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Animal Rights Activists

July 20, 2009

Today, I had the unique pleasure of covering an animal rights rally for UCLA Today. They were all meeting up in Westwood after attending a national Animal Rights conference to march through UCLA — the home of many doctors who “mercilessly” and “ruthlessly” practice “animal testing”.

“Shame, shame, shame on you” and “the blood is on your hands” were among the chants voiced by a number of the activists, and I was among them, silent, pad and paper in hand, simply watching.

I learned the hard way that simply standing by and watching at a thing like this is much more difficult than it seems.

First of all, these animal rights people are incredibly confrontational. They are extremely zealous as well. When you put those two traits together, its a recipe for disaster.

Second of all, these people are unbelieveably stubborn. If you attempt to talk reasonably with them, you will only be met with overwhelming anger, screams and BO. Did I mention that these people rarely shower?

I refer to them as “these people” because they are their own particular brand of human. Loud, angry, unhygenic and obstinate, they scream their beliefs at the top of their lungs to anyone that will listen, and show their feelings and ideologies through their appearance and fashion choices. You can usually spot a vegan animal-lover from a mile away from the dreads, the baggy pants and the open-toed sandals.

I had several experiences today that culminated in a large yelling fiasco which basically gives me free range to say whatever I want about these people. I am lucky to be alive.

The first instance occurred when I was standing out in front of the hospital that all of the activists were screaming words of hatred at. Doctors who practice animal testing work in there, and I’m guessing that the activists thought that if they yelled loud enought at them, that they would somehow break open all of the cages and the animals would once again roam free. unfortunately, that didnt happen. As I stood out there minding my own business, a droopy eyed woman with unusually high pants walked up to me. She asked me,

“Are you with us or with them?”

A bit confused, I asked,

“Excuse me?”

She replied,

“You can hear them screaming, you know. I heard it. You have no soul simply stand there and let this go on.”

And I, feeling a bit awkward, simply inched backward, saying, “I’m sorry…”

That was awkward moment number one.

Number two. Once again, I was walking along side of the significant rally — about 75 angered vegans showed up — and all of a sudden, a very large woman noticed that I was not screaming uncontrollably along with the rest of the people. She saw an opportunity to be unreasonable — and she seized it.

“Why aren’t you yelling?” she asked me, becoming very heated.

“Um..” i said, for lack of better words.

“What are you doing here if you’re not an animal lover? Do you condone the torturing of animals? Don’t taint our rally if you don’t love animals!”

More of the activists started noticing, mostly because of the level of this large woman’s voice, and I had to think quickly.

“I really love animals,” I said. And I quickly walked away. I should have just left after that. I should have known how lucky I was to get away from that woman once…little did I know that she would come back to haunt me later.

At the end of the rally, when the activists were finally dispersing, the woman spotted me again. She started pointing her finger at me and walking towar me.

I immediatley started freaking out silently to myself, thinking, “No, this cant possibly be happening. She wont do anything, calm down, Emilia.”

But she continued toward me, and started screaming shrilly, “You murderer! You selfish bitch! Imagine if it was YOUR child locked in a cage with bolts in his back and neck! The blood is on YOUR hands!”

And she kept going and going. Her comrades joined in as well, pointing, yelling — at me!

They were so filled with hatred, and I had no idea what I did to deserve this! What do they think? Just because I am not participating in their rally or a die-hard vegan that I actively practice animal torture in my spare time? Do they think that because I am abstaining from their insanity that I love to kill animals? That its my hobby?

These were the thoughts racing through my mind as these crazies were yelling at me. I simply kept on looking behind me, hoping to find something else that they could have been pointing at, but I searched in vain. I had to endure the torture they were inflicting on me. Women pointing at pictures of mutilated bunny rabbits, insinuating that I was the cause of such ugliness. People pointing at me screaming profanities and unfounded, insane accusations. By the end, I felt like the Hitler of all furry creatures, and I have never had anything to do with this sort of thing.

When they had finally run out of steam, they walked away, and so did I. They were still angry, but I was newly angry. Those people did more to hurt their cause today than help it. I don’t hate animals, but I sure as hell hate them.

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