Why Occupy Wall Street includes the fight for animal welfare

When the Occupy Wall Street protests began to thrive in the US and around the world, frequent commentary on lack of focus or specific demands seem to litter the media.  But the more I watched and waited,  I began to realize this movement has never been out of focus, it’s just too big for our current lens.

Some realization came while watching a compelling commentary by a literature graduate student in NY regarding his efforts to establish a library at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations (see YouTube).  He knew that his efforts to simply provide knowledge was a protest in itself.

This is equally true with the issue of animal welfare.  Once people are aware of animal cruelty and torture — particularly in the case of farm animals —  no matter how gruesome the reality may be, the knowledge of the issue allows us the option to forgo participation in a cruel system, and often easily disarm the problem by economic participation in the alternatives.

But this isn’t breaking news….

As was so eloquently reported by One Green Planet and effectively detailed in this article by the Animal Legal Defense Fund,  the ‘Occupy’ movement has included the welfare of animals as a justifiable demand on the reform of, not just corporate America, but America in general.

From vegan-ism to banning pet stores sales, our struggle to stop the cruel and horrific treatment of farm, wild and companion animals has often glided  along side other issues of  inflation, pesticide use, heart disease and environmental degradation — or so we may have thought.

But, as it turns out, we are not alone — whether meat eater, farmer, feral cat rescuer, hunter or conservation biologist, none of us wants the cruel treatment of animals, just like none of us wants to be controlled by corporations exhibiting  greed, inequality and illegal or abusive action.

So I find it very natural that Occupy protests include the demand for corporations to end the cruel, industrialized and institutionalized  treatment of animals.  This demand is no longer too big to be considered for mass reform. In fact at this point, improving welfare for animals in all situations, is practically a simple first step.

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