We're in this photo 👀

We’re in this photo. After a lifetime of passing people on the street holding signs and passing out pamphlets I was now one of them - the people I used to desperately try and avoid. I’m sure looking at the picture you’re thinking what the f…. And that’s the point. The group is called anonymous for the voiceless.

The masks are intended to draw attention, create curiosity, and get people to check out the screens showing standard practices in the meat, egg and dairy industry - which are horrific. But for me the real benefit of the mask was to hide my sadness and anger as people passed and shouted “I like my eggs caged,” “BACON,” and for some reason “Trump”. It was like facebook came to life. Sometimes I think we’re just extra cruel online but in person are decent. It sure didn’t feel like it. However there were a handful of people that came over, talked about what they saw, and took some information. They seemed genuinely moved. And despite the ridicule it felt SO GOOD to be standing shoulder to shoulder with others who want to help animals.

Yogi’s will go from ending a good workout repeating “may all beings be happy and free, namaste” to a lunch where they dine on the flesh of a sentient being who spent her entire 45 day life not being able move, spread her wings, or see sunlight. 

Environmentalist will make sure to turn the faucet off while they brush their teeth but will have no problem wasting 1,000s of gallons of water at every meal. It takes up to 2,500 gallons of water for one 1 lbs of meat, compared to 22 gallons for 1 lbs of carrots or similar vegetables.

Animal advocates will have galas where neglected dogs are on the big screen in a touching fundraising film, but tortured pigs are passed around as appetizers.

Brave souls standing up, marching, and protesting for women’s rights, social justice, and equality will miss the irony in asking people to look past their differences and lend a hand to the marginalized while marginalizing the individuals they eat because of their differences. 

Fierce moms who would do anything for their children look past the cries of a mother cow (sometimes lasting up to a month) as her baby is taken away minutes after birth. As a herd animal they would normally spend the rest of their lives together. The boys are killed, the girls separated and put on formula, so we can have a latte.

Before you feel like you’re being judged I want to make clear this used to be me. For 35 years. I am far from perfect and have a long way to go in living a life that aligns with what I say my values are. In many ways going plant-based feels like taking the red pill in the matrix. You wake up to a world trying to keep everyone asleep through propaganda, tradition, addiction, and lies. And waking up is a doubled-edged sword. Your health, weight, sleep, vitality, performance, mood, mental clarity (the list goes on) will improve dramatically. But you’ll also be acutely aware of the pain, suffering, and exploitation you used to cause at every meal. You’ll assume that all you have to do is let others know what’s going on and they’ll surely join you. Otherwise kind, caring, animal loving friends and family will look at you like you’re crazy, refuse to watch or hear about the reality of the meat, egg and dairy industry, and do all kinds of mental gymnastics to continue their way of life while still being outraged over climate change, puppy mills, and rising health care costs. Rather than joining in the fight many will pull away, critique and rationalize.

We create films, take to social media, host plant-based cooking nights, make personal pleas, and try and be an example though athletic performance, but sometimes you just need to go stand on the sidewalk and hold a sign. As an introvert all of this is second nature and I’m sure only perpetuates the stereotype of a preachy vegan. I am so far from perfect. It’s not about me. I just want us to stop hurting animals. -John