Protests, regardless of the topic, be it the meat, dairy, egg, fur or other exploitative industry, have the great advantage that you get to talk to people. This is important because then you can better assess how people think and act who are not actively committed to animal rights. In addition, this also creates the opportunity to fill in knowledge gaps that still exist. A classic is still that many people do not know that a cow has to have a calf in order to give milk. 35% of the citizens of the so-called civilized countries are still convinced that a dairy cow is a dairy cow because it is born as such. It is also interesting to learn what conclusions people draw from the newly gained information for themselves and their lives. It’s no secret that the aim of our educational work is that fewer and fewer people support animal suffering, i.e. change their lifestyle. Not decreed from outside, but as the result of rational and reasonable consideration that results from the facts. That’s the theory. I would like to illustrate how far the practice is from this in the following conversation, which took place at a protest on the subject of pig suffering, exactly that way and no other.
It all started when I gave a flyer to a slightly stocky gentleman in his 50s. He took it dutifully, then appraised me from top to bottom and said: „You there, aren’t you all vegetarians?“. The people who held the protest were meant.
„Almost right,“ I corrected him carefully, „We live vegan.“
„Aha,“ he drawled, „And what’s the difference?“
„Not only do we not eat dead animals, but we also don’t eat any animal products,“ I explained. „And why are you doing this?“ he asked, not hiding his skepticism.
“Because we don’t want an animal to be mistreated, abused, exploited or killed just because we want what they have. It’s so easy to live without having to take advantage of anyone,“ I answered his question. „But tell me, why do you eat meat when you see how much animals suffer?“
„Because it tastes good,“ he replied briefly.
„And if I also tell you that the rainforests are gradually being destroyed because we need the land to grow feed for the animals they want to eat and that’s driving climate change, would you think about your meat consumption?” I continued.
„No,“ came the blunt answer.
„And why not?“ I was puzzled.
„Because it’s so good and I’m so old anyway, what do I care about climate change. I don’t experience that anymore anyway,“ he admitted.
„And if I tell you that 800,000,000 people in the world are starving because we feed the grain, corn and soy that is supposed to feed them to the so-called livestock, you, for these people, wouldn’t starving, not eating meat?”
„No,“ he repeated.
„Why not?“ I ask.
„Because of me, that’s no use,“ he explained without forgetting to add, „And besides, it tastes way too good.“
„And if I went on to tell you that our water will soon be undrinkable because of animal manure contaminating it, our soils being degraded because of over-fertilization, would you think about it?“ I asked.
„Maybe thinking,“ he said, „but doing, no, it’s just that good.“
„And if I tell you that it’s good for your health, that you do something good for your cardiovascular system, make sure you don’t get cancer easily or diabetes II, could that influence your decision?“ I played my last one Trump out.
„No, there are medicines that are so good, I don’t need them,“ he explained, „even if it tastes so good.“
„Then I can say goodbye,“ I said, „but maybe you’ll think about it anyway.“ It’s just not easy to try to get someone to rethink with rational arguments, whose motto is apparently „I eat therefore I am“.