Animal-lovers across Canada, China, India, Israel, the U.S., and a dozen other countries have one more thing have in common this week: They're all taking part in protests or educational activities in observance of the 30th anniversary of World Day for Farmed Animals (WDFA).
The international day of action takes place each year on or around Oct. 2 in conjunction with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, an outspoken advocate of non-violence towards animals. The annual observance is organized by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a U.S. nonprofit organization working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism. Dozens of other local, regional, national, and international organizations pitch in, resulting in a global effort worth getting excited over.
Canadian activists in particular are stepping up their efforts from previous years, having already staged a massive demonstration at the Quality Meat Packers Slaughterhouse in Toronto. Additional protests are planned in Breslau, Burlington, Maidstone, Vancouver, and other locations. The activities are coordinated by Pig Save, a movement that began in Toronto, but has since spread, with the aim of putting "glass walls" on slaughterhouses.
A Special Day For the Most Abused Animals
Each year approximately 65 billion land animals are killed globally to produce meat, eggs, and dairy. This means that far more animals are killed by humans for food than for all other reasons combined, including hunting, experimentation, and in animal shelters.
Most of these animals are raised on factory farms, where they are confined, mutilated, and raised to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them literally suffer to death. Even animals raised on small family farms endure many of these abuses, and all animals raised for food face a gruesome slaughter.
Each of these animals is capable of experiencing pleasure, affection, and joy, as well as sorrow, loneliness, and pain. Therefore, the question World Day for Farmed Animals asks is, "If we wouldn't raise a dog or cat for food, why would we do it to a pig, chicken, or fish?"
A Two-Tiered Strategy to Move Consumers and Retailers
The campaign's aim is two-fold: to help people make dietary choices that are more aligned with their values, and to help animal agribusiness see the writing on the wall. More and more people -- especially young adults -- are moving toward a vegan diet because they realize that paying people to harm and kill animals on their behalf does not align with their ethics. Stricter standards for animal treatment, environmental safeguards, or worker protection may be good first steps, but they will not alleviate the core problem.
Fortunately, making animal-free food choices is easier than ever. Leading dietary organizations tout a vegan diet as healthy for all life stages, including pregnancy, infancy, teen years, and old age, as well as for athletes. And with such a large array of vegan meats and milks, there's no need to sacrifice taste or convenience. WDFA seeks to not only inform individuals about the need to move towards veganism, but also to build sufficient public outcry to create a shift in business as usual.
How Each Of Us Can Make an Impact
The vast majority of North Americans care about farmed animals. There are several easy ways to get involved with World Day for Farmed Animals:
- We can arm ourselves, our friends and families with the truth, unpleasant as it is. A short video is available at www.InformedConsumer.com.
- We can each move toward a vegan diet. Every animal-free meal we eat makes a difference, and going fully vegan can spare nearly 100 animals each year from being raised and killed for food. Tips and recipes are available at www.LiveVegan.org.
- We can join an observance. There are several hundred events happening across the world, with the vast majority being held in the U.S. and Canada. The website www.DayForAnimals.org has an event listing and a guide to getting active.
This 30th anniversary of World Day for Farmed Animals needs all people who care about animals to come together and speak up for those who can not speak for themselves.
Follow Michael A. Webermann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MAWebermann