‘Elephant in the room’ is a metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. It is based on the idea that an elephant in the room would be impossible to overlook; thus people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.
The name ‘There’s an Elephant in the Room’ reflects the fact that although our entire society is founded on the exploitation and suffering of other beings, the vast majority of humans are either unaware of their complicity or else choose to either ignore it or in some way seek to rationalise it to themselves. I chose the name as my declaration that I refuse to stay silent about the elephant.
It is no exaggeration to say that we have created a hell for other beings. We confine, torture, mutilate, rape, and enslave them. We steal, kill and eat their babies. We consume their flesh and their secretions, wear, furnish our homes and use their their body parts in a myriad ways. We abuse them so they will act in unnatural ways for our ‘entertainment’. We test drugs, chemicals and toiletries on their trembling, agonised bodies.
The beings whom we exploit are sentient, a quality that we, as humans, share. Sentience is an attribute whereby a being is self aware. They have an interest in remaining alive and in avoiding pain. They have needs and preferences, and are capable of experiencing satisfaction and indeed are capable of experiencing suffering and misery.
At first overwhelmed by the horrors any advocate sees daily, I finally realised that contrary to what some may claim, we are not ‘all on the same side’. I realised at last that in order for the vegan message to have clarity we must focus on the central issues rather then firing off in random directions, inviting others to feel sickened, outraged or infuriated but without offering them any real way to be part of the solution.
In order to effect real change in the way nonhumans are viewed, we must strike at the root of the problem, exposing the speciesism and violence that underpins every part of our society and is the culturally accepted norm. We must encourage other humans to think more critically about the way consumer demand and the choice of the individual are one and the same thing. Through ending consumer demand for the products of suffering, slavery and death, we can create the peaceful world that every human claims to wish for.
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