original comment. FYI… see last section: https://countervortex.org/blog/development-deal-to-protect-destroy-amazon/

    • The Animals The Animals September 9, 2022

      Please educate yourself on soy production and try not to use articles you wrote yourself as a source — try looking at up-to-date reliable sources. These numbers come directly from the USDA: Over 70 percent of the soybeans grown in the United States are used for animal feed, with poultry being the number one livestock sector consuming soybeans, followed by hogs, dairy, beef and aquaculture. It’s about 15% used for ingestible things like soybean oil… and only a few acres for organic soy, which is what people should directly eat. So your claims are wrong. Yet again you shift the discussion away from your hypocrisy. In any case, I’ll let you in on a secret, vegans don’t have to eat soy 🙀. However, you have missed the entire point. It’s not about “winning you over,” it’s about you aligning your actions with your declarative ethics about “resisting” and being an activist against injustice while taking part in horrible injustice on the daily basis. There are no prizes given out for following a diet, which is what being a vegetarian is, just like being a “paleo”, pescatarian, or keto follower. Your vegetarian diet causes deep-rooted injustice to the animals in the dairy industry, which rapes and sexually abuses all the females and males: the egg industry selects male babies and shreds them alive simply for being males, and the females get their beaks burned off and they get to live in filthy, crowded conditions, unable to even see the sun while being genetically modified to pump out hundreds more of their ovulations aka eggs than they are naturally set to do. This causes them to suffer tremendously and quite literally kills them, just so you can eat an omelette. This is about the animals, injustice and decency. You don’t need to agree with activists wearing a particular mask to align your actions with your claimed stance against injustice. There’s hundreds of different ways activists deliver the messages from the animals, but the message is always the same. If you want to stop being directly responsible for abuse and death of others for a “slice of pizza” then you must be vegan.

  5. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg September 9, 2022

    My article is entirely factual, sourced and linked to credible outside sources. I didn’t “write” it like a fiction writer making up a story. I’m a journalist, and I’ve written books about the roots of tropical deforestation. Even if you eat exclusively organic tofu (which not all vegans do), you are still driving up the price of soy and contributing to the destruction of the Amazon. Bringing up chicken-abuse is just changing the subject. You want to talk about almonds, and their voracious depletion of water resources in aridifying California? Your diet is not karma-free, sorry. Anyway, how did we start talking about my diet? My original post was about the irksome tactics of these lugubrious protesters. So you’re changing the subject multiple ways. This is tiresome.

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