Whenever people say “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money out of it.
—Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)
*All of the videos linked are extremely graphic. The embedded one is less so, but still disturbing.*
I have been known to complain about people who know the facts and yet continue to consume animal products. I don't know how much graphic footage you need to see before you to stop supporting an industry that's so decidedly evil.
But I haven't seen Earthlings, the Ohio Dairy Cruelty Video, The Cove, or Meet Your Meat. I know what's in them, more or less, and I keep saying that I can't watch, that I already know what's there, that I've seen and heard enough and those images and words still haunt me, still wake me at night, still bind up my stomach so tight that I'm sure I'm going to toss my cookies.
I watched a lot of this type of video years ago, that's why I'm vegan now. The ones listed above have come out since then. I've seen stills, and glimpsed moments. I've also watched the people close to me in tears after watching them. I'm already a vegan. Do I need to keep watching this footage? Am I wrong to avoid it?
I can't even watch all 3:51 of the Ready to Fall video without turning away in horror. (The link takes you to the unedited one on Peta2. The TV edit is embedded below). Can I really make it through so much concentrated carnage?
But the question I keep coming back to is this: what can I possibly suffer watching these videos compared to what the subjects went through?
Is it important for us to bear witness? Is it important to remind ourselves of what we stand for? Is it important to keep our anger hot and our conscience sick? Is it important to know everything we can about this movement?
It's so easy to get comfortable. I have vegan friends and family, vegan online communities, vegan restaurants and bakeries, and vegan cookbooks that make it all too easy to live in a vegan bubble, but the reality isn't pretty and cupcakes at the potluck that knock the socks off the omnis are not enough.
One of my favorite AR activists told me that "you have to stay up to date to be effective" and that each video reminds us why we do things, and has something to teach us. They're part of our education.
So pick one this month, watch it, think about it, and then do something specific as your answer to it. Whether you sponsor an animal, order some leaflets, or hold a bake sale to raise donation money, do it because of what you saw.