Animal rights protestors make Pig BBQ Joint their target: Locals rally back with support

Zoë Collier (graphic)

Zoë Collier (graphic)

On Saturday Nov. 22, protesters associated with the animal rights activist organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) staged a demonstration inside and outside of Pig BBQ Joint in downtown Victoria. They held signs saying, “It’s not food, it’s violence,” and loudly asserted to customers that “what’s being served in this business is not food, it’s bodies.”

The following Tuesday, a group led by local chef Morgan Onda bought lunch at Pig in a show of solidarity with the restaurant. Their response was a simple reversal of the protesters’ slogan, signs that read “It’s not violence, it’s food.”

There is a legitimate debate over whether meat should be considered a basic food resource or a luxury. On the extreme end, those opposed to meat as a resource want to grant additional rights to non-human animals, comparable to the rights we have formulated for ourselves. Whatever people believe about animal rights, there is also plenty of weight to both sides of the argument over whether humans, being omnivorous creatures, should continue to include other animals in their diet when vegetarian options exist throughout most of the modern world.

However, the value of ethical practices at all stages of meat production is far less ambiguous. Most would agree that corporate profit at the expense of causing senseless suffering in animals is wrong; one need only concede that animals can experience pain, and then take steps to prevent the same kind of excruciating deaths that they would meet in the wild.

It seems reasonable that ethical meat production should actually allow livestock to have less painful lives and deaths than they would have in nature. Under natural conditions, prey animals generally either die of illness or old age with no palliative care or mercy whatsoever, or they fall into the rending claws and teeth of carnivores and omnivores less conscientious than humans. Humans are unique in the animal kingdom for our ability, at our best, to minimize the discomfort of whatever we kill. The only comparison I can think of is to the few predators whose venom happens to include an anaesthetic effect. By nature’s standards, we can be remarkably kind to our prey.

It is strange that DxE chose to hold their demonstration at a local business that sources its meat from federally approved plants. Why not choose a more egregious example of cruel industrial practices, like one of the major fast food chains? Was it simply that the restaurant’s straightforward name, Pig, would garner more attention? Did they think that the restaurant’s patrons might be from demographics more inclined to change their minds on the meat issue in response to a debate?

Why, then, did they resort to shouting slogans rather than engaging the customers in conversation or handing out informative literature? Does DxE consider it worthwhile to treat human beings with respect, during their efforts to convince humans to treat other animals with respect? At the very least, treating humans well is just as important as treating other animals well, if one believes that humans are at all similar to other animals.

In order to respect any animal, one must provide a certain amount of physical and emotional comfort, but our species has a fundamental need for something more: intellectual integrity, the comfort of the truth. We like to communicate. We like to ask—and be asked—questions. I would challenge DxE and those like them to ask rational questions and satisfy others with more cogent responses, even if what mostly gets them noticed is their voices raised in anger. For example, they could write to the Martlet.

6 Comments

Avatar Guest

So if you eat meat you’re also a homophobe and a racist. Boy are you good at attracting sympathy. Where’s the love for plant life? That’s what I want to know.

Avatar The Critical Cat

It is disappointing the writer of this article did not take the time to research DxE, talk to its leaders, or talk to local animal rights groups. The point of DxE’s message is that there is no humane meat, no animal wants to die to be
pulled pork sandwich. A diversity of tactics is necessary to address the systemic abuse of animals, because there is a diversity of people that only respond to certain kinds of action. Furthermore, the action was specifically about disrupting a space where conceptually people feel comfortable with their actions by believing they are a making a good choice eating “humane” meat. It is still an act of violence that got that “food” on their plate. They are not yelling at the customers though, they are disrupting the normative milieu of Pig where pig flesh is promoted. People take this personally not because it is an attack on them, they take it personally because it is an attack on the ideas
they are comfortable with. As well, I encourage people to check out the Youtube comments from those opposed to the Pig action on the “complete pig protest video” you will find sexist, homophobic, speciesist and generally verbally
violent posts there. I have written a blog in response to these types of articles on our website http://www.thecriticalcat.com for those interested for another perspective of someone who was actually there. Thanks.
http://www.thecriticalcat.com/#!Leaders/cjds/37EDD13A-3D7F-49B6-8471-0F9DB28AA215

Avatar Noah

So if you eat meat you’re also a homophobe and a racist. Boy are you good at attracting sympathy. Where’s the love for plant life? That’s what I want to know.

Avatar The Critical Cat

That is not what I said it all. I said, I encourage people to go and see the agressive and violent language used by those who were upset by the protest and how few of the comments actually addressed the message of the protesters. People do not have to support the protesters, but at least try to argue your points without resorting to personal attacks or changing the topic, such as trying to cast the protesters as hypocrites for eating vegetables.

Avatar Noah

People were rude on the internet. Boo hoo.
Maybe they were just annoyed that while people were trying to have a nice dinner a bunch of self righteous jerks (with not a thought for the children in Bangladesh who made their clothes or homelessness in Victoria – which they COULD have been “building awareness” for) decided it was appropriate to show up and get in their faces for no conceivable purpose. If they REALLY cared, they’d have thought a little bit harder about how to gain sympathy to their cause. This is self aggrandizement at its basest.

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