Nine years ago, animal rights activist, Carl Scott, did his own voluntary lockdown for a month. Or rather, he locked himself up for a month. No, he wasn’t concerned about the possibility of an illness brought on by terrible human practises towards animals. His concern was about the terrible human practises themselves towards animals. Specifically, in this instance, caged battery hens. He chose State Highway 1 in Waikouaiti, where Mainland Poultry factory farming has an operation, to stage his very visible protest. For one month, on the side of the highway, Carl lived in a cage like factory hens do. He ate and slept there – it was his whole life and his whole world for a month. He only emerged to clean up the mess after some people egged him, to fix the tent after the ropes were cut, and to empty his toilet buckets. Perhaps an hour in total. Now with lockdown upon us, he has reflected back on that time –
“I was just looking in my diary and I realised…
It was 9 years ago yesterday, (the 29th of March 2011), that I began my month-long protest sitting in a cage on the side of SH1 in Waikouaiti.
Sure. That was a challenge. But it wasn’t nearly as hard as you might imagine. Well, I found it to be easier than I thought it would be anyway.
Any more than one month though, and it might have been quite a different story. I was definitely ready to get out and go home by day 31!
By comparison, a month or more in lockdown in my very comfortable home, with practically everything I could possibly need, will be a walk in the park!
I remember thinking, while I was in the cage, that people in prison, and people who are bedridden, must find those experiences pretty difficult.
There’s nothing like a bit of first-hand experience to help you develop a bit of empathy, eh?
I also had a life-changing epiphany moment about how truly horrific life for any animal confined to a cage must be.
It happened in day 6 of my vigil. Day 6! Not even quarter of the way into my month. But that’s a whole story in itself…….
But what I learned, is that variety is not the spice of life. It is an essential need. It is absolutely critical to our mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
Every person – including nonhuman persons (aka animals) – absolutely MUST HAVE novelty, variety, and stimulation.
I sincerely hope that being stuck at home for a few days, weeks, or months, will help some people join the dots.
That it will finally enable them to empathise with the utter misery and despair that is the awful plight of factory farmed and laboratory animals.
Imagine being in a cage day after day; week after week; month after month; and not knowing when, or even if, you are ever going to get out.
Imagine the boredom. The monotony. The sheer frustration. Every day the same. Every minute the same. On and on and on, without end.
And in case anyone wants to believe that free range farming is ok? Nope. Sorry. Don’t kid yourself.
I also came to realise, by watching the animals in the fields across the road from my cage, and other fenced-in animals I’ve observed since then, that all a paddock is, is a very large cage.
In the 3rd decade of the 21st century, there is literally no need to exploit animals.
In this technological and scientific era, we know now, with absolute certainty, that we can meet all of our needs in other ways.
And because there’s no need to exploit animals any more, there’s no legitimate excuse to do so.
It’s so simple a 3 year old child can understand it.
1: Suffering and Death are very bad things.
2: In this day and age, inflicting suffering and death on innocent animals is scientifically proven to be unnecessary, and even detrimental: to us, to them, and to the planet.
- Suffering and Killing + Unnecessary = Immoral.
- Eating meat, dairy, eggs, and fish is immoral. Wearing leather, wool, fur, silk, or feathers is immoral.
- Exploiting nonhumans for entertainment, or for any other reason, is immoral.
Animals matter. Their lives are important, and they deserve real and meaningful respect.
And so we must stop doing those things. All of those things. As individuals, as nations, and indeed, as a species.
The future is vegan. That future starts today, and it starts with each and every one of us.
Be on the right side of history. Do the right thing. Be vegan.”
Carl gives a guided tour of his cage.