Adovcacy: Anonymous for the Voiceless to demonstrate for animals
Anonymous for the Voiceless "Cube of Truth"
Friday, Aug. 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Outside Mondo Vegan,
20 Church St.
Anonymous for the Voiceless Montclair
By GWEN OREL
Dianna Roa doesn’t hate you if you eat meat.
The 30-year-old vegan has three cats, and they have to eat at least a partial meat diet.
And her family still eats meat.
But she does want you to think about it.
Roa spoke to us from Goats for Anarchy in Hampton, New Jersey, where she volunteers to help goats, especially disabled goats that have neurological conditions or who are in a wheelchair.
A lot of places that say they are “free-range” and “cage free” still abuse animals, she says.
That’s one reason she and other organizers from Anonymous for the Voiceless are holding an event on Church Street on Friday, Aug. 16, that they call a “cube of truth.”
It is the first event of the Montclair chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless, an animal-rights street-activism organization founded in Australia in 2016. The Montclair group held a trial run cube of truth a few months ago, before forming officially, and 40 people showed up, Roa said.
The “anonymous” in the group’s name comes from the fact that members wear masks when holding demonstrations. The “voiceless” are the animals that cannot speak for themselves.
“I believe Montclair already has a kind of mindset that is open-minded,” Roa said. “People are conscious of the environment, and of health.”
A cube of truth is really a group of people standing together in a square formation. Each side of the square has a monitor, on which is screened footage: of the fur industry, the leather industry, horse racing, dog racing.
“Masks make it more comfortable for people to watch it, for whatever reason,” Roa said. “You’d think masks would be intimidating, but it’s the opposite.”
People will walk up closer to see the footage, and start a conversation. The demonstrators do not play audio: it would be too disturbing, Roa said. And the demonstration will not be on top of the restaurants, so businesses are not disrupted.
When someone walks up, a volunteer who’s not wearing a mask will ask if they’ve seen the footage before, how they are feeling, and whether they have any questions about what they have seen.
“It’s conversation-based,” she explained. “The ultimate goal is to help that person come to the conclusion that we are paying for this abuse to animals. These industries exist because people make money off of paying for it.
“We help the general public realize that.”
Being conversation-based is better than merely giving someone a leaflet that they then throw away, Roa said. She’s been involved with Anonymous for the Voiceless only for a few months. Interested people can sign up to help or join on the spot. The organization plans to do these events once a month.
And yes, Anonymous for the Voiceless does want people to give being vegan a try. People do not need animal products to live and thrive, she said.
Roa has been a vegan for about five years, and was a pescatarian before that. “I really didn’t miss meat. Maybe for a month, then the addiction of meat wore off. I craved it for a little bit, then stopped. I used to miss pizza, but lately all these amazing brands of cheese are coming out that are vegan. Now I can eat pizza again! It’s like the ‘year of the vegan’ coming out,” she said with a laugh.
Even good baking is possible without butter and eggs: “My wedding cake was all vegan and people loved it.”
She will talk to anyone, especially those who say they love animals but still consume animal products. For some people, what they really love are pets, not animals, she said.
Anonymous shows footage of places that claim they are free range, “and make people feel better about buying animal products.” At some companies, activists get jobs just to get that footage. People would be surprised at the extreme abuse by companies that call themselves humane, she said: “There is no such thing as humane slaughter. These are all just trigger words to make us feel better.”
When Roa used to eat meat, she bought into the “humane” word too, and felt guilty if a piece of meat went bad in her refrigerator. “A living thing was killed for me to consume it, and I wasted its body,” she said.
She still has meat-eating family and friends, including a friend who works in a laboratory that does animal testing.
“I don’t lecture them about it when they talk about it. When people see I’m doing so good and I’m healthy, they start asking questions,” she said. “The tipping point for me was realizing I could get everything I needed in a plant-based diet.
“Nothing tasted good enough to be worthy of something dying for it.”