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Dear friends, dear fellow activists, 


Thank you for showing up for animals. Thank you for coming to our March to Stop the Animal Industry. 


This yearly gathering has become a tradition, where we join together and raise our voices. We raise our voices to amplify the voices of the unheard. The millions of animals in the factory farms, the millions of fish that are stolen from the oceans. 


People ask me, what good does a March do? What’s a march going to change? I ask them, what liberation struggle has ever done without marches? With this march we show that no matter the government subsidies for the industry, no matter the commercials, no matter the laws, no matter what the people around us say: animals are not objects with market values, animals are not here for us, animals are sentient and intelligent beings that deserve to be free from harm, they deserve love, freedom and a life worth living. 


This is a liberation struggle, a political movement, for we will not rest until cages are empty instead of bigger. Until animals have rights, not more welfare rules. This liberation struggle will not come easy. It will not come about by vegan options in the store or restaurants, veganism alone is not enough. We need to stop shaming individuals for not going vegan. Because with the massive amount of subsidies, with the government backing the factory farms, choosing vegan options alone will not stop the animal industry. We need to engage in protests, pressure campaigns, we need to target the government and companies. We need to convince individuals to stand up for animals, to become active, like we are and then ask them to go vegan. As always, we need to centre the animals, because this struggle is theirs.


This liberation struggle will not be brought about by big companies.

Nor will it be brought about by conservative and right wing politics. If far right political parties promise you animal welfare, they’re lying. As Christopher Sebastian said ‘no movement of liberation has ever been born from conservative ideology’. When fighting for animal liberation, you may not find the ideal political candidate in the elections of next year. But remember, our enemies know exactly who to vote for. They know exactly which political parties and candidates will defend the animal industry. So make sure you vote. And, again, we will not obtain animal liberation by voting for the racists, the transfobes, those who are anti-union, anti-women’s rights. They appear to be for animal welfare, but they side with the animal industry. Every damn time. Don’t be fooled. 


This liberation struggle for animals is hard. We don’t get to see many wins, and the suffering of animals is all around us. The gigantic number of animals suffering, the sheer horror of what is being done to do them, weighs incredibly hard. It weighs so hard that often times we become hopeless, we get tired of fighting because we don’t see any change, we tend to focus on other things in life that do make us happy. That’s one of the reasons our movement stays small and not a lot of people stay in this movement for a long time. Especially people that already struggle in society, for them this fight for animals is especially hard. 


If we want to become a movement that grows, that attains goals, we have to take care of eachother. We have to take care of our community. So show up for each other, show up for your fellow activists in other struggles and fights, support each other, go do fun things together, go cuddle animals at Animaux en Peril and Forrest & Friends, help out at these sanctuaries, go enjoy life. And fight for animal liberation together. Look for the kind of activism you like to do (or that gives meaning), use the skills you have, support campaigns by organisations, fight for goals that are dear to you. Whatever you do, do what is necessary for you to stay in this movement, in the long run. 


If we want to become a movement that grows, we need you, we need your skills, we need to learn from you, we need to hear what you have to say. So join the Bite Back family: become an activist, come to our meet-ups, join our protests, help us with our campaigns and if you can become a Bite Back member. We need your support. 


Having said that, I want to give a shout out to all of our volunteers here today. Thank you for working so hard. For making this march possible. I also want to thank our professional crew Sara, Anthe and Ekaterina: leading this organisation has not been easy, especially since the pandemic. You three have done so much work, with such rigour, such tenacity, such commitment. We wouldn’t be anywhere without you three. We wouldn’t be anywhere without our activists.   


Whether it’s in front of the gates of the biggest Belgian slaughterhouse in Oevel, whether it’s in front of the slaughterhouse in Olen, run by gigantic companies and rich families, whether it’s in front of Boudewijn Seapark, run by a multinational, on city squares, in harbors, in the forrest, in front of government buildings, whether it’s in the news papers, on television, or on the socials, we will always bite back for animals. We will not be intimidated, we will not back down, we will always centre the animals and those suffering from oppression. They might call it woke, we call it justice. 


Our demands are clear. No new farms and slaughterhouses. No more subsidies for the animal industry. We want subsidies for food that does not involve suffering. Land that we take from the industry, we should give back to nature and its inhabitants. We want the rights for all animals in our constitution. And we will settle for nothing less.


So let’s march today, for the 880.000 animals that get killed in Belgium, for the hundreds of thousands of fish that get killed each day, for wildlife, for the animals in the labs, in so called entertainment industry, for every animal that suffers from man’s hands. Let’s march today and keep on fighting tomorrow. Until we are all equals, until every cage is empty, until every slaughterhouse closed, every animal factory is out of business. Until we stop the Animal Industry, forever. Thank you for being here, thank you for showing up for animals. Let’s do this!