Are We Winning Yet?
from FARM (Farm Animals Reform Movement)
(In 1999 a new record of Nine Billion
animals were killed for food in the United States. This number only
counts land animals and not fish, which are measured in billions of
Some naysayers have questioned the
effectiveness of the vegetarian movement. They note that US and world
meat consumption is rising, that factory farms are getting bigger and
more oppressive, and that the Humane Slaughter Act is a sham.
Yet, the problem is not that we're
losing, but that we fail to recognize the magnitude of our challenge,
the complexion of winning, and the appropriate strategy to pursue. To
recognize the magnitude of our challenge, consider that meat eating is
more deeply ingrained in our social fabric than smoking and exploitation
of women and minorities. Then consider how many decades it is taking to
correct these social ills, and note that we have been at it for only two
Recognizing the complexion of winning and
the appropriate strategy is a bit more involved. Each struggle for
social justice goes through four phases. In the Alerting Phase, we call
public attention to our problem through outrageous acts. In the
Discussion Phase, we appeal to the feelings and beliefs of those whose
attention we have won. In the Acceptance Phase, we promote our views to
the general public. The actual changes we seek take place only in the
Enactment Phase, through legislative, administrative, economic, social
In the Alerting Phase of our movement,
which ended in the early 80s, we blocked entrances to the USDA and
several slaughterhouses, staged a sit-in in the office of the Secretary
of Agriculture, dressed in animal costumes, and held countless pickets
and vigils at fast food outlets and meat markets.
Following a brief Discussion Phase, our
movement was ushered into the Acceptance Phase in the late 80s with the
public promotion of plant-based eating by the American Dietetic
Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute,
and, more recently, by the Dietary Guidelines and the American Heart
Association. The transition has presented activists with the twin
problems of getting over outrageous Alerting Phase behavior and
maintaining sufficient momentum to move us into the Enactment Phase.
The solution lies in recognizing that
real-life winning in the Acceptance Phase has a vastly different
complexion than the utopian visions of the Alerting Phase.
Here are some examples:
- People will not be joining vegetarian
societies en masse -- they will just eat more fake meat and dairy
products, and they are.
- Mainstream health institutions will not be replaced by veggie
societies -- they will promote plant-based eating, and they are.
- Supermarkets will not be replaced by health food stores -- they will
carry more meat and dairy analogs, and they are.
- McDonald's and the other fast food chains will not go out of business
-- they will sell veggie burgers, and some are.
- Slaughterhouses will not be reduced to smoldering ruins -- they will
be processing meatless foods, and at least one is.
- Physicians will not be replaced by holistic practitioners -- they will
just counsel their patients to go veg, someday.
Yes, we are winning! But we need to be
patient, to gain a realistic perspective of winning, and to channel our
activism into facilitating the consumers' steady evolution from animal
to plant-based foods.
FARM - Farm Animal Rights Movement
Go on to California says No to Marine
Fisheries Service Plan to Blast Sea Lions
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