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Blocking rush hour traffic won’t help anyone understand veganism

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We already know that people stuck in truck are seldom interested in being good listeners.

Still, ABC reports that animal rights activists in Tasmania thought blocking rush hour traffic on the Hobart’s Tasman Bridge was the best way to add their two cents to recent RSPCA allegations of cruelty at a local abattoir. One traffic accident, two arrests, and over 900 Facebook comments later, they’ve apologized for the inconvenience.

Animal Liberation Tasmania members held the publicity stunt, waving bristol-boards at drivers and pretending that this is an effective way to educate people. They hung a large banner over one street sign to invite people to a website which predictably highlights the treatment of animals through graphic imagery. It takes some time to wade through the donate buttons and petitions to find vegan information, but my guess is none of the drivers on that bridge even visited the site. Instead, they saw an opportunity to extend their road rage into anti-vegan Facebook comments.

Perhaps even more hilariously, RSPCA Tasmania called the demonstration an ‘animals rights protest’ and attempted to distance themselves from it by reminding people they’re fine with the killing of animals as long as they’re respected and treated with kindness in slaughterhouses (yup). They described their work as ‘animal welfare’ even though ALT also said they’re only on a mission to “reduce animal suffering.” It’s a beautifully confusing example of the mixed messaging in animal rights campaigns.

Two have been charged with trespassing and creating a common nuisance, and will face a trial at a later date. We hope that all involved have very practically learned that this is not the way to get through to the general public, and that teaching people not to exploit animals should be done through conversation more commonly held between two car passengers, and not a driver and a billboard.

We believe a grassroots movement to make new vegans is what animals deserve, and that the abolition of animal use should always be our clear message, not the reduction of suffering. 

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