“Daddy, what are they writing?”
There was silence as I could tell her father was reading the words written in colourful chalk around the McDonald’s they were just inside of. Messages saying ‘Compassion for all beings’ and ‘if you love animals why eat them?’ inspired an instant defensiveness within him as he raised his cheese burger to the people causing him such offence. “Cows are delicious! Kill all the cows!” he laughed whilst ignoring his young daughter’s question and causing an onlooking group of teenagers to laugh.
The day before, an anonymous vegan activist known as ‘Vegan Revolution‘ chalked the original message, ‘have a happier meal – be vegan’ outside of the McDonald’s in Norwich, Haymarket in England. McDonald’s management seemingly felt threatened by this and chose to erase the message by any means necessary, believing it would disrupt their business of selling dismembered animals. Vegan Revolution stated he then laid across his work to defend it, only to have a bucket of water dumped over him by a member of McDonald’s staff in front of an audience of shoppers on the busy Friday afternoon. By 3pm the next day 30+ vegans arrived armed with chalk and water pistols as horrified McDonald’s staff looked on as the entire Haymarket area was covered with messages of compassion within minutes. “Remember me?” Vegan Revolution said as management swiftly called upon police.
Upon arriving, police saw that nothing illegal was occurring but were called back multiple times by the restaurant. “Can’t they spend their time fighting actual crime?” an elderly gentleman muttered as he passed the colourful scene.
There was a mixture of reactions from the public, but activists were prepared with flyers explaining the concept of not contributing to the exploitation of others (veganism) and happily spent time answering people’s questions. Protesters shared not only the story of why they were there, but why animal agriculture is a threat to our environment and what vegans actually eat. “My daughter has recently gone vegan” said one woman, confiding in activist sisters Jo (Zucchinisaurus on Twitter) and Rie Green, and went on to explain how their whole family has gone vegan to avoid having to cook separate meals and how they were enjoying trying new foods. Vegan personal trainer Paul Kerton, AKA ‘Hench Herbiviore‘ vlogged the event whilst recruiting a few potential new members to the local group Norwich Vegans, who meet at least once a month to socialise. Meanwhile, the peaceful protest has since reached the local news, making the even a huge success in terms of raising awareness to the general public that funding unnecessary animal abuse is not the only option.
Vegans came to the mass chalking protest from as far as Brighton and even Liverpool to show solidarity and many brought their children to have fun writing messages of compassion in chalk. Gemma from the YouTube channel ‘Finding Gemma‘ said “I think this is the best day of my life. So many people came and [there are] even people getting involved who aren’t vegan.” YouTuber Michael Goodchild AKA ‘The Vegan Activist‘ added “It just gives me a lot of hope. If this can happen here, it can happen everywhere”
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