Haters, trolls and vegans

  • , by Jacob Wolki
  • 4 min reading time
Haters, trolls and vegans

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been at the receiving end of lots of online commentary. The reality is, today the speech directed at me would be labelled as “abuse, hate speech” etc, but I don’t really classify it as that. It gives it too much power. I quite like showcasing this rhetoric publicly as I believe the conversation around it can be healthy. I generally end up with a load of unsolicited advice, which is par for the course, but I genuinely don’t need it.

These low IQ smear campaigns don’t get under my skin. Ironically, I wasn’t that far away from the positions that lots of these anti meat activists hold. In 2018 and 2019 while I was diving deep into food systems I was becoming disenfranchised about lots of our commodity production systems. CAFO’s, factories farms, shed systems, enormous abattoirs, high chemical dependance, monoculture mindsets. Exposee documentaries, compelling compassion arguments and rightful criticisms of some of the worst that agriculture has to offer all made some sense. 

Growing up I’ve always enjoyed animals, so I was easy to appeal to. We always had pet dogs, which I loved. Around 8-10 years old I bred rabbits and used to sell them to K9 CatFish on Dean st. I’d ring up and haggle a price for my different colours and then dad would take me in to do the trade. I loved the rabbits and thought it was so cool to get paid for making new pets for others. So when I saw the horrors of over crowded feed lots and jam packed shed farms it was really hard to accept being a part of that system.

But I’m a truth seeker. I didn’t accept the narrative that animals are bad for the environment. I didn’t accept that meat is bad for humans. I didn’t accept that slaughtering an animal for human consumption was a moral equivalent to murder or genocide, as it’s often phrased. Why didn’t I accept these narratives? How can animals be bad for the environment? Animals ARE the environment. It’s animal management that changes the natural outcomes. How can a species appropriate diet be bad for a species?

Simple thought exercises can coach you through these ideas. They really aren’t that complicated - but they are nuanced. The vegans co-opt loaded and passionate language to try to bring emotion into the conversation, and bring out the worst in meat eaters. They do this with great success. The reality is, that I agree with the average vegan on most things, more than I would with the typical uninformed meat eater. Are lots of production models unnecessarily cruel and filthy? Yep. Should animals be treated with dignity and respect? Yes. Are CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) farms responsible for some negative environmental outputs? Yes. Is current regulatory burden favouring production systems to “get bigger or get out”? Yes. Agreed, agreed, agreed. 

But holding the same values and ideals that got us to those conclusions tells us that the answer can’t be to cover our landscapes with mono crop soy, corn, wheat and oat plantations which destroys resources, soil, habitat, landscapes and animals.  

At Wolki Farm we believe that animals, when farmed in context to their natural expression, are good for the environment. They ARE the environment. We know animals can be treated with dignity and respect up until their 1 bad day. Slaughtering an animal can and often is executed far better than any ‘natural’ death would be. (Eaten by predator, taken out by disease, starvation) I often think about animals created in our systems being destined for death along the lines of “Is it better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all?” “Is it better to have lived and died, than never lived at all?”

And no, you can’t honestly take that statement out of context and twistedly apply it is as some genocidal statement to humans. Animals and humans are different - it’s obvious to my 3 year old and anyone else that’s not participating in mental gymnastics. 

A FB reader advised me to not fight back against the online online “hate speech”. Told me to “rise above it”. I understand the sentiment, but I think it’s loser talk. It cedes the ground. Someone comes onto my businesses social media page, calls me names, criticises my operation and attacks my family and livelihood, and I have to take the punches? No thanks. I’ll defend what’s mine.

I know I won’t convince the activists that I’m engaging with, but with 7million impressions in January on FB alone, there are a lot of people silently reading and watching. Our engagements offer lots of food for thought for people on the fence. 

So don't feel sorry for me when you see the abuse. They are actually sharing lots of thoughts and sentiments I hold, albeit communicating them in a rather nasty and worthless way. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.


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