Shoppers in Newport High Street were treated to an unusual sight last Saturday as reported in the South Wales Argus.
Members of the international not-for-profit animal campaigning group, Anonymous for the Voiceless were performing a Cube of Truth. The Cube of Truth is peaceful vegan street activism that directly engages with the public. The demonstration was simple, and it seems, quietly effective.
The Cube Team stood with each member wearing Anonymous Guy Fawkes masks, remaining silent and motionless. They held a device that played graphic and powerful footage of animal exploitation or held a simple “Truth” sign. The effect was an eye-catching work of performance art.
Members of an “outreach team” were there to engage with members of the public who showed an interest in the footage. The volunteers sought to give the animals’ perspective to what the footage showed and to bring out the onlookers’ emotions. The goal was to make them question their behaviours in that context.
Outreach team’s message
One member of the outreach team, Mary, spoke to the South Wales Argos reporter. She said:
“We’re here to educate people predominantly.
“All the footage shown is what happens it animals up and down the country every day. It’s industry-standard footage. It’s not sensationalised.
“We’re not here to judge people or guilt-trip people. We’re just here to encourage people to be a bit more conscious.
“Farmers get their boxes ticked in terms of being Red Tractor approved, RSPCA approved. The experience of the animal is still really miserable.
“I believe that animals are here with us, not for us. If I can live my life and be healthy, and even be healthier without using animals, then that’s my preference.”
The purpose of the footage being shown by the Cube was to show people the actual reality of the source of people’s food. Mary commented on the different types of responses from people. Some were upset by the footage while others had quite a strong emotional response to it.
“We don’t force anything on people. If young children approach, people in the cube are asked to be mindful that they have a guardian or a parent with them and to make sure that they’re ok with it” she said.
“But again, I would ask the question – if you’re not willing for your child to see this then are you willing for your child to eat the products of it? It can be a tough watch but this is the reality. This is the truth.”
Anonymous for the Voiceless has emerged since being established in Melbourne, Australia as a global community making a stand against animal exploitation. It holds demonstrations around the world to speak up for animals using street activism.
It believes that by speaking to people in real life, their volunteers have one of the most powerful ways to bring about behavioural change. They seek to converse with people and to point out the way in which billions of animals are “commodified, exploited and murdered at the hands of humans every single day”. In this way, the activists can give a clear outline of what is occurring and to listen to, and respond to, all of the questions and objections of the bystanders.
The Guy Fawkes Anonymous Mask
The mask has been used by Anonymous, and by thousands around the world in the past 13 years during the financial crisis of 2008/9, the Arab Spring in 2011/2 and the Occupy movements during 2011-13.
The roots of the mask go back to Guy Fawkes and his gun powder plot that was foiled in 1605. In a time when Catholics were persecuted and even killed in the streets of England, Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Lords and kill the King James I and the ruling elite at the state opening of parliament on 5th November 1605.
Dolls with the masks of the malicious Fawkes were burned on Bonfire Night every subsequent 5th November, in a tradition that lasts to this day. But the Fawkes makes has paradoxically lived on as a symbol of the survival of the cruel and corrupt.
It is seen by the organisation as a unifying symbol of oppression in society today. The organisation, therefore, uses the mask in the Cube of Truth campaign as a way of integrating into the narrative of the social justice movement in modern history. The mask is a symbol of unity with the animals who are suffering at the hands of the global food industry.
The organisation has organised over 1,000 chapters around the world and held almost 12,000 Cube of Truth events.