Neither the chilling wind nor the drizzling rain could stop a group of thirty people from gathering on January 9 at the Mont-Royal metro station, where an anti-speciesist vigil was held. Organized by the Montreal animal rights group Résistance Animale, the vigil aimed to promote veganism and raise awareness about animal cruelty and negligence in all of their forms.
Résistance Animale is a non-hierarchical collective whose main objective is to increase awareness about veganism while working to abolish speciesism, the belief that other animal species are inferior to human beings and that they can be used for the benefit of people without regard for their suffering.
As stated in French in the description on its Facebook page, the organization is also supportive of movements that fight against various forms of oppression and discrimination, such as sexism, racism, homophobia, and fascism.
“We had to go further to defend animals, of course, but not just cats and dogs.”
Speaking to The Daily in French, Daniel Roy, the organizer of the vigil, said, “In the beginning, I thought that an organization needed to be created, which would come to be Résistance Animale, because we had to go further to defend animals, of course, but not just cats and dogs.”
Beside a table full of informational materials, people held signs and pickets, saying “Ce n’est pas de la nourriture, c’est de la violence” (“This is not food, this is violence”), and “Mettez fin au spécisme, go végane” (“End speciesism, go vegan”). Some of the signs included photos of various animals in captivity.
Reginald Beauchamp, a participant at the vigil, told The Daily in French, “[The atmosphere] was wonderful. We had lots of people. People who passed by were really sympathetic. They smiled and asked us questions, which stimulated growth [of the crowd].”
“There are lots of people who come [to one event], then [come] back and tell me, ‘Well, I became vegan.’”
Marie-Joie Renaud, another participant, agreed. “It’s always a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere,” Renaud said.
Speaking on the importance of organizing such events, Roy said, “For me they’re important for raising awareness. […] They open people’s minds. And there are lots of people who come [to one event], then [come] back and tell me, ‘Well, I became vegan.’”
Asked why he attended the event, Beauchamp responded, “To raise awareness amongst people about speciesism, so that people finally understand that animals are not objects, they’re not here to serve us. They’re just like us. We’re all living beings together.”
Beauchamp also said, “Cows are raped every year and artificially inseminated, and next we steal their babies and we steal their milk and when they start to produce less milk around the age of four, we send them to the slaughterhouse. […] Cows normally live 25, 30 years, but they live [only] around four years because of this.”
“Cows normally live 25, 30 years, but they live [only] around four years because of this.”
According to Animal Defenders International (ADI), cattle raised for beef are sent to slaughter even earlier than dairy cows, at 10 to 12 months of age. Furthermore, ADI explains that cows usually “lactate for around ten to thirteen months after they have given birth. The cows are therefore re-impregnated approximately 60 days after giving birth to continue the cycle of milk production.”
Discussing the vegan movement in Montreal, Renaud said, “I’m a little discouraged that [the number of vegans is] such a small percentage. […] It happens one by one – one person at a time becomes aware.”
Roy noted, “I find that it’s in the process of development. […] But raising awareness [… is] a lot of work, like we’re doing presently.”
According to Roy, Résistance Animale will organize similar events every three weeks. Their next one is scheduled for February 6 in the same location, in front of the Mont-Royal metro station.