Wayne Hsiung

Published on:

April 18, 2014

$1 billion reasons to protest... but all we need is one

by Wayne Hsiung

Chipotle shareholders lost over a billion dollars yesterday, as the corporation announced disappointing earnings. This was a bit of a shocker to the market and press, which have been using terms such as "unstoppable" to describe the company's astonishing growth. Could the market -- and the public -- finally be catching on to Chipotle's house of cards? Could the vulnerability the corporation disclosed in its 10-K filing (of activist groups tarnishing their brand by revealing the brutal truth about its corporate practices) finally be coming into fruition?

But as we prepare our protest this weekend, let's remember that we do not need $1 billion reasons to protest the company. We only need one.

Because even if the company were "merely" torturing one animal, that would be more than enough reason to join our protests. Imagine, for a moment, that the company had kidnapped one human child, or one puppy. Imagine that they stole her from her crying mother, placed her in a dank and dirty pen, mutilated her as she cried out in unfathomable pain, and finally, slit her throat, after days, weeks, or months of misertable imprisonment, on the day she was designated to die... to die for the crime of being born "different." Imagine that just one child had to live through a life of utter desolation, and sadness, and pain, in order for this violent corporation to earn its bloody profits. 

Wouldn't one be enough? 

And yet Chipotle has transformed not just one, but tens of millions of acts of brutality, into something to be supported, praised, and even ethically lauded. And in doing so, it is leading an entire industry -- an entire nation -- down a nightmarish path to a world where killing innocents is not just accepted but positively celebrated.

There are so many well-meaning people, even within this movement, who have been duped by these corporate lies. They tell us that Chipotle is "making progress." That it's "one of the good guys." Or that "they're doing something for vegans."

But none of those rationalizations can face up to the power (and trauma) of one tortured soul. And it is for her, that we will speak tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Until our movement frees itself from the tentacles of a duplicitous industry.  Until the public wakes from its centuries-long blindness to the atrocities raging all around us. Until our friend, that helpless little pig, is finally free from her torment and pain. It is for her, and not for the $1 billion in damage, that we will speak. And it is for her, that someday soon, our movement will win.