Yesterday, I joined my first ever anti-bullfighting protest in the South of France (Rodhilan, near Nimes and Montpellier) and I had my first taste of what it is to get “lacrymogene” gas (aka tear gas) in the face (several times). I haven’t met such a group of dedicated people so determined to break the barriers held by the police and take the risk of arrests, gassing, being searched, etc… ever. I was searched myself twice and tear gassed at least 4 times. It was truly inspiring. Getting tear gassed is a very unpleasant experience and anyone who has had that kind of experience knows that this is something you would rather avoid. However, anyone who is truly dedicated at making clear the barbarism and perversity of some people can’t avoid taking risks sooner or later.
Some of my (new) friends in fact, had got into an arena the day before in another city and got bit up and yelled obscenities at by “aficionados” (bullfighting fans) because they dared trying to interrupt their sadistic torture of sentient beings to death. My heart goes out not only to the poor animals who were tortured to death (and absolutely for nothing at all as the law in France forbids the consumption of bull meat if killed for bullfighting) but also to the activists who risked literally their lives. Some ended up at the Emergency Room.
I have not been in that situation myself but I am not afraid of taking risks for the right reasons. It is a small price to pay to try to open up the eyes of the blinds, brainwashed crowds. I am principally a vegan educator and found out that for a lot of activists in France, it is rather difficult to maintain a Vegan lifestyle. I don’t judge them. I understand their position. I have managed personally because of my long term experience in the United States where everything is easier. Had I never left France, I might not even be Vegan at all now, I’m almost certain of it. There is still a deep programming related to food in France because of our deep culture in and around the world for our “cuisine”. In America, people tend to eat whatever they feel like. In France, they eat around very specific, deeply engrained and old traditions around food and that are a lot harder to change. But I also met people who are dedicated vegans and are doing the best they can (as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau would say).
I can’t wait for The World Peace Diet to come out in the libraries in French soon (and it’s coming!) because my aim is going to be promoting Veganism to the best of my abilities. This is a country that is what America was in the 90’s when it comes to Veganism but I see no reason why this can’t change and I see real hope for change from having talked with various activists.
After the demo was over, I spend the evening with a few people in a place which is very much like a sanctuary with horses, goats, etc and it was wonderful to see and share my experience in the United States with them. They have a huge thirst for more education and activism here and they even grow their own organic fruits. One was cooking vegan sausages! which, yes, you can definitely find here if you know where.
There are dedicated activists here but not all of them have yet connected all the dots or are still deeply indoctrinated into nutritional myths around food (even more so than Americans). Vegan education is therefore deeply important here.
To all my new friends and old friends alike (in the US), have faith in the ability of people everywhere to change and grow. I do.
Here is the link to the album of pictures of yesterday’s Anti-Bullfighting fight. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152520843218138&type=1&l=e59458e664