The Mission behind the Mask: Activists Take to the Street to Defend Animal Rights

Anonymous for the Voiceless: Photo by Renee Taylor

By Renee Taylor

08/09/2018

In Providence Rhode Island, a passerby attending a concert at the Alchemy night club gives a quick glance to a small group of people wearing what is known as a Guy Fawkes mask, named for a 17th century Briton who  attempted to bomb the House of Lords. The masks are simple but arguably a bit intimidating in appearance. The face is painted white, with a mustache, two small eye holes, and is wearing a grin. As they wear their masks they stand together in a cube like formation, holding signs; their laptops are seen playing videos that many would find disturbing.  Cee Louise, an emergency room nurse, has been organizing these events for about a year in Rhode Island and has also participated in several Boston displays.

“We are here today doing an educational outreach with a group called Anonymous for the Voiceless,” said Louise. “We’re here to teach the public about the atrocities behind animal agriculture.”

Behind Louise,  four people wearing the masks stood in what she called  “the cube of truth.” Two were holding laptops, and the other two had a sign that said “TRUTH.”

Mike Joseph, one of the activists, removed his mask briefly to explain why he was participating in the event.

I’m here today to give the animals a voice, and to explain why I am vegan,” said Joseph. “I’m vegan for the animals and the environment and I think it’s such an unjust the way that we treat animals, and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Joseph explains why he thinks others should consider going vegan.

Louise explained that she was not wearing a mask because she was considered one of the speakers for this group. She said it was her responsibility to explain what was going on to any passersby who may want to know more.

“I feel like this is effective because people come up to us they want to know why we are here,” said Louise. “We are not confrontational, and we are a peaceful group. We’re here really educate the people that don’t know what goes on behind the doors of a slaughterhouse.”

Louise said that becoming a mother changed her perspective about eating animals, and a friend posting a meme related to animal suffering changed her life.

“She posted a meme of a mother cow hooked up to a pump, and her baby calf looking up at her for milk and couldn’t drink it,” said Louise. “It broke me.”

Louise explains in detail why she went vegan. 

Louise further explained how the dairy industry forcibly impregnates cows to produce milk for humans, taking their babies away. As an ER nurse, Louise said that she also did further research on nutrition, and concluded that the cons of drinking cow’s milk outweigh any of the benefits.

“I encourage people to find plant-based alternatives,” said Louise. As nurse, she said she asks her patients to think about their diets, and to make healthier food choices.

Louise explains how she encourages her patients to think about their diets. 

Louise isn’t the only one who has switched to plant-based milk these days. Plant-based milk has been gaining popularity over the past two years. A 52-week study conducted by Nielsen and  published by foodnavigator-usa.com, a food market analysis website, confirms that U.S retail demands of plant-based milk rose 20 percent overall as of June 16. Plant-based milk has seen an increase in sales by 8 percent in 2018, while cow’s milk sales have decreased in sales by 6 percent. The chart below demonstrates this data.

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US Plant-Based Milk Sales Study by Nielsen

Louise said she feels that being vegan is easy and that her young son is happy and healthy. She added the hardest part about being a vegan is being surrounded by people who do not understand.

Louise discusses the hardest part about being vegan.

It’s isolating, trying to fit in in different society norms is very difficult. All people want to do is small talk that means generally nothing,” said Louise. “Then when you want to talk about something important in life, and it’s the food we eat people don’t want to see that this is an important issue.”

Joseph agreed many people dismiss vegan activists because people are resistant toward the thought of changing their habits.  A lot people push back because we’re speaking the truth and a lot of times people do not want to hear the truth.,” said Joseph. “They get scared away because they don’t want to change.”

Activist Chip Brown said that as an animal lover becoming an activist was the only thing that made sense to him. After viewing slaughterhouse footage and doing further research on what animals go through prior to slaughter, Brown made the connection through his own love of dogs.

Brown explains his inspiration to become vegan. 

Brown said he tries to attend as many Anonymous for the Voiceless demonstrations as possible and is usually a speaker at these events.

During the event local pizzeria owner Sajo stopped to view the presentation. Sajo’s Gourmet Pizza is located within walking distance from the Alchemy.  Despite the music from the concert blaring loudly, Sajo could not take his eyes off one of the laptops that a masked activist was holding. He quickly became emotional, and then turned to the camera, asking to share his story.

“With people, they get into an argument one minute, and the next its over,” said Sajo. “With animals its different, its all love.”

To listen to Sajo’s full story, click the video above.

After Sajo finished telling his story, Louise asked him if he ever thought of turning his pizzeria entirely vegan. Sajo said he was “honestly thinking about it,” that he already has at least one vegan option on his menu, and wants to build upon it. Louise assured him that there would be plenty of supportive customers, and that she hopes to see the change in the near future. Shortly after Sajo thanked all the activists, and returned back to his restaurant.

All three activists interviewed feel that there are many vegan options out there, and that it’s easier than ever to make the transition to vegan diet.  The happycow.net website dedicated to helping people find vegan friendly dining options, shows there are currently 1,263 vegan restaurants within the United States. The map show the number of vegan restaurants in each state.

About Renee Taylor 6 Articles
Renée Taylor is a graduate student at Emerson College, about to obtain her MA in Journalism. Prior to this she also received her BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from the same institution. To complement her degrees, she has an AA in Theater & Liberal Studies from Dean College. Renee's passion is the arts, and is a writer at heart. She also has a deep love for animals, and cannot get through the day without a good cup of coffee in hand.