Does Veganism Hurt the Animal Movement?

when-we-are-not-vegan4by Marcia Mueller

There is a movement to repudiate veganism as a necessary part of animal activism, at least in the animal welfare groups. Wayne Hsiung of DxE even maintains that veganism actually harms the movement.

Peter Singer calls being a consistent vegan “fanatical” and promotes “happy” exploitation. Many people perceive vegans, in some cases justifiably, as sanctimonious and critical of anything less than vegan “purity.” Organizations fear that promoting veganism may offend people who will then be less likely to donate.

The mainstream welfare groups, such as the HSUS, believe in making small steps if those steps will at least make life less miserable for animals in their time on this earth. They fight for bigger cages for chickens in their warehouses and crates large enough for a “veal” calf to turn around. Many focus on dogs and cats as victims because people who have no concern for chickens or cows love their pets. They have no illusions about abolition of animal agriculture, but they do what humane work they can.

I suggest that the welfare approach is a concession to the reality that most people will not abandon their favorite foods and turn vegan or remain vegan. It is pragmatic. It reveals the lack of long-term commitment that keeps the movement stalled.

Those of us who remain vegan believe that animals are sentient and valuable beings who evolved on this planet with us. But members of our species have relentlessly and remorselessly tortured and killed them for the most base and frivolous reasons. I personally believe that veganism is a moral imperative. It is not an end in itself but a philosophy for what we believe life should be about. It is the foundation for the choices we need to make for the other Earthlings.

 

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6 thoughts on “Does Veganism Hurt the Animal Movement?

  1. The author Peter D. Kiernan contends that charities are not optimally run and you just pointed out a good example. Animal rights organizations not promoting veganism? It’s an outrage. But the PETA board isn’t all vegan, so no wonder. I read on another blog that the Rainforest Action Network doesn’t want to address overpopulation. PETA doesn’t seem to either. So, yeah, the movement is stalled despite the amount of money going through them.

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  2. Excellent points and well said.

    Rich’s “revolution” point prompted me to query Google for the number of vegans in the United States. I did so with the thought that we need to leverage our vegan lifestyle by forming physical and virtual communities; as well as economic and political blocks. The hope is to increase our influence in bringing many more vegans to the “table” if you will; and sooner rather than later, dismantling slaughterhouses and all other cruelty-based enterprises.

    Turns out (according to a “Harris Interactive Study”), there are sixteen million vegetarians, half of which are vegan. These numbers are of course modest; not world-beating in impact. Of course we need to look at numbers worldwide as well, with the thought being to cooperate and coordinate our activities on a worldwide basis.

    The article rightly states that veganism is “the foundation for the choices we need to make for the other Earthlings.” Money buys choices. Lots of money buys lots more choices. So what if we could form thriving physical (and virtual) communities, not just to serve as “models” for meat-eaters, but whose pooled and leveraged economic resources (virtually or on the ground) permit us to take our movement out of “neutral” and into a much higher gear?

    I’m thinking a little more specifically of how an Australian friend of mine described an idea I presented to her thirty years ago. She quickly grasped my concept and very aptly referred to it as a “self-funding” enterprise. Please understand that the idea I have had in mind got only so far. I approached the large banks with my idea and was basically shut down. Something about “illegal lotteries”. You know how the state monopolizes violence? It also gets to monopolize lotteries. Hopefullly one of you or your friends knows better.

    Despite my personal setbacks in this regard, I still think in principal, that we could make this or some similar economic leveraging, the basis for an engine that could propel our movement to the next level. I imagine there are many ways to economically empower veganism. Whether such empowerment comes in the way I have envisioned, or in other ways, I hope we begin putting our heads together “here, there and everywhere” to do whatever is needed to grow our numbers, make our voices really count, and make meaningful, truly impactful change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Roland,
    You and I, and Francione, and thousands (more?) of others agree on this. What depresses me is there are not enough of us to actually produce a revolution.

    Liked by 1 person

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