What I learned at my first Cube of Truth
If you had told me before I went vegan that one day I’d be standing silently and solemnly on the street as part of the Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth, I would have laughed in your face.
You’ve probably seen these guys in your town, standing in a square, wearing V for Vendetta masks, holding screens which roll footage from inside slaughterhouses or fur farms or of bullfighting or seal clubbing. They hope to end all animal exploitation so every event might focus on a different animal and what they go through for human consumption and entertainment.
Here’s what I learned when I took part.
The footage is graphic but the approach is gentle.
Yup, the footage is heartbreaking. But the ethos is to let that footage do the talking - only if a passerby takes an interest will a volunteer strike up a chat. There’s no accusatory tone, no we’re better than you, no threats. Just a conversation.
I volunteered with my sister and the chapter leader, Vallary, met us with a spring in her step and a smile on her face. She explained that we’d gently approach anyone who might be drawn in by the footage and talk in a non-confrontational manner. What a lovely premise. Confrontation doesn’t get veganism anywhere, but exposing people to the horrific reality of what’s going on in the pig/cow/goose/sheep/fish/rabbit/monkey/goat/bee/I could go on/ industries has the potential to wake people from their walking sleep.
And now that I’m a three year old vegan (still just a toddler, but I’m learning to walk and string a sentence together) that’s all I want - for us all to make more informed choices. For industries to no longer hide behind closed doors, because there’s an uprising of enough people going, er, what the shit mate? You do what to mink? Donkey basketball is a thing? Cashmere is sheared from goats how?
And then, in our great numbers, we can put a stop to all this barbarism.
You don’t have to approach people at all
As it was my first Cube, I was nervous about being one of the ‘outreach’ people who chat with passersby. I find it hard enough putting my point across when friends challenge me at a dinner party and I know I’m in a room full of people who love me and aren’t going to spit in my face. (I was certain this was going to happen - it didn’t.)
But that was fine - there was no pressure to do so. My sister was a few Cubes deep, so she partook and was brilliant. I stood in the Cube with my mask on, being all anonymous, listening curiously to the other volunteers.
Being anonymous is illuminating
Wearing a mask while holding a laptop which you know is displaying graphic footage is a strange feeling. It’s like you’re not there - which I think is why it’s so successful - the general public feel comfortable gawking at the footage. As people walked past, they stopped in their tracks to stare at us. Some took photos of us. Others shielded their eyes. Some cried. Some stayed for a long time, watching the footage and talking to our volunteers. No-one threw rocks at us, or acid, or spat in our faces - I think I watch too many horror films. I was left feeling that people just have no idea what atrocities are happening in pursuit of profit. I know I didn’t - and I don’t suppose I even know the half of it now. I follow Anonymous for the Voiceless on Instagram and it’s an education - it’s through their feed that I found out donkey basketball is a thing. A horrible thing.
It’s more effective than I expected it to be
I was in two minds about whether this kind of activism is for me. I want to do as much as I can for the cause, but I wondered if I was better suited to writing articles and using my effervescent comedic skillz to win people over. But while I will continue to write articles and be hilarious (right guys?) there’s room on the streets for the Cube. It works.
You leave with a feeling of hope
After a few hours, we packed up and had a debrief. There had been meaningful conversations with the public and we were all in good spirits. We counted a tally of how many people might have been moved to find out more and then we whooped and cheered to think that maybe a few more people might start watching documentaries and reading articles and questioning everything they’d been led to believe was normal and okay.
I’ve joined my local Cube and will continue to volunteer. As I gain confidence in my ability to talk to people about the mistreatment of animals without descending into a high decibel screech of: JUST GO VEGAN FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS, FOR THE LOVE OF THE PLANET, FOR THE LOVE OF YOURSELF, GODAMMIT MAN! I will venture out of the Cube and start chatting to passersby. And maybe, like a beautiful pyramid scheme, my veganism will inspire your veganism, and your veganism will inspire someone else’s veganism and then suddenly a gazillion animals don’t have to suffer and die anymore. And that is worth a helluva whoop and a cheer.
To find your local chapter and get involved, visit Anonymous for the Voiceless