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The Weekly Vegan Update: One Dam Day and Activists at Boxtel

There was a lot of activism going on the last couple of days. Today in my Weekly Vegan Update, I reflect on these forms of activism and will share with you what’s my stand in it.

As you may or may not know, I take part in peaceful activism myself. A year and a half ago, I joined the Oxford Vegan Action. I also took part in an Animal Save Vigil once, only to find out that that kind of activism isn’t really my cup of tea. I know it’s much needed, and we need to bring what’s happening in slaughterhouses to the public, but all the blood and the screams from dying animals – I can’t handle it.

One Dam Day – Anonymous for the Voiceless
On 11 May, Anonymous for the Voiceless hosted a 24 hour Cube of Truth in Dam Square, Amsterdam. This event was dedicated to exposing what is happening to the animals, our environment and our health. Hundreds of activists formed a “Cube of Truth” to attract public attention to the terrible conditions in factory farming. One Dam Day, as the event is called, is the first national event of AV Netherlands. The activists were divided into time slots of three hours, although there were some activists who wanted to spend the full 24 hours demonstrating on Dam Square.
When I saw footage of One Dam Day, it immediately gave me goosebumps. All those people, all giving their time to stand up for the voiceless – the animals who suffer. I wish I could’ve been part of this, but alas, I’m currently not living in my home town. I’m hoping that after this successful event, AV will decide to host more! 

Activists in Boxtel – Meat the Victims
About 150 activists managed to get inside a pig farmer’s company and moved into the stable. At the end of the evening, the police evacuated the company and 76 activists were arrested. The day after that, feelings were running high about the way the activists acted, but there has been little attention to the actual victims: the pigs. The activists have recorded the harsh conditions the pigs suffer, but there are hardly any Dutch people who seem to care about that. All they care about is the activists and how they acted.
Now, I don’t want to say that I completely agree with this kind of activism. But that is only because we already know that these farmers will react violently.

Unfortunately, the only item that reached the press is the fact that those activists were acting against the law – for the sake of convenience, it is forgotten that the farmers did as well. Counter-protesters rolled over at least six cars of the activists. Meat was placed on their windshields. Tires were punctured. There was a lot of aggressive behavior towards the activists, even though the latter came in peace. For me, it feels like the only thing that has been achieved is a lot of agitation. I hope the footage will do something with the public, but I’m afraid most Dutch people just don’t want to know the truth.

But what’s my take on this all?
Again: I have a great deal of respect for the people who occupied that pig farm in Boxtel. As a result, hopefully they have been able to reveal what illegal practices are taking place behind closed doors. It will probably not help the pigs that are currently locked up, but hopefully it will make people think and choose for plant based food more often.
Personally, I think that an action such as the Cube of Truth, where no one is harmed in any way (the Boxtel activists are now seen as intruders), is more effective. A huge audience is reached, and people can choose for themselves whether they look away or not, but because of the masses of people it attracts, the passerby’s are almost forced to look.

I am on the side of the victims here: the billions of pigs, cows, chicken, sheep and goats, all beings that want to live. I don’t necessarily have to agree with the activists in Boxtel, because in the end we want the same thing: leaving animal suffering behind and living together in a peaceful world.

What do you think about the activism that has taken place in the Netherlands these last couple of days? Were you there? What would you have done differently?

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