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In conversation with Mr. Seb Alex, an animal liberation activist

BY Mytheast
JULY 15, 2020

(1) What do animal rights mean to you? What inspired you to become an animal liberation activist?

Every single second, 84 thousand animals are killed by humans for food, clothing, experimentation and other reasons. This sums up to 2.7 trillion animals a year, a number the human brain cannot even comprehend. The reason why this happens is because of how we look at animals: commodities, objects, resources, things. Not individuals who have the right to life, safety and autonomy. Animal rights can change that once accepted by the public and any governing organization. Unlike how we have been living and what we have been taught, animals are not here for us to eat, wear, experiment on, or exploit. They are here for their own reasons, just as we are for ours.

A year after having gone vegan, I saw photos of activists raising awareness about animal rights in London, I quickly checked if there are any groups in my area. After making a few posts on Facebook, I started getting active as well.

The immense suffering of the animals that are exploited and killed fuels my activism and helps me always keep pushing forward.

(2) We know that you have given many speeches or lectures about animal or sustainability issues in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Portugal. What motivated you to give speeches or lectures around the world?

Around a year and a half ago, after filming the slaughter of cows on the kill-floor of a slaughterhouse and sharing it online, I received a message from a student who asked me if I would be interested in giving a speech in their university. I believe, Malcolm X had said, that “Education is the passport to the future”, and I could not imagine a better opportunity than being able to give speeches to university students. I wondered if I can make a bigger project out of this and asked on my social media platforms who is interested in organizing one at their educational institution (school, college, university, etc.). All they have to do is decide the date, time and place and as my activism is funded by donations, they do not need to worry about any expenses whatsoever. This resulted in giving speeches in 33 universities and schools in many European countries and 45 more invitations from around the world.

(3) How do you promote animal rights in your daily life? What have you found to be some of the most effective ways of promoting animal rights?

From my own experience, lectures/speeches have so far shown to be one of the most effective ways of promoting animal rights. As I gather anonymous feedback from each lecture, I have seen the results myself and it really motivates me to do this whenever I can. However, there is no “one” perfect way of promoting animal rights. I believe using social media and even non-violent civil disobedience events are extremely powerful as well.

In my daily life, if it is not during a period of giving lectures or speeches, I promote animal rights on my social media platforms.

(4) What is your biggest challenge to promote animal rights? How do you handle it?

I would say the biggest challenge so far is still being a part of a very small group of humans who are ready to get active for the animals and their rights. Although veganism is growing very fast, we have to keep in mind that it is still a relatively small part of the world population that are animal rights activists. The way I handle this is by introducing the importance of activism in my lectures to make sure people not only go vegan, but also become active, and providing workshops to vegans and activists in order to better our advocacy.

(5) Are your family and friends supportive of what you are doing now?

I have the privilege to come from a family where no member is against veganism or animal rights. In fact, both of my parents are now vegan. As a result, I have the full support of my family. Most of my friends are animal rights activists. I have lost very few friendships for what I do, but we have to keep in mind that we do not do this for us, we do it for the animals.

(6) What are your hobbies and passions outside of promoting animal rights?

Snowboarding and skateboarding, although I have not had the time to enjoy either of them during the past couple of years. However, I do enjoy photography a lot and I sometimes take a few hours off every few months to take some photos on the streets or in nature.

(7) How would you suggest people get involved with what you do?

Find what you are good at and use that to promote animal rights. You do not have to do what I do, you do not have to do anything another activist is doing. We all have our own unique ways of contributing to this cause and all of our activism types matter and are needed. From street activism, to social media, to cooking, to lectures or other events, only you know what you are best at. My only suggestion is to never step back and always speak up.

(8) Do you have any other words for us?

Always stand against oppression and remember that no matter what difficulties you may face, you are doing the right thing.

Educate yourself about animal rights, go out there and start changing world!

(1)動物權利對您而言有何意義?是甚麼令您成為動物解放運動家?

由於製造食物、衣物、進行實驗和其他原因,人類每秒殺死84,000多隻動物。每年總共有27,000億隻動物因上述原因死亡,這是人類難以想像的數量。發生上述情況的原因是我們視動物為商品、工具、資源和死物,而非擁有生存、免於被傷害及統治的權利的個體。只要公眾和任何管治團體接納及認同動物權利,便可以改變以上狀況。動物並非生來供我們吃用、穿戴、進行實驗或剝削,這概念與我們過去的生活模式和一直被灌輸的價值觀不同。牠們應該為自己而活,就像我們為自己而活一樣。

在我養成素食習慣一年後,我看到社運人士在倫敦舉行運動以鼓勵人們關注動物權利的照片,我馬上查看我身處的地區是否有任何相關組織。在Facebook上發了幾篇帖子後,我也開始在推動動物權利上活躍起來。

動物因被剝削和殺死而受的巨大痛苦進一步增強我在這方面的積極性,令我不斷前進。

(2)我們知道您在德國、瑞士、比利時、荷蘭、葡萄牙就動物或可持續性議題舉辦了多場演講或講座。是甚麼促使您在世界各地積極發聲?

大約一年半前,我在網絡分享於屠宰場拍攝的牛隻屠宰過程的影片後收到一位學生的訊息,他詢問我是否有興趣在其大學發表演講。我相信Malcolm X的一句說話:「教育是通往未來的通行證」,而我想不到比向大學生演講更好的方法。隨後我認為或許可以以此為基礎去舉辦一場更大規模的演講會,繼而我在我的社交媒體上詢問誰有興趣讓我在其教育機構(不同的學校、院校及大學等)進行演講,他們所需要做的就是跟我確定日期、時間和地點。由於我的活動是由他人捐贈資助的,因此他們無需擔心任何費用問題,我隨後也接獲來自歐洲多個國家的33所大學和院校及45個來自世界各地的演講邀請。

(3)您如何在日常生活中推動動物權利?您認為推動動物權利的最有效方法是甚麼?

根據我的經驗,演講或講座是目前推動動物權利的最有效方法之一。透過從每場講座中收集到的匿名意見,我親眼目睹成果,這亦鼓勵我盡我所能繼續做。但是,世上沒有推動動物權利的完美方法。我相信使用社交媒體甚至非暴力的公民抗命運動也非常有效。

除了演講或講座,我於日常生活中也會在自己的社交媒體上宣傳動物權利。

(4)推動動物權利的最大挑戰是甚麼?您如何處理?

我認為,迄今為止最大的挑戰仍是只有一小部份人願意為動物及其權利而行動。儘管素食主義的發展非常迅速,但我們必須明白,動物權利運動家在素食主義者中仍只屬少數。我的解決方法是在演講中解釋行動主義的重要性,告訴人們不僅要進行素食,而且要在推動動物權利上變得活躍。我也為素食主義者和行動主義者舉辦研討會,以更好地推廣我們的思想。

(5)您的家人和朋友是否支持您現在的工作?

我有幸來自不反對素食或動物權利的家庭。實際上,我的父母現在都是素食主義者,因此我得到了家人的全力支持。我的大多數朋友都是動物權利運動家。我現時所做的使我失去了少部份朋友,但是我們要注意,這是為動物而非我們而做。

(6)您在促進動物權利之外的嗜好和興趣是甚麼?

我喜歡單板滑雪和滑板運動,儘管我過去幾年沒有時間享受以上任何一項運動。但是我非常喜歡攝影,我每隔幾個月會騰出數小時在大街或大自然中拍照。

(7)您如何建議人們參與您現時的工作?

找出你的專長,並用它來推動動物權利。你不必做我或其他運動人士正在做的事情。我們都有自己的方式為這事業作出貢獻,每種行動主義都很重要而且是必需的。只有你了解自己最擅長的領域,即使在街頭活動、社交媒體、烹飪、演講或其他領域亦無一不可。我唯一的建議是永不退縮,要持續發聲。

(8)您還有其他話想對我們說嗎?

縱使面對壓迫仍要一直堅持,無論遇到甚麼困難,你都要堅信自己在做正確的事。

時刻反思動物權利的真諦,衝出去改變世界! 

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