You may recall this story from back in October when a parent in Florida had the action figures from the show, Breaking Bad, pulled from Toys “R” Us shelves after starting an online petition because she felt selling figurines of a drug kingpin in a toy store, complete with a bag of methamphetamines as an accessory, was, “a deviation from their family-friendly values”. While that last phrase made my eyes roll even harder than the first time I read it, I do see her point – to a point. I find it somewhat hilarious that the dozens of action figures sold on those same shelves that come with gun accessories aren’t also a deviation from “family-friendly values” but oh god, a bag of drugs!! Pull that shit immediately!
But I digress. The point is ONE person made ONE request, started ONE petition and voila! Wish granted! The company pulled the toys in less than a week from their stores and their website. Oh lady. Try campaigning on behalf of animals some time – your hair will turn grey just waiting for an acknowledgment much less any action.
Then this week, Hallmark pulled some wrapping paper from their stores and their online shopping site after a woman complained that the paper resembled a swastika-like pattern in the design:
Apparently the gift wrap was featured in a Walgreen’s Hanukkah display and if you turn it sideways there’s a swastika symbol that also represents a sacred symbol in Hinduism and Jainism and…..I don’t fucking know. The only pattern I could see was of those mazes I used to do as a kid that came on the back of cereal boxes.
But again, the point is: one woman, one complaint, BOOM. Done. Removed. Taken away, never to offend her moral sensibilities again.
Oh were it that easy for the vegans.
Living in a democratic society where everyone has the right to protest and rally whenever their rights are compromised is a precious freedom that I would never want to take away from anyone, even if I don’t see their side at all. That said, as a vegan and a person who believes in the rights of animals, I am literally offended every single day. Especially as a consumer.
I’m offended when I walk by The Works Burger restaurant and they have a sign out front with a drawing of a smiling pig on it with wings that says, “Our bacon burger proves that pigs can fly.” I’m offended when I walk into a clothing store and am hard-pressed to find a winter clothing item that doesn’t contain duck or goose down, leather, fur or wool. I am offended when I go to the grocery store and see rows and rows of dead animal parts in the display case, further insulting me with labels like “free-range” and “grass-fed” as if that were an actual consideration to the animals whose ultimate destination is still a slaughterhouse. I’m offended by the idyllic country farms drawn on cartons of eggs when I know that is the exact opposite of the actual conditions in which the female chickens are forced to lay them.
Animals killed for food every year are in the billions. Animal activists drawing attention to this are in the millions. Current online petitions for animal rights are in the thousands. My beliefs and sensibilities as they relate to animals are personally insulted on dozens of occasions every day. And yet….it’s crickets when vegan consumers are offended. Corporations could give two shits about our dollars. They couldn’t care less about what offends us because they don’t consider us to be their customer in the first place. We’re not even the baby they want to hold for a photo-op during an election campaign. In their minds, we can’t do anything to make them more profitable so what’s the point of even acknowledging our existence?
Maybe I should start telling stores I’m seeing upside down crosses in the meat aisle or Stalin in the dairy case. If I make my values about family and religion instead of ethics, do you think they’d start to pull that shit down?