End Species Exploitation: Taipei Joins the Third Annual Animal Rights March

End Species Exploitation: Taipei Joins the Third Annual Animal Rights March
Photo Credit: Yang Hsu

What you need to know

Vegan activists in Taipei participate in the third annual Animal Rights March, raising awareness of animal cruelty in Taiwan.

As the conversation surrounding climate change climaxed in Taipei with the Global Climate Strike on September 27, vegan activists were not far behind as the third annual Animal Rights March took place the following day and shared the former’s adverse rain conditions.

The march organizer Jack Chang estimated around 130 marchers braved the heavy rainfall Saturday afternoon to take to the streets of Ximen. Activists and protesters arrived ahead of the 3 p.m. march schedule to put on face paint and temporary tattoos.

Colorful signs with slogans like “Protecting animals and loving the earth starts with diet” and “Animals are not food. Go Vegan” alongside cheekier iterations like “Leave my tits alone!” next to the graphic of a dairy cow were abundant as marchers navigated the streets of bustling Ximending.

Photo Credit: Yang Hsu
Animal rights activists march through the streets of Ximending on Saturday, September 28, 2019

In a marked departure from the previous year’s march, which saw the most high-value production with a full stage and musical acts, as well as celebrity appearances, organizers went with a more grassroots approach this year by co-opting a wooden park bench for a soapbox for activist speeches.

“We have something precious that others don’t: the truth,” vegan activist Cara Hsu said passionately during a speech. “If even those of us that know the truth don’t step up and speak out, then who can we really rely on?”

Unlike marches from previous years, which were also organized by vegan activists, this year’s march promoted a vegan lifestyle that eschews the use of all animal products. Veganism is rising in popularity globally with the belief that it is unethical to manipulate non-human species for personal or economic gain, but it has yet to catch on among general consumers in Taiwan. It is still a relatively new concept that closely ties into that of animal rights, which most Taiwanese still associate primarily with stray animals or wildlife.

In addition to hosting the annual Animal Rights March in Taipei, Chang also runs the Taiwan branches of Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) and Save Movement. AV is a global movement that “specializes in educating the public on animal exploitation and fostering highly effective activism communities worldwide,” whereas the Save Movement holds vigils for animals as they go to slaughter, an action referred to as “bearing witness.”

Photo Credit: Yang Hsu

In Taiwan, these slaughtered animals are mostly pigs as traditional Taiwanese cuisine is heavy with pork. Chang was inspired when he came in contact with these animal rights movements in Australia and decided to bring the initiatives back to Taiwan. Though currently residing in Taichung, Chang makes weekly trips to Taipei to promote the movements in the capital city.

The protesters in Taipei indicated concern for animal rights and planetary preservation. A report released earlier this year by the UN Interdepartmental Panel on Climate Change declared that switching to a plant-based diet can significantly reduce carbon emissions and curb global warming.

The march this year was coordinated in conjunction with Surge Activism, a London-based non-profit which organizes The Official Animal Rights March, a global affair that takes place around August every year. Organizers in Taiwan petitioned and received permission for a later march in consideration of the scorching subtropical heat.

A total of 43 cities from 31 countries participated this year, including the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States., Germany, Mexico, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic, and other countries in Central America. According to the global march organizer, there was a marked increase in Asia’s participation by way of Japan (Osaka), the Philippines (Manila), South Korea (Seoul), and Nepal.

Disclaimer: The author served as international liaison for The Official Animal Rights March Taipei, and was responsible for initial contact with Surge activism applying for Taiwan participation.

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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)

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