Thought about the Meat Conference
I spent the weekend chasing a bunch of rich mostly men in suits around Wellington as they went from workshop to workshop about how to destroy the planet more efficiently and for more profit. About how to sell more toxified flesh to passive consumers, about how to greenwash and brainwash consumers. The conference they were at was a celebration. It was a celebration of one hundred and twenty five years of poisoning our land so people on the other side of the world can eat the flesh of animals they will never have to know.
The conference was guarded by two dozen police; these were well drilled, heavily equipped highly trained state forces at the conference specifically to defend against two dozen unpaid unarmed demonstrators. Two dozen people that have dedicated a major portion of their lives in defense of threatened ecos`ystems and tortured animals. The only weapons we had were our voices and our placards. Including security at the conference venue and the Gibson security – (a company which specializes in defending against demonstrators) then we were numbered. Including delegates we were easily outnumbered 4 to 1.
Throughout the weekend these people in suits were followed round Wellington, and other businesses profiting from the murder of animals and the destruction of the planet were also visited. When we stood their with our placards they laughed and sneered at us. They laughed at some of the most graphic illustrations of animal cruelty I have ever seen. If we had been allowed to talk to them and we had done so quietly I’m sure they would have laughed when we talked about climate change, deforestation, fertilizer levels, animal cruelty and the exploitation of a low paid workforce. I think this because every time we have talked to someone directly profiting from animal abuse they have either politely ignored us or laughed.
Those addressing the conference are aware of the effects of their industry. Jim Anderton a politician who addressed the conference is directly aware of the effects of the industry. But because they value profit above all else they don’t care. As long as the destruction is happening elsewhere as long as they can push it to the back of their minds they as long as they continue to profit they will continue their actions.
So rather than being laughed at, rather than passively expecting them to listen to us we forced them to. We screamed at them, we woke them up, we followed them around. And by the end of the conference a lot of the participants had been shaken by our presence be cause we had not passively allowed them to enjoy themselves, we had forced them to take notice. The people in the conference won’t listen to rational dialogue, they won’t listen to our peer reviewed studies, they won’t listen to the streams and rivers poisoned by their industries or the waves lapping ever higher on our beaches. The only time they will listen is when they are forced to, and in our society that means that we will be hunted down by those in power. That we will be monitored, ringed by cops and ignored by the media.
I cant shake the feeling though that no matter how much we scream at these people in suits, no matter how much we talk to them that we are still screaming at a brick wall. I think this was reaffirmed the day after the conference when a socialist literally said “I would happily destroy this planet if it would give humans a higher standard of life on mars” Another activists who works on a wide range of issues such as women’s rights was saying similar things and was comparing our protests to those of ant abortion protesters. These opinions might be slight exaggerations but not much. For whatever reason we live in a society which implicitly accepts the destruction of the planet for profit and which is never ok with fighting back.
People need to come to identify with their land bases and with each other, we need to value the land we live on and the people we live with. I don’t know how to make this happen. I don’t know how we defeat an industry which is supported by everyone in power and half the activists in our community’s. How long do we have to talk, how long do we have to scream and at what point will people listen? Do we have to take every person in our society and walk them through streams poisoned by agriculture, do we have to take every person and walk them through slaughterhouses?
On the drive home I was ranting like this when another person in the car reminded me, there are billions of people who are not benefiting from the current system, that even in our own country there are a large number of people that are not profiting from the destruction of our ecosystems and that those who are profiting are only able to continue with the aid of institutions designed to silence thought and to enforce control over those that would bring about change.
It is in defense of the majority of inhabitants of this earth that we must act. We must work to destroy the institutions and power structures that make the ongoing destruction of the planet inevitable. And we must be smarter and fight harder than those that are being paid to stop us.