Nearly 380 people yesterday joined an animal rights march in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, calling for “animal liberation” and more support for veganism.
They gathered at Nishi Honganji (西本願寺) square and at 3pm marched along Zhonghua Road for about five blocks.
The number of participants this year grew significantly from the 150 people who attended the first march last year, event organizer and VegPro founder Chang Chia-pei (張家珮) said, adding that it is not comparable with the amount of people who attend similar events in the US and Europe.
This year, they designed a flag to symbolize their care for all animals on land (represented by green), in the oceans and in the air (both represented by blue), she said, adding the white V in the center of the flag stands for veganism.
Attendees were divided into five groups based on how animals are exploited: for money, performance, experimentation, and companionship, as well as in the wild, with each group shouting different slogans during the march, she said.
“Some people have said our events often lack a clear appeal and seem to be nihilistic, but what we are doing is to raise awareness about the equality of all animals, instead of protesting against a certain issue,” Chang said.
Several celebrated figures showed up in the event, including model Mia Sabathy and Color Stone chairwoman Fanny Su (蘇怡).
Su said she has been a vegan for about 30 years and began rescuing animals more than 10 years ago.
As one of the sponsors for this year’s Asia-Pacific Film Festival, she persuaded festival organizers to prepare vegan meals for the event’s dinner, Su said, adding that she hopes to convince the Oscars to adopt vegan meals in two or three years.
Malaysian Wendy Ong (王薇妮), a student as National Taiwan University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and a member of Vegan 30 Days, helped paint the event’s three-color flag on participants’ faces.
In Taiwan, animal protection awareness is more progressive than in Malaysia, as some Malaysians still eat dog meat and many cattle are sacrificed during the Hari Raya Haji festival, Ong said.
While she is often saddened by animals suffering at slaughterhouses and in school laboratories, she still hopes to become a veterinarian, because “the world would lose a vegan vet if I give up,” Ong said, adding that she plans to promote animal protection in developing countries.
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