Good evening and thank you for coming. My name is James, and I am the humane educator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
Now, I am typically giving this presentation to a high school classroom, so my audience is a little different. And I… Same level. We will find out. We will find out. So I pretty much know my audience. And I can pretty much can guarantee that 99% of the kids in the class re eating meat, dairy and eggs. And there might be one or two kids who are vegetarian. But it’s a very rare occasion where you’ll get a kid who is vegan.
When I speak to adults it’s a little different, you know, I don’t quite know my audience as well. So I want to get to know you. So here is what I want everybody to do. I want everybody to please stand up. All right, now, if you are vegan, meaning you choose not to eat any meat of the animal, no flesh of the animals, no cows, no chickens, no pigs, no turkey, and no fish, right surprise, surprise: fish is not a vegetable. No dairy, no cow’s milk, no cow cheese, no cow butter, no cow ice cream and no eggs, please have a seat.
So if you are a vegan, please have a seat. Okay. Now for the rest of you, you’ll have to remain standing for the rest of the presentation. All right, everybody have a seat.
There is another benefit of talking to high school kids. And that’s they are not afraid to participate in the presentation. They will say whatever is on their mind. Whether I like it or not. But with adults it’s a little bit harder, it’s like pulling teeth. Now this presentation is designed to be interactive, meaning I want you to actually participate. I want you to engage.
When you think about the presentation, it’s like a Rorschach test. I’ll show you a picture…and you… tell me what you see. All right. So the maturity level is the same as high school students’. It is a mushroom, people. All right.
How many of you have ever seen the movie “The Matrix”? All right, so more than half. For those who have not seen the movie “The Matrix”, there’s a scene in the very beginning of the film, where the main character is presented with two pills: One blue and one red. And he has to make a choice.
If he chooses the blue pill, he’ll fall asleep and when he wakes up, everything will be exactly the way it has always been. If he chooses the red pill, he will finally learn the truth. And I’m here today to give you that red pill. But let me make this very clear to you: I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m not here to tell you how to think, how to feel and I’m certainly not here to tell you what to eat. I am simply here to provide you with information. What you do with that information is solely up to you.
So what does the Matrix look like? Let me show you. Now, despite what you might be thinking these two circles are not equal. I repeat, these two circles are not equal. One is in fact larger than the other. What I need you to do, is to determine which one that is. So please raise your hand if you believe the blue circle is larger than the red. All right. Please raise your hand if you believe the red circle is larger than the blue. All right, very good.
Now, before I said anything about these two circles, what was your first instinct? Equal, right? Because they look equal. The reason they look equal is because they are in fact equal. These two circles are identical. You know, I just got almost everyone of you to raise your hand and say that they are not. So what do we learn? That you can be manipulated like that to believe in something that goes against your natural instincts.
Just imagine, just imagine as a child you are taught that the blue circle is larger than the red. If you say it enough times, you convince yourself that’s the truth. If you’re told the lie enough times, it becomes part of your reality. And if enough people were taught that lie, that the blue circle is larger than the red, then now it becomes part of the culture. And if that culture then passes that misinformation along to the next generation, now it becomes tradition.
And what we have to remember is that just because we have a tradition, it does not mean it is morally acceptable. Tradition and morality are not always the same. I mean can you think of any traditions that we once had in the United States of America that we no longer have? That today we think back and that was immoral? Slavery, right? Less than two hundred years ago. And that was a tradition. So the traditions we have today does not necessarily mean that they are morally acceptable. And as we evolve as a culture, so do our traditions.
Now, The Matrix is a story. It’s a story when told enough times to enough people it becomes a part of that culture. It becomes the tradition. And this story is being told over and over. Everyday. In fact, if you believe the image on the cartoon is where you are getting your milk from, you are deceiving yourself. This is a fantasy. It only exists in your head. It’s a blue pill fed to you by the industry to get you to buy their product. This is the Matrix, the lie we tell ourselves about where our food is coming from.
The reality is far more disturbing. 90% to 95% of the milk, the meat, and eggs that we consume in the United States are coming from these conditions. This is called factory farming. This is where you take thousands of hens, pigs, and cows and confine them into warehouses. In fact, every year in the U.S. 10 billion…Yes, 10 billion cows, pigs and chickens are being slaughtered for food. So what that works out to be is that every second in the U.S. 300 animals are killed. Just like that. So 300, 600, 900, 1200…By the time I am done talking today there’ll be over a million animals that have been slaughtered. And most of us do not even blink an eye and I mean how is it possible that in the United States of America, we can kill, we can slaughter 300 animals, every second, and not question that.
Because of the story we have been told. The story justifies the action. If you say it enough times, you actually convince yourself that’s the truth. And how many of you were told as a child you need to eat meat to get protein? I know I was.
How many of you were taught you need to drink cow’s milk to get strong bones? Not dog milk, not chimpanzee milk, not elephant milk, not rhino milk, not hippo milk, not tiger milk, not lion milk, not giraffe milk, not elephant milk, did I say that already, I think you get the point. Not even our own mother’s milk, we need to drink cow’s milk to get strong bones.