Anyone out and about in downtown Linz around midday on Saturday saw something interesting. People stood a few meters apart, holding plaques bearing messages. In addition, there were also tents that apparently offered in-depth information material. But what was it about?
To answer this question there were two possibilities for the uninformed. She either went to one of these people and asked, or she walked down the line of the message bearers and tried to get an idea from them. Depending on temperament and pleasure in puzzles, but also time budget, you choose one way or the other. Our observer chose both. That is, she decided to walk down the line, picking up samples at the stalls along the way while getting an idea, and then finally asking one of the activists if her thoughts were correct or not.
There were messages like:
„You are really strong when you help the weaker ones“ and next to them a girl hugs a cow. „Real Men Eat Vegetables,“ featuring an image of a muscular man.
„Look into his eyes, then at your plate, then at your heart.“
„What else can you eat?“, next to the illustration of different types of vegetables and fruits “Pandemic-free world through plant-based nutrition” and terms such as H5N1, MERS, Covid-19, H1N1 and SARS were listed and crossed out.
At the latest when we saw this sign, our uninvolved observer came to a first conclusion, it was about veganism, but she only left that as a working hypothesis for the time being, because maybe it was even more. Probably not just about vegan food, but about a basic vegan attitude and animal rights.
So, she read more messages like:
„Live vegan instead of brutal.“
“What do I do without as a vegan person? To senseless violence!”
„Respect animals instead of slaughtering them!“ with the image of a child hugging a cow, framed by a heart with wings.
At the latest when she saw the latter poster, she was sure it was about veganism and animal rights, not least because the samples at the stands were all vegan. Nevertheless, she spoke to a sympathetic-looking activist to ask her about the background and, above all, the intention.
„Hello,“ said our no longer completely uninvolved observer, who had not yet noticed that she was slowly getting involved or at least not remaining unaffected, „I now have all the messages read on the signs about, tried the vegan delicacies, by the way, were delicious and packed a little information material. If I’m not very wrong, this is about bringing people closer to veganism and animal rights. Is that true so far?”
„Hi. I’m glad you’re interested,“ the activist replied, „Yes, you recognized that correctly.“
“But why are you doing it this way?” asked our more involved passer-by.
„There are a variety of ways to bring people closer to the advantages of a vegan lifestyle, primarily from our point of view since we are actually all ethically motivated vegans, the reduction of animal suffering, but also those for the environment and health,“ began the activist explaining, “There are more offensive and defensive ways. It is offensive when we approach people and address them directly, defensive when we offer the message but leave it up to the others whether they accept it or not. The advantage is that people can read all these messages in peace without having to comment on them. You can take them with you and let them work. And for those who are looking for a conversation, the people holding the signs or at the stands are of course available. It is certainly not the only form of action, but a very important one.”
„That means nobody can say that she will be taken by surprise, but she still gets the opportunity to let the messages get through,“ the observer tried to summarize.
„That’s exactly how it is,“ confirmed the activist.
“And who is allowed to join you?” asked the now also involved.
„Everyone,“ the activist replied curtly, „If you like, get a sign and stand by it.“
„Great!“, said the new one and chose a sign with the inscription: „Excuse me… May I take a bite of your dog?“, because she suddenly realized that it was natural to leave her dog alone, but with one, there is nothing wrong with killing a cow or a pig for enjoyment. With that she had already grasped what is known as speciesism and decided that she would now go vegan. How could she go about this? She didn’t know that exactly yet, but she was surrounded by vegan people who would certainly be happy to support her.