Many people describe me and other animal rights activists as extremists, but we know that torturing animals for food, clothes and entertainment is far more extreme than working to help them.
In 2004, I watched a video narrated by Alec Baldwin called Meet Your Meat. It was 12 minutes of footage taken inside of the farms and slaughterhouses where pigs, chickens, beef cows, dairy cows and egg-laying hens are raised and killed. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How was it possible that I wasn’t aware of the fact that animals who we eat are caged, confined, mutilated, neglected and deprived of everything that makes life worth living before they were brutally slaughtered? How was it possible that I never connected the dots between my companion animals and the animals on my plate? My life was never the same after seeing that video. I knew at that moment that I would spend the rest of my life being a voice for animals – all of whom deserve to be treated with kindness and all of whom deserve to live.
I embarked on my first major animal rights project in 2006 — a documentary film about New York City’s controversial horse-drawn carriage trade. BLINDERs aired on the Documentary Channel in 2008 and was screened at film festivals nationwide. Today, it continues to be used as a tool by activists around the world who are working to eliminate inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriages in congested urban areas.
My current grass roots project is leading the effort to compel the New York Blood Center to reinstate funding for 66 chimps who the organization abandoned on islands in Liberia with no food or water after experimenting on them for 30 years.
I started an online animal rights magazine called TheirTurn with video and print news stories, commentary and calls to action. At TheirTurn, we circumvent the mainstream media blackout on humane issues by producing and distributing provocative stories and targeting them to relevant audiences on social media. Many of our stories have gone viral and have helped people make the transition to a plant-based diet and cruelty-free lifestyle.
The industries that exploit animals for profit go to extreme lengths to hide the abuses from the public, but, thanks to the work of activists who have taken footage inside of these businesses, the truth is out. Now we know that, regardless of what the labels state, there is no humane way to raise animals for food in modern-day society, and there’s no humane way to kill animals who want to live. With all of the plant-based alternatives now available at grocery stores worldwide, there is simply no excuse to continue eating animals and their by-products.
If you enjoyed Donny’s message, check out his site Their Turn.