It often seems like the animal-rights movement these days is a lot more civilized and sophisticated than its predecessors. Instead of throwing red pain on models wearing fur, we now see cleverly worded ballot initiatives, undercover farm videos documenting alleged abuse, and campaigns heralding the health benefits of Meatless Mondays. As I wrote about before, the anti-meat agenda has entered a new era; it’s now mainstream.
But we all know you can’t hide your radical roots forever. A group of eco-warriors from Animal Rebellion, a subgroup of the larger Extinction Rebellion, recently defaced the Queen Victoria Memorial fountain in front of Buckingham Palace by smearing fake blood all over it. Shocked tourists watched as London’s police forcibly removed the protestors. The group’s shenanigans, which go far beyond this stunt, have cost British taxpayers over £50 million.
Their grief? The radical vegans were angry that the royal family allows animal agriculture and hunting on their vast estates. Their spokesman told The Sun:
The Crown Estate is the biggest landowner in the UK and they choose to use this land for animal agriculture and hunting, which not only decimate our environment but cause the deaths of millions of lives every year.Harley McDonald-Eckersall, Animal Rebellion, The Sun
In other words, they want to end animal agriculture and hunting in the UK. So they felt it was appropriate to cause a public scene and vandalize a memorial fountain outside the Queen’s home. Thankfully, the police arrested the protestors and quickly ended the stunt.
Why do I share this story? Because farmers remember this type of behavior. This isn’t an outlandish stunt by animal-rights activists from the movement’s fringe. It wasn’t so long ago that this was par for the course. And it happened to all agriculture sectors. Activists have burned GMO trial fields, destroyed labs, and turned over farm markets selling conventional produce. (If you don’t believe me, a quick Google search will give you plenty of examples.)
In other words, these people are scary. I remember not so long ago when the USDA turned over the names and addresses of farmers in animal agriculture. The FOIA request came from one of these radical organizations. You can imagine how these farmers felt knowing that their precise location was turned over to people fairly labeled as eco-terrorists. And any agriculture blogger knows these people aren’t shy about spreading vile and hateful nastiness at just about anyone who disagrees with them.
So when farmers encounter more mainstream elements of this movement, they’re rightfully skeptical and hesitant. We recognize these people defacing a memorial fountain, because they’ve been a threat to our way of life for a very long time. And stunts like this remind us that you can put a suit on a monkey, but that doesn’t change what he is underneath.