So, last weekend while I had the flat to myself, I went and joined the Animal rights march in London. It had popped up in my facebook feel way back when and, being somewhat concerned about out environment and treatment of fellow planet inhabitants, I half-heartedly signed my interest and forgot all about it.
As random luck would have it, my partner went on a trip that weekend and I suddenly had both the time and the means to head over to Hyde Park and join the shenanigans. I donned my most political tshirt and went on my way.
Having little experience with these things, I never quite know what to expect. I joined the climate march last year as well and, well, going alone is just a bit… uninspiring. You spend a lot of time waiting around, and then you try to yell some chants while you walk down a road before you eventually end up in front of Westminister where there are a couple of speeches before you break up and head home again. I’m guessing going there with a group or just with one other person might have made a huge difference to my experience of these marches, but that is on me. It was still an interesting experience. I am glad I went. The energy was certainly palpable and more than half had made their own signs.
As always, I am reminded of how veganism is still mainly a thing for privileged, white people, varied though the demographic was in other way, I counted less than 20 people of colour throughout the march in which there were at least a thousand people (I think).
The only thing that made me downright uncomfortable about the whole thing was when the march passed a McDonald’s and almost every one started booing and chanting “Shame on you”. It was bad enough that our police escort stationed at least 3 police officers in front of their door.
I did not join in. That sort of negative behaviour is not a movement I want to be associated with. Shaming someone for their food choices does not make them likely to change, but giving them a positive alternative might. The behaviour displayed that day just goes to enforce the “angry vegan” stereotype. Quite counterproductive when I would much rather strive for inclusive and engaging behaviours which entice people to give recipes and restaurants a go without attacking them or trying to make them feel bad.
I suppose I’m a bad protester as well as a bad vegan. I did not leave the march feeling invigorated and energized, I just felt a bit fatigued and a little confused as to how it would help in the long run. That might just be my anti-social self talking though, who knows?
Being a child of my generation, at least I got a selfie to prove it actually happened.