If you want to see Rock & Roll at its finest then you go see the legendary Paul McCartney, if you want to see animal activism at its finest then you watch Vancouver animal-rights group, Liberation BC at work.
I guess it only made sense that these two would come together at some point, especially since Paul McCartney has been a vocal animal activist and vegetarian for decades. He’s even credited with the famous saying, ‘If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.’
As soon as it was announced that Sir Paul would be coming to Vancouver, Liberation BC starting making plans to ensure the night wasn’t only about music.
The 17 volunteers met before the concert to prepare to meet and greet as many of the 52,000 fans as possible and ensure that they couldn’t be ignored.
I’ve personally seen and participated in countless actions and leafleting but something about tonight seemed special. The energy was high and the mood was light with thousands of fans and media stations crowded around BC Place with a giant screen blasting images of Paul singing some of his classic songs.
Liberation BC came prepared with signs, leaflets, a cow costume, and most importantly smiles. The volunteers are some of the best in the city and know exactly how to convey their message to bystanders, media, or even skeptics without coming across as condescending, self righteous, or as an ‘extremists’. I’m telling you, every activist should watch them work.
It’s truly a fine art to engage someone on the cruelties of factory farming, gestation crates, veal, or foie gras while they’re inhaling a hot dog but somehow I saw them do it all night.
Rebecca Gindin-Clarke, the Research and Information Director of Liberation BC summed it up nicely:
Our signs, which featured different quotes from Paul McCartney about his vegetarian lifestyle, got a lot of attention. The biggest hit was definitely our two cows, though. People were hugging them and taking tons of photos.
Although many drunken fans may have just wanted a photo with a cow, it’s part of a long term strategy for the animal rights movement: the atrocities and consequences of a meat diet can’t be ignored. What makes Liberation’s strategy so appealing and effective is the element of fun. It immediately disarmed anyone walking by and dispels a common misconception that vegans are miserable and take themselves too seriously (which we can sometimes be guilty of if we haven’t had our soy latte). Simply put, I saw firsthand just how much your message resonates with people if you can ‘Make em laugh’.
Although it was just one night for the animals in what has been and will be a long fight for all species living together harmoniously, it was inspiring to see that we have some elite activists willing to work all night in a sweaty cow costume for the cause.
Find out more about Liberation BC’s work and upcoming events at www.liberationbc.org