Rachel Elizabeth talks about her experience at the 2nd Annual Animal Rights March in London, organised by SURGE
This Saturday I brought traffic to a standstill because of my beliefs. I walked along empty roads escorted by police officers. It was awesome. I wasn’t alone though. No, I was one of 5000 vegans/animal rights believers who united for the 2nd Annual Animal Rights March organised by SURGE, which had double the attendance of the 2016 march. I had never done anything like this before. My first blog post described my first outreach event and now I was going to a demonstration in the capital. This vegan was getting active.
After driving south and taking the tube to Hyde Park Corner, I had arrived. Dressed in my vegan care bear t-shirt, I wish I had made a placard too. I already felt moved before I even got to the meeting place thanks to the sight of my fellow marchers who stood out on the tube with their face paint and placards; one stated that they wished that today meant something to somebody with a picture of a cow. I shared her sentiment. I also felt excited to be with people who saw the world as I did. The vegan bubble had engulfed me and we hadn’t even started marching yet.
At the meeting point I met up with a vegan Facebook friend, and through him I met the beautiful Amy Atkinson (Instagram: freedominthree) and her lovely anti speciesism sign. Knowing no-one else we decided to stick together. Thanks to her greater awareness of vegan personalities she pointed out Earthling Ed and Kyle Sullivan. It wasn’t until the speeches on parliament square that I realised I had walked next to Joey Carbstrong too! For two hours we slowly walked and chanted; the one that sticks in my head being “There’s no excuse for animal abuse!” We marched past the Ritz, Downing Street and a McDonald’s of course. I was keen to avoid photos at first (teachers don’t do stuff like this) but thanks to Amy we ended up at the front!! And I couldn’t have been more pleased.
After the inspiring speeches from people such as Earthling Ed, saying we should do more than just be vegan, I finally had to tear myself away from my vegan bubble to meet up with non vegan friends in Piccadilly, who surprised me by suggesting a visit to veggie restaurant, Mildred’s. Maybe the real world wasn’t so bad.
My friend asked me what the March was all about. I explained that it was to show unity and bring awareness; if one person makes a change because we stirred something inside them, then it was worth it. Now, I’m not one to follow groups usually but I loved being part of something and I’ll be part of it again next year on 25th August and this time I’ll be armed…with a placard. Now to make myself a better activist? Any ideas? Keep them legal please. I am a teacher after all.