The digital age is expediting the pace of animal protection and animal advocacy around the globe. We’ve entered a new era for animal rights and social media is largely to thank for that.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been game-changers. They’ve democratized the act of spreading information and knowledge. Anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world can put out content that can be seen on the other side of the globe in an instant. The share function offered as a function of certain social media platforms is of particular importance. This allows content to be shared outside the circle of friends, family, and colleagues that most people are connected with on these platforms.
For centuries, and especially the last 7-8 decades with the global spread of factory farming, animal agriculture benefitted from the complete lack of transparency. There has been a shroud of secrecy surrounding animal agriculture, preventing most from knowing the extent to which farm animals suffer before becoming meat or producing milk and eggs. And trust me, farm animals suffer egregiously. Confinement, mutilation, and genetic manipulation are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ways in which farm animals face brutality from birth to death.
People care about animals and certainly don’t want them to unnecessarily suffer. Big Ag knows this, which is why they do their best to hide the truth from people and mislead them into believing that chickens, fish, cows, pigs, and other animals are treated well.
Social media has helped lift the veil and expose the hidden cruelties that these animals face. Many of the vegans I know became vegan because they learned about how animals are treated, usually through personal interaction, a documentary, or something they saw on social media. When people learn about the reality that farm animals face, many of them change. Some overnight, some over the course of time.
Another way in which the age of social media has changed the game for animals is that it’s helped mainstream veganism. Vegans often are a bit louder than others, so our way of life has been amplified. Many people who had never heard of veganism know of it now. People who thought veganism was fringe and freakish likely believe it to be more normal these days. And many people who were casually familiar with the concept before now openly embrace it or have even become vegan themselves. As more people talk about veganism and animal protection issues on social media and beyond, the more mainstream these become.
Finding and building community is essential for many people who don’t eat animals, especially in the days, weeks, and months after making the decision. Through hashtags, groups, events, and tags on social media, you can connect with dozens or hundreds of others who are also vegan and also passionate about making the world a better place for animals. It’s made finding vegan recipes and resources significantly easier than in the pre-social media days.
The advocacy being done on these platforms also has inspired people to become activists, which then inspires others to do the same. It’s a beautiful snowball effect of compassion. Using social media platforms has also been a major tool that animal advocacy organizations have used in their campaigns for animal welfare.
If you are reading this, you are living in the digital era. You are likely one of the people responsible for expediting the pace at which this world becomes kinder for animals. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal like the social media apps on the phone at your fingertips. And if you want to take your social media game for animals to the next level, enroll in one of my three online, self-guided social media courses that I’ve created with Advocacy Collaborative. Become the best advocate that you can be using these new tools in your toolbox. The animals are depending on it!