Editorial: If the cause is right, then be righteous

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There is a fine line to protesting, and it’s not always easy to navigate it. To protest something, you obviously have a lot of passion and may not always be thinking with the clearest head.

You want to protest in a way that gets notice, but you also don’t want to go too far so that you actually end up damaging your message.

Chick-fil-A restaurants staged a national come dressed as a cow day on Tuesday, July 11. At a Pinellas Park, Fla., franchise, some animal rights activists decided to do just that. They also came in covered in blood and then did their best to disrupt the business by laying on the floor, making it difficult for customers to enter or exit.

Worst, children witnessed the whole spectacle.

Not surprisingly, their actions were not received well by people in the restaurant, who chanted for them to get out. Some customers then tried to push them out.

To the protesters credit, they did remain peaceful and did not respond to the anger of those around them.

Eventually, they left without a serious incident.

But their protest was ill-conceived. Disrupting a business is not a way to win people over to your argument, but it will certainly force them to dig in as opposition.

There has been a lot of good done by animal rights protesters across this nation.

Some of the conditions chickens and pigs have been housed in were horrific. Rights groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, went undercover to film those conditions, and then publicize them.

That’s when the public demanded changes, which were made.

We certainly don’t agree with all the tactics of a group such as PETA. Throwing blood or paint on a fur coat is a crime and should be punished. No one has the right to damage someone else’s property, no matter how righteous their cause.

But the bigger crime is that their message gets lost once they adopt such tactics. You lose all credibility, and you give up any chance you had of trying to sway some people to your side.

If the cause really is that righteous, then be righteous. Don’t be a thug.

Not everyone is going to become a vegan or vegetarian. Sometimes we forget that it’s OK to be different. That just because a person eats meat, doesn’t mean they aren’t a good person, worthy of respect.

A world in which everyone did the same things would be tedious. So get off the floor, accept that some people will always eat meat, and work instead on improving conditions for animals that are our food source.

Finding that right balance would be a much better way of helping animals. Disturbing a group of people who only want to eat lunch will just hurt your cause, not help it.

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