Recommending ‘Meatless Monday’ doesn’t make Oprah a hero
I am so tired of celebrating the promotion of eating meat six days a week, instead of seven.
VegNews was jazzed to share that following a sit down with Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society, Oprah took to twitter to (sort of) encourage her 33.5 million followers to join her in observing ‘meatless Monday.’ Indeed, legions of so-called activists applauded that a celebrity is proud to stand on her soapbox and proclaim that cutting out a limited amount of animal products on everyone’s least favourite day of the week makes her once again superior to anyone who doesn’t already follow her advice, book club, or “self improvement” cult. You can probably still drink the punch on Mondays.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) August 21, 2016
But realistically, focusing on Oprah is a bit of red herring. It’s the leader of the self proclaimed “most effective animal protection non-profit” that continues to confuse me. If we are to care about animals at all, the very least we can do is go vegan. Cutting back, removing single animal products, and following whatever the latest pseudo plant-based diet craze is does nothing but further the idea that using animals is still fine elsewhere in our lives, on our plates, or otherwise. Not to mention the absurdity of leaving eggs and dairy out of the conversation at this point. He goes so far as calling meatless Monday a movement, insulting all other social movements actually working to create meaningful change.
How can everyone ignore the fact that save for that one, insignificant tweet, her legions of followers have been bombarded with phoney health facts, endorsements, and all sorts of encouragement on television and online for years, that has and continues to promote heaps of animal exploitation? Oh, but people suddenly won’t use her devilled egg recipe on Monday, and they’ll be sure to wear a “what do you believe” t-shirt from her collection when bragging to their own followers that they’re now holier than thou…but only on Monday. And only until Oprah has a new feature that needs the time slot.
Lest we forget that social media platforms are as policed as any other brand marketing, and that the convenience of her sharing a picture of some rescue dogs nearby that meatless Monday tweet looks to back up how much of an animal lover she truly is. She wants to know how we can do better for animals, and could be sincere in that wanting to know, and Mr. Pacelle’s best answer is to use them a bit less, and buy his book. Were this #supersoulsunday to indeed include soul, it would acknowledge that the lives of animals are deserving of our complete attention, and that’s not something we can turn away from 85% of the time. That’s all animals, not just the cute ones that flood twitter.
It’s not about how we treat animals when we use them, or how often we use them. If Oprah, Wayne, and any other public figure truly had the interest of animals in mind and not the support of the general public spending instead, they’d insist on sharing veganism and veganism alone. I’m holding my breath for the day people decide to go vegan because Oprah told them to cut out meat on Monday.